hawthornfc.com.au sat down with recruit Brian Lake as he opens up about his time at the Bulldogs and his decision to play for Hawthorn in 2013 and beyond. This is part two of the two-part interview.
KS: There are some really exciting players here, who have you watched from afar and thought “I’m really looking forward to playing with him”?
BL: Probably the guys in the backline more. You look at Gibbo (Josh Gibson), he always wants to help guys in the air and lend support and he’s got the courage to get off his man and up in the air. He’s going to be one who is no doubt going to be helping me a fair bit.
But then there’s just the ball disposal of Suckling – there was a kick in the first quarter of the Grand Final to Buddy that was just unbelievable.
Being able to train with these guys, even Roughie and Buddy and David Hale as well, doing a lot of one-on-one work with them on the track will no doubt help me improve my game but hopefully help improve theirs with my knowledge of using the body during the game as well.
KS: How much will playing on Franklin and Roughead at training help you and them in matches?
BL: You want to be training against the best, and coming into a side now that has two of the best guys in Buddy and Roughie is beneficial. Buddy loves to run around and get up the ground and use his endurance, I guess an area I can help him with is his contested marking. He’s got coaches here that do that but hopefully I too can help improve his game in that area.
KS: What were your first impressions of Clarko and the rest of the coaching group?
BL: Clarko is very excited and passionate about the game. He’s already doing different things to allow the Club to move forward. The excitement and passion you can see on his face rubs off on the other coaches, it’s very exciting.
KS: What excites you the most about Hawthorn?
BL: A new start. Meeting everyone is very exciting when you get into a new place, it’s like when you first go to high school and meet new people.
Playing finals football, that’s the big thing. Hawthorn plays in big games every week, playing at the MCG as your home ground and hopefully playing big finals games, that’s what excites me.
KS: Playing week-to-week in front of big crowds, playing against the likes of Collingwood and Geelong twice a year, how much does that excite you as a footballer because that’s all part of playing at the top level?
BL: I had that once or twice a year at the Bulldogs and that’s the closest you’re going to get to a finals feeling, the pressure of every contest and the crowd yelling. That definitely excites me, playing on the MCG in big games and in front of big crowds.
KS: And Hawthorn supporters are a passionate bunch as well.
BL: Yes, I’ve met a few already and on Twitter and Facebook as well, it has been very positive I must admit. Everyone on the Hawthorn side is really welcoming with open hands.
KS: That helps doesn’t it, that support?
BL: Definitely. You don’t want to be traded to a club and copping it left, right and centre.
KS: The premiership is what everyone wants. How much does it drive you at training, out on the track and in the weights room and then on game day?
BL: It’s just the excitement of being close to it. I played a lot of junior footy where you’re in a successful side, in U/17’s and U/19’s winning premierships, just the excitement around it, the celebrations when you know you’ve worked your butt off for the whole season and you finally get that ultimate success with all your teammates and enjoying that. All the hard work pays off. That’s where I see us now, the window isn’t one or two years, the window is open for three or four years. Guys like Buddy and Cyril, they’re very young still.
I’m probably nearly the oldest guy at the Club now but I’ve still got plenty of time left. With the midfielders in Sewelly and Mitchell, they’re almost 30 years old but they’ve still got great football left in them.
KS: You touched on the longevity in the game, how long do you think you still have left?
BL: It’s hard to say, I’d love to play forever but all I’ve got to focus on is next year. I’ve got to work my butt off to get back to what I was at the start of last year form wise and body wise. It’s just a year by year equation for me, but I’m very confident and the doctors are very confident that the body is fine.