HAWTHORN veteran Brad Sewell has announced his retirement from the game at tonight’s best and fairest, the Peter Crimmins Medal.
Receiving a standing ovation from guests at Crown Palladium, Sewell paid tribute to his coaches, in particular Alastair Clarkson and the teammates in which he shared his remarkable journey to becoming one of the most respected players both on and off the field.
A fan favourite, Sewell achieved much in his 10-year career, winning two premierships with the Hawks and winning a Club best and fairest in 2007.
But those achievements didn't come easily for the now-30 year old.
Sewell had to fight for his spot at the Hawks after being originally drafted by the club as a speculative rookie selection in 2003.
Picked up with pick seven overall in the rookie draft from the North Ballarat Rebels, Sewell earned his senior debut just a few months later against Port Adelaide in Round 3 of the 2004 season.
He impressed in that game with 17 disposals (seven contested) and showed glimpses of the gun in and under midfielder he would become with four tackles and three clearances.
He played six matches in his debut season before playing 12 the following year, in 2005.
His breakout year came in 2006 when he finished third in the Club's best and fairest, finishing behind Sam Mitchell and Luke Hodge.
Sewell became one of the game's elite taggers, performing shut down roles on some of the game's best midfielders but what made him such a unique player was that he could win the footy in his own right.
He was a key player in the 2008 Grand Final triumph, winning 27 disposals, five tackles and four clearances.
The midfielder has been a remarkably durable player for the Hawks, playing 19 or more games in each season from 2006-2013. This season has been the first he has experienced some injury concerns, missing 13 games with hamstring issues but still managed to return to play 10 matches.
He became a dual premiership player last year, playing a key role for the Hawks in the finals series despite some questioning his worth to the team.
Sewell answered his critics with a brilliant finals series as a hard and tough midfielder.
He played his 200th career game in the Qualifying Final win over Geelong and was chaired off the ground by two of his best mates – Hodge and Grant Birchall.
Although he didn’t feature in the Preliminary or Grand Finals this year, Sewell remained a vital player in Hawthorn’s back-to-back premierships, providing a constant source of advice to his teammates.
He won praise from Clarkson, his teammates – in particular skipper Hodge – and GM – Football Operations Chris Fagan for the way in which he conducted himself and remained a team player to the end despite battling through a time of personal disappointment.
His reputation as the ultimate team player was only enhanced by the way in which he celebrated the team’s back-to-back premierships and in the way he helped his teammates in the lead-up and on game day.
He leaves the Hawks as one of the best and most respected midfielders of the modern era, a champion and hero to those who had the privilege of watching and knowing him.
Thanks for the memories, Sewelly.