Few players fought harder for their club than Brad Sewell. He came from the rookie list and eventually became an important cog in the Hawks midfield for a decade.
But the script didn’t quite finish as ideally as the 31-year-old would’ve hoped, after missing out on the ultimate glory one last time before his career came to a close at the end of 2014.
Having played his 200th AFL game just a couple of weeks earlier, he was omitted for the side’s Preliminary Final match and couldn’t regain his spot on Grand Final day.
Speaking to Channel 7’s #Discovered team, Sewell said watching his Hawthorn teammates celebrate the ultimate success – many of them for the second-consecutive season – filled him with mixed emotions.
“Being on the ground after the game, you’re so clearly not a part of it… but you are,” Sewell said.
“You’re obviously ecstatic because you’ve been part of the year and played a reasonably significant role, but then again you’re dreading that time and that thought in the back of your mind of when you’re going to be alone at some stage and it’s going to sink in a little bit more.”
When the dust settled, Sewell faced another difficult decision. Given he was no longer in Hawthorn’s future plans, what was next?
“There was one conversation of reasonable substance and that was with Collingwood…” – Brad Sewell
“Changing clubs now is so much more prevalent but I don’t know if I was comfortable at that stage of my career,” Sewell said, revealing that he considered swapping his brown and gold stripes for black and white.
“There was one conversation of reasonable substance and that was with Collingwood. But coming from Hawthorn and the success we’ve had, and then not quite knowing the success that Collingwood are going to have over the next couple of years, it just didn’t sit well with me to be in that position.
“There’s a romantic nature, I guess, in being at the one club for your entire career.”
Though Sewell missed out on the 2014 premiership, he has much to be proud of from his career at the Hawks.
Initially overlooked in the 2002 AFL draft, he secured a spot on the Hawks’ rookie list for the 2003 season and made steady progress the following two seasons, playing six and 12 games respectively in 2004 and 2005. Sewell took his game to another level in 2007, winning the Peter Crimmins medal as Hawthorn’s best and fairest, and became one of the best ball-winners in the competition. He played in premierships in 2008 and 2013, providing a significant amount of grunt in a star-studded Hawthorn midfield.
After careful consideration, Sewell announced his retirement at the club’s best and fairest function last October. With his AFL career behind him, Sewell took the opportunity to travel the world before undertaking a media role with the AFL and VFL competitions.
While he’s enjoying the new chapter of his life, there’s a part of the game he’ll miss forever.
“I get told, and get the impression, the hardest part is still to come. Experiencing what you used to do with those guys day-in, day-out and all of sudden you’re so quickly not a part of it. I guess you have to move on pretty quickly.
“I’m sort of lucky to still be involved in the industry at a certain level. But again, that doesn’t come close to playing.”