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Far from over the Hill: Ex-Eagle eyes third club

Nick Bowen  October 30, 2017 7:00 PM

AFL 2017 Round 14 - West Coast v Melbourne

Josh Hill is hoping to join a third AFL club

I feel like I've still got a few more good years left but things happen that are not really what you expect. But you take it on the chin and hope that there's an opportunity somewhere else. As I said, I believe I still have a lot to offer and an opportunity is all I need, really.

JOSH Hill believes he has several seasons of good AFL football left in him and is hoping a club in the market for a ready-made small forward will throw him a lifeline. 

Hill, 28, was delisted by West Coast last week after kicking 151 goals in 107 games over the past six seasons, having kicked 75 goals in 66 games with the Western Bulldogs from 2007-11. 

In his first five years at West Coast, Hill played at least 20 games each season bar 2014, when he fell out of favour and spent much of the year in the WAFL.  

Hill quickly bounced back from that disappointing season, kicking a career-high 40 goals in 2015. As the Eagles made a run into the Grand Final, Hill won the Ross Glendinning Medal in round 20 for his match-winning four-goal haul against Fremantle, and kicked an equal team-high three goals against Hawthorn in West Coast's qualifying final win.

The 2008 NAB AFL Rising Star nominee missed just one match through illness in 2016 and played 10 of the Eagles' first 11 games this year before West Coast opted to blood young small forwards Malcolm Karpany and Luke Partington. 

Hill told AFL.com.au he had not expected to fall from grace at the Eagles so quickly, but said he now just wanted an opportunity to prove he could still cut it at AFL level.

"Players like Partington and Karpany were playing very good footy in the WAFL and they got their opportunities, which they earned, but it made it hard for me and the other forwards to crack into the side," Hill said. 

"That second half of the season was really tough for me, but I don't feel like footy's done for me. 

"I feel like I've still got a few more good years left but things happen that are not really what you expect.

"But you take it on the chin and hope that there's an opportunity somewhere else. As I said, I believe I still have a lot to offer and an opportunity is all I need, really."

The West Australian is prepared to move anywhere to extend his AFL career and will happily accept a spot on a club's rookie list, confident he'll quickly prove his worth.

But if he doesn't get an opportunity at a third AFL club, Hill will look back on his 173-game career with pride.

"I think I've achieved a lot of things that most people wouldn't have been able to do in their footy careers and I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity to play for 11 years and am very humbled to have had those opportunities at the Eagles and the Bulldogs," Hill said. 

"I've loved being part of both sides and feel privileged to have met the players I have throughout my journey.

"If footy is done for me, then I won't look back with any regrets. I'm very happy with what I've been able to achieve and thankful to everyone who's been part of it." 

Hill wants to remain in football once his AFL career is over and continue the mentoring work he has done with the Wirrpanda Foundation, Western Australia's under-16 and 17 representative teams and West Coast's young indigenous players. 

"I would love to get involved mentoring the younger generation coming through because a lot of kids these days when they move to other states find it hard to adjust to leaving home," Hill said.

"You want more players to feel confident to move to any state and, as a player who's been through that, I think I could help kids adjust to those big moves."