Posted: 6 December, 2013
Hawthorn's Grant Birchall has signed a contract extension
(Photo: AFL Media)
Hawthorn's Grant Birchall has signed a contract extension, guaranteeing his future at the Hawks until at least the end of 2017.
Birchall signed a new contract last year and although it wasn’t due to expire until the end of 2015, the Club and the defender were keen to secure a another extension.
The 25 year old says he’s excited to commit to Hawthorn.
“It gets me through until the end of 2017, so I’m absolutely rapt to stay with the Hawks because I think the news few years are going to be really exciting for us again,” he told hawthornfc.com.au
“I’m just rapt to be part of this group. Hawthorn gave me an opportunity a long time ago and have been a fantastic club so I want to repay them the best way I can.”
The running defender described the decision as a “no brainer”, given the exciting state of the list that boasts a number of talented experienced and younger players.
He says he wants to play out his career at the Hawks.
“I never planned on leaving and never intend to really,” he said.
“We’ve got a really good group here and we’re a pretty close-knit sort of team but the winning culture definitely helps.
“We’ve also got guys between the ages of 21 and 25 who are really going to drive the Club forward in the next few years so it’s very exciting and hopefully we can take another big leap next year.”
The dual premiership player was a member of the 2008 flag-winning side and an integral player in the 2013 victory.
He doesn’t see this year’s victory as the pinnacle though, rather an opportunity to build more success as the Club already turns its attention to striving for its twelfth premiership.
“There’s that little bit of extra motivation to win that premiership and having that feeling again this year, after last year is the main reason why I’m staying,” he said.
“I never want that feeling to go away. To get a third premiership is on the cards and we’re working really hard at the moment to try and achieve it.”
Drafted from Devonport in Tasmania, Birchall has played 169 career games for the Hawks and developed into one of the Club’s most reliable players.
His ability to rebound off half back and be an attacking weapon is one of his biggest strengths, as is his uncompromising attitude towards his defence.
He played 17 games in 2013 and despite missing eight weeks through injury, finished seventh in the Club’s best and fairest, the Peter Crimmins Medal.
His relationship with defensive teammates like Josh Gibson, Ben Stratton and Brian Lake is among the best in the league, something he says is the key to success.
“We have to back each other in but we’re a very tight group and know the way each other plays because we’ve all been together for quite some time,” he said.
“We’ve got a good, solid back six or seven there and I think that’s the key to success, having a really strong, stable back six.”
But he says too the leadership at the Club is what makes him glad to stay a Hawk.
“We’ve got a really great core of leadership and then there’s the guys between the ages of 21 and 25 who are also really striving to be in that leadership group,” he said.
“The more leaders we can get at the Club the better, it’s only going to make us better on the field and off it.”