HAWTHORN wingman Billy Hartung insists he never considered swapping clubs during last year's trade period.
The 22-year-old was one of several Hawks who were unwillingly thrown in the trade mix, as Hawthorn scrambled to satisfy Gold Coast's demands for young gun Jaeger O'Meara.
Hartung was linked with a move to Queensland to join former Hawthorn football boss and new Lions coach Chris Fagan.
But the young Hawk told AFL.com.au he never spoke to Fagan and was 100 per cent committed to staying at Waverley Park.
"No, not at all. I think it was all rumours," Hartung said.
"There was a fair bit going around last year, a few players were thrown up and my name was one of them.
"I didn't have any talks with [Fagan] at all. I want to stay at Hawthorn because it's a great club."
If Hartung did consider a move, he could be forgiven.
In 2015, after playing almost every game, he was dropped after the Hawks' preliminary final win over Fremantle, and named as an emergency in the Grand Final.
For the second year in a row, Hartung was left to watch from the stands as his teammates celebrated yet another premiership.
Last season he played 18 games, averaging 19 disposals, but struggled to keep his place in the Hawks' best 22 with Isaac Smith and Bradley Hill taking ownership of the wings.
But Hartung's window of opportunity is now wide open with the departure of Hill to Fremantle in the off-season, paving the way for the endurance machine to cement his place in the side.
"It's a really hard team to break into at Hawthorn," Hartung said.
"At times you do get frustrated when you're not playing week in, week out, but it builds resilience in you and hopefully this year I can secure my spot.
"With Hilly gone it leaves a big hole for me to try and fill. [Coach Alastair Clarkson] spoke to me about Hilly moving on and what that means for me so hopefully I can take that opportunity and run with it."
Hartung was dropped three times in 2016 as Clarkson sent the speedster a message about improving certain aspects of his game.
"It was more of my defensive side of my game [that needs work]. He wants me to round out my game a bit more," Hartung said.
"I tend to play a bit more outside so I've been working a bit on being able to play inside as well so hopefully this year I'll have a more rounded game."
The 2015 NAB AFL Rising Star nominee is out of contract at the end of the season.
But Hartung said he wanted to prove his worth on the field before signing a new deal with Hawthorn.
"I'm happy to wait and just see what happens with the season," he said.
"Hopefully a deal will get done, whether that's at the end of the year or before I'm not really thinking about it at all."