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Hodge joins Hawk-led revival at Lions

Get excited: Hodge heads to the Lions Hawthorn champion Luke Hodge becomes a Brisbane Lion
AFL 2017 Round 23 - Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs
Luke Hodge has farewelled the Hawks for a stint at the Lions

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HAWTHORN great Luke Hodge is officially a Brisbane Lion and set to play for two more seasons, with his decision to turn his back on retirement complete.

The 33-year-old leaves Waverley Park as a four-time premiership player – three of them as captain – dual Norm Smith medallist, triple All Australian and dual club best and fairest.

The Lions sent a round-three pick (No.43 at the time of trade) and a round-five selection (75) to the Hawks for Hodge and their round-three choice (44).

Robbie D'Orazio, of Connors Sports, told reporters the Hodge deal was a win-win situation. Hodge is likely to move into coaching at the club once his playing days end.

"It's a great story for footy that Hodgey gets to play for another two years," D'Orazio said.

Hodge, the No.1 pick in the 2001 'super draft', announced his retirement in July ahead of his 300th match and finished the season on 305 games.

But speculation about his future had already gone into overdrive by then and Hawthorn, on Hodge's behalf, confirmed on October 5 he had requested a move to the Lions.

Hodge spoke at the Hawks' Peter Crimmins Medal count, saying Alastair Clarkson gave him his blessing despite the master coach admitting it was "ripping my guts out".

"Ever since Clarko and (elite performance manager) Andrew Russell walked in the door, it was all about not thinking of yourself, but thinking about Hawthorn Football Club," Hodge said. 

"And whenever you leave the football club, it's got to be in a better position.

"The fact I couldn't play on at Hawthorn is because if I play, and blokes like (Grant) Birchall, (Ben) Stratton and (James) Frawley are back in … all these young kids I've just spoken about, they'll be going back to Box Hill and playing and I reckon that's going to limit their development.

"So that's the reason why I couldn't sign at Hawthorn and ultimately that's the reason why I (initially) retired." 

Hodge averaged 23.2 disposals, 6.3 marks and 3.1 rebound 50s in 19 matches this year as a defender.

 

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