Hawthorn veteran Shaun Burgoyne will enter his 20th and final AFL season in 2021 after agreeing to a deal that will see him transition into an advisory role at the club following his retirement.
The deal will see Burgoyne don the brown and gold for the 12th consecutive year, while also taking on a part-time Indigenous advisory role in 2021.
As part of his role, the Hawks’ number nine will assist the club in the development and implementation of its Indigenous programs which focus on employment, education and health outcomes as the key pillars to engaging and empowering Indigenous communities.
Burgoyne will balance his roles as both a player and an advisor in 2021, with a view of transitioning completely into an off-field role with the Hawks after retirement.
GM Football Graham Wright said the deal was a fantastic result for all parties and enables Burgoyne to continue preparing himself for life after football.
“At 37 years of age Shaun continues to set a great example for his teammates through his work ethic and professionalism,” said Wright.
“To still be able to compete at the elite level at his age is a true testament to his determination and competitiveness.
“While Shaun will pull on the boots again next year, both he and the club are aware that his AFL career is certainly in its twilight.
“With that in mind, we have worked together on an agreement that allows Shaun to continue playing the game he loves and contribute to the side, while also preparing him for a smooth transition into life after football.”
Hawthorn CEO Justin Reeves said the club is incredibly excited by the opportunity the agreement creates to expand Burgoyne’s legacy in the brown and gold.
“Shaun is a highly regarded and knowledgeable leader within the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and we are incredibly excited and humbled to be able to utilise his experience to help further develop the work we do within our Indigenous programs,” said Reeves.
“The role Shaun has played in shaping our club on-field has been remarkable. The exciting part about this new deal is the opportunity it creates for Shaun to have an equally meaningful impact on our club’s contribution off the field.”
Burgoyne currently sits on 387 games, just 13 games shy of reaching a remarkable 400 game milestone. In 2019, he surpassed Adam Goodes’ record for the most games played by an Indigenous player, etching his name in the history books.
Hawthorn Football Club launched its Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan in 2019, a development that was championed by Burgoyne. Through his new role, Burgoyne will ensure Hawthorn continues to advance reconciliation in Australia and authentically embed Indigenous culture in every aspect of the club.