Brian Lake joined Hawthorn during the October trade period
NEW HAWK Brian Lake has revealed his decision to leave the Bulldogs was driven by a desire to prove his critics wrong.
Lake, 30, was traded to Hawthorn in October, following a vastly contrasting past two seasons.
After enduring a wretched 2011 season dogged by hip, knee and shoulder problems that many thought would end his Bulldogs career, Lake bounced back, playing 20 games in 2012 and finishing 10th in the best and fairest.
"For me, it (leaving the Bulldogs) is to prove a lot of people wrong, they had written me off saying my body was shot and my knee was horrendous," Lake told hawthornfc.com.au
"After that terrible year [in 2011], I guess your value to other sides decreases but also to get back to the football I played previous to the injury was a major factor [in leaving] as well."
Lake also saw the writing on the wall, understanding he was unlikely to be in the Bulldogs' long-term plans.
"[Brendan McCartney] was keen for me to stay [after 2011] and he saw a future for me at the club," Lake said.
"Things have changed now with the way that club is heading, with the youth and the restructure of the backline.
"I saw Hawthorn as a perfect fit, at my age now, I don't know how much time I would have had at the Bulldogs to move on and hunt down that elusive flag that everyone dreams of having."
Lake said he watched the 2012 Grand Final between Hawthorn and the Swans with a vested interest, realising it was possible he would be in the brown and gold the following season.
" [Manager] Marty Pask worked really closely with [Hawthorn list manager] Graham Wright and spoke to him about the option of moving and coming to Hawthorn," Lake said.
"It was a little bit weird [watching the Grand Final], I did focus a little bit more on Hawthorn than on Sydney and the game.
"I saw a lot of things I liked – the dangerous forward line that we have with Buddy, Roughie and Cyril down there. But also the midfield who are able to go both ways, attacking and defence. Even the backline is a very even set up down there where guys like to come third-man in and support."
Firmly entrenched at the Hawks now, Lake is anticipating resuming in his familiar backline role after being earmarked to play forward had he remained at the Dogs next year.
"I probably put a little bit of pressure on myself at the Bulldogs, when you've got a lot of young guys around you, you probably take more responsibility on yourself," Lake said.
"For me now, it's just going back to the basics of football, I don't have to try and hit the hard kick all the time because I’ve got Matt Suckling and Grant Birchall right next to me to use the ball. I don’t need to be doing anything fancy."
Lake was reluctant to touch on precisely how long he had left in the game, preferring to focus solely on next year, but said he was confident the Hawks' premiership window would remain open for several more years.
"I played a lot of junior footy where you’re in a successful side, in under-17s and under-19s 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," he said.
"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 [Franklin] and Cyril [Rioli], 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."