In a flurry of moves for the Hawks on Tuesday, Jack Scrimshaw joined the club from Gold Coast after seeking a move back home earlier in the trade period. The 20-year-old former No. 7 selection in the 2016 National Draft opened up to AFLPlayers.com.au about the reasons for leaving, and what he hopes to achieve at Hawthorn.
Where were you yesterday when the trade went through?
I was just at home, and I got a call from Graham Wright, the Hawthorn list manager and he let me know that it was all official and had gone through.
It must have been a relief…
Yeah, it was a relief. It was a long week for me, to be honest. I was just happy that it got done and it allows me to get back to my family and friends.
How would you describe your two years at the Gold Coast?
It was a good experience for myself to move away from home and adapt to a new lifestyle, that’s the main thing I took out of it. I am really appreciative to the club for what they have done for me in the last two years and now I’m looking forward to getting started at the Hawks.
Due to the close relationship you had with the boys who were drafted alongside you in 2016, was it difficult to inform them of your decision to leave?
It was hard because we became really close over the last few years and even before that we were mates. It is hard to say goodbye, and although they already know of my intentions, I’m flying back to the Gold Coast today to pack up my stuff and will officially say goodbye to them all then. I guess that’s the business of football, though, and we have had a few mates that have left the footy club already, so we’re pretty used to it two years in.
What was your living situation like up there?
I started off living with Jack Bowes and his grandparents who already lived up there, and then I moved out at the start of this year with Ben Ainsworth and Will Brodie.
You clearly haven’t played as much as you would have liked… how difficult has it been not being able to show your wares consistently?
It has been frustrating, especially seeing all the boys I got drafted with playing a fair bit of footy. You sit back and feel that you’re missing out. I knew that I would take a bit of time and that being around friends and family would be a lot better for me.
When you say you knew you would take a bit of time, what would you put that down to?
Each pre-season I always had an injury that set me back a little bit, so I have needed to get over those. There’s also been a few things going on off-field that have got to me a little bit, but it is all behind me now and I am looking forward to my first pre-season with Hawthorn.
Talk me through your meetings with the Hawks… what was it like sitting down with Clarko?
They were really good. We had a chat about what he sees me doing for the footy club and he asked me what I could offer to the club. He is very good to listen to and overall I was delighted with how it went.
What does he want you to bring to the footy club?
He wants me to bring my confidence and my talent, and to make sure I work hard because he reckons he can turn me into a good player. I think that I can improve at Hawthorn and he wants to make sure I get the best out of myself.
At the moment, what do you see as your biggest strengths, and what are the weaknesses you need to work on?
My strengths are my kicking and my marking and reading the play, my weaknesses are strength and my concentration. If everything goes well, I feel that I will be able to get all of those things right.
You have put it on the record that you were a Hawks fan growing up… were they always the club you were keen to get to, or would you have gone anywhere to get the opportunity to go home?
I knew that not having many runs on the board would make it tough for me to pick and choose, so I just wanted to get anywhere. I was fortunate enough that the Hawks were interested and here I am.
Talk to me about your draft year… what stood out about your game that led to you being selected inside the top 10?
I think I just showed my strengths for the majority of the year. I had some injuries throughout my bottom-age year and a little bit in my top-age year, but eventually I was able to put together a good patch of footy when it counted and was able to show off my talent and was fortunate enough to get drafted quite high.
You spoke about concentration being an issue… what do you put that down to? Is it related to the amount of things you are required to learn with systems and structures, or down to age…?
It is probably all of the above. Some of it is maturity and I felt I learnt a fair bit at the Gold Coast, but I need to make sure I put it together for four quarters. That is something that I am keen to focus on.
With the coaches at the Suns, who did you lean on to help you with your concentration and consistency?
I was close with Nick Malceski who was the back-line coach. We would catch up a fair bit and he helped me a lot with those elements, and on game day especially. There were plenty of others who gave me support, too.
Do you have arrangements off the field now you’re back in Melbourne with study and the like?
As soon as I get settled in, I’ll look to do something. I wasn’t studying at the Gold Coast because I didn’t adapt well, so I knew I was always coming back to Melbourne and would find something eventually, but as for what that is, I’m not sure yet.
When you talk about adapting, was that just due to being in a foreign state and being so young?
It is hard for some kids I guess, when you’re 18 and have to move interstate. At the start, I felt it was pretty good but then as soon as the season rolled around I started to miss home more and more and I began to need the support of my family. That is all it really was.
Is that why you signed the extension at the beginning of 2017?
Yeah, I signed because I was pretty happy at that stage and the club showed a lot of faith in me. But it would have been hard on myself if I stayed long-term because I didn’t think that I would be able to turn into the footballer that I wanted to.
Hopefully that happens at the Hawks. Good luck with it all.
Thanks Simon, I really appreciate it.