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Grievous loss spurs family-first decision

Impey's rocky road to becoming a Hawk Jarman Impey opens up about his move to Hawthorn
Jarman Impey at pre-season training with Hawthorn - AFL,Jarman Impey,Port Adelaide Power,Hawthorn Hawks,Alastair Clarkson,Brent Renouf,Luke Shuey
Jarman Impey at pre-season training with Hawthorn
I had a big year, obviously the first year of dad passing and … football wasn't probably my No.1 priority – family was
Jarman Impey

THE DRIVE back from Shepparton, on the Goulburn Valley Highway, will always be bittersweet for Jarman Impey.

It was in that football-mad city where Impey's journey to the AFL began, his talent shining brightly from a young age in various representative sides and for local club the Bears.

The 22-year-old cherishes returning to his roots and will make the trip more often since requesting a trade from Port Adelaide to Hawthorn in this year's NAB AFL Trade Period.

Impey's sister, Paigan, 18, still lives in Shepparton, along with his beloved nana, Denise, whose sole doubt about his move centred amusingly on the club's brown-and-gold colour scheme.

He also has a half-brother, Joeldan, 9, who shares the same mother.

But the fleet-footed new Hawk, a gentle soul, spent the last of his four seasons with the Power in mourning, lacking motivation and missing family more than ever.

The man who raised Impey as a single father and doubled as his best friend and No.1 fan, Glenn, lost a long cancer fight shortly after the 2016 AFL season.

Impey heartbreakingly revealed in a frank Instagram post in October, designed to help Port supporters understand why he was leaving, that his "best football left with (my father)".

It wasn't until after the Power's extra-time elimination final loss to West Coast, when Luke Shuey slotted an after-the-siren goal, that he says he realised he needed to be back in Victoria.

Some post-season chats with Paigan sealed the deal.

"I just came to that decision where I wanted to be closer to her and my little brother and family," Impey told

"Family comes first for everyone, and that was the decision that was made.

"I think at the end of the season I became mentally weak, I guess you could say. I had a big year, obviously the first year of dad passing and … football wasn't probably my No.1 priority – family was."

Impey was one of 12 footballers to successfully seek a homecoming in the player movement period, and did so more classily than most.

The No.21 pick in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft still admits he saw himself in black, white and teal "forever" before cruel circumstances intervened.

Jarman Impey says he spent his final year at Port Adelaide in mourning. Picture: AFL Photos

The Western Bulldogs made a big play for Impey, but the lure of playing under four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson helped convince him Hawthorn was the right fit.

Impey's pace is much needed at the Hawks and the fact he wins almost half of his possessions in contested situations must also endear him to Clarkson.

His defensive abilities are likely to be utilised at either end of the ground to start with, but Hawthorn's list manager, Graham Wright, believes he could transform into a midfielder.

"I'd be happy with any role, to be honest, as long as I'm out there trying to get a kick," Impey said.

"I would love to see myself pinch-hit in the midfield, but it's a hard side to get into, so we'll just have to see about that."

Impey coincidentally lived with 2008 Hawks premiership ruckman Brent Renouf when he first joined Port Adelaide.

Renouf is part of an exclusive group of players, including Shaun Burgoyne, Stuart Dew, Brent Guerra, Stephen Gilham and Nathan Lonie, that competed for both clubs.

Impey, who played 75 games for the Power, is set to join them next year and wants Hawthorn fans to know he is ready to unleash his best football again.

"It was just a bit of a shock (to lose my dad). My old man was the No.1 person in my life and he taught me a lot of things," he said.

"So for him not to be at every game, it was very different. When he wasn't around, it was a huge loss and you're trying to find your way and it took me that season.

"But I'm closer to family now and have got good motivation, so I have no complaints or dramas or any worries."