In the lead-up to Hawthorn defender Grant Birchall’s 200th game on Saturday, teammate Sam Mitchell may have revealed the secret to what makes the no-nonsense half-back tick.

Birchall is always talking, at least on the field.

The 27-year-old Birchall comes across as fairly quiet and reserved, but Mitchell reveals in this week's AFL Record that his teammate might suffer from a minor case of white-line fever.

"Although you might meet him and think he's very quiet, there would be a lot of opposition players that might say otherwise. On the field, when he's playing his best footy, he's quite demanding and sets high standards for himself and his teammates," Mitchell says.

Birchall admits to liking a yap on the field. "It gets me going," says the three-time premiership player and 2012 All Australian.

His most famous outburst, or at least the most celebrated by Hawthorn fans, was when he gave it to former teammate-turned-Sydney Swan Lance Franklin during last year's Grand Final.

"I can't remember what exactly I said," he tells the Record. "He shanked a ball on the full and 'Gibbo' (defender Josh Gibson) said something to him so I thought I'd come up and give him a serve as well. It was something along the lines of 'Yeah, good kick you big douche'."

The aftermath was played out two weeks later when they both attended the wedding of Jordan Lewis. "It was all good. We had a couple of beers and it was fine."

Birchall has been a permanent feature of the Hawthorn backline from the time he was selected with the 14th pick in the 2005 NAB AFL Draft.

He made his debut in the opening round of 2006, against Fremantle at Aurora Stadium in Launceston, an occasion made even more special given he hails from Devonport, a one-hour drive from the Tasmanian ground where the Hawks play four games a year.

The sleek left-footer is the latest in a long line of talented footballers from Tasmania who have forged fine careers with the Hawks. As part of the feature, several Tasmanian football experts are asked to rate where Birchall rates among a group that also includes Peter and Paul Hudson, Darrin Pritchard, Rodney Eade, Colin Robertson and Ian Paton, who all played in at least one flag for the Hawks.