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O'Brien just happy to fly

Mark Macgugan  November 26, 2012 3:30 PM

Press Conference: Draftees New Hawks Tim O'Brien and Kaiden Brand.
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Tim O'Brien will be given time to develop at Hawthorn.

TIM O'Brien is the human face of Adelaide's decision to hand back its first two picks in last Thursday's NAB AFL Draft.

The South Australian key position prospect had been closely tracked by the Crows, and experts predicted they'd grab him at pick 20.

When Adelaide made the late call to forgo that selection as an "act of goodwill" in the lead-up to its AFL Commission hearing on the Kurt Tippett affair, it even sent O'Brien a message to let him know.

And then Hawthorn gleefully grabbed the 193cm goalkicker at No.28.

Despite having to pack up and leave his home state, the new Hawk was happy with how things turned out.

"I had a lot of contact with Adelaide, but I was the same as everyone else - I didn't really know what was happening with them," O'Brien said after his first training session in brown and gold on Monday morning.

"It wasn't a big thing when they lost their pick; I was happy to go to Hawthorn.

"I was talking through the year that Hawthorn was the club I'd probably want to go to the most.

"There's a great feeling around here.

"It's one of the older established clubs, and there are a lot of great players to learn from, and great leadership."

O'Brien and fellow draftee Kaiden Brand - also a South Australian key position type - met Hawks teammates and coaches at a BBQ at coach Alastair Clarkson's house on Sunday, before fronting at training on Monday.

It had been a whirlwind few days for the pair, and especially Brand, who was described by Hawthorn list manager Graham Wright as a draft "darkhorse".

The West Adelaide player didn't throw himself a big party to watch the draft; in fact, he didn't even hear his name called out.

"I was working [as an apprentice electrician] for most of the day, and then I had training at 'Westies', so I got a phone call on the way home," Brand said.

"I didn't get to watch it."

Both youngsters will be given time to develop, and are set to spend next season at Box Hill.

In time, Hawthorn is hopeful both will make good senior players at either end of the ground.

"I'm happy to play wherever," O'Brien said.

"I've played a lot forward and not a lot back, but I enjoy going back as well."

Brand agreed.

"I like playing at each end," he said.

"They both have their upside, so I'm happy to play wherever I'm put."

Follow Mark Macgugan on Twitter: @AFL_MarkM.