Triple premiership forward Paul Puopolo will call time on his AFL career after pulling on the boots for his 196th and final game in the brown and gold on Sunday against the Gold Coast Suns.
Taken as a mature-age recruit with Pick 66 in the 2010 national draft, Puopolo made his debut in Round 7 of the 2011 season.
Securing nine kicks, six handballs and two tackles in his AFL opener, Puopolo’s solid performance saw him play the 19 remaining games in 2011 and additionally make selection for finals that season.
Later that year Puopolo was awarded the club’s Best First Year player for his stellar debut season.
Quickly cementing his place is in the side with his trademark pressure and intensity, Puopolo continually proved an integral part of the Hawks forward structure. Remarkably reliable, Puopolo went on to play 20 games in all but two seasons of his career.
At 32-years of age, Puopolo has given the club a decade of service, played in three premierships and leaves a legacy of hard work, high intensity effort and a willingness to sacrifice individual accolades for team success.
Hawthorn Senior Coach Alastair Clarkson expressed the club’s gratitude for the competitive intensity Puopolo brought to the team.
“Poppy is an incredibly resilient player and person," Clarkson said.
"He came to us as a defender and leaves the game a master of the pressure forward role.
“For most of his career, Poppy was always the first name selected in the side each week because you could never doubt the intensity, energy and pressure he would bring to the game.
“Poppy is an amazing example of how far hard work and perseverance can take you in your career.
“Poppy, his wife Carmel and daughter Giselle will always be a part of the Hawthorn family.”
Hawthorn fans will have an opportunity to celebrate Puopolo further this Sunday, and thank him for his incredible service to the brown and gold.