RYAN Schoenmakers says his burning desire to win a premiership at Hawthorn meant he never seriously considered leaving the club last off-season.
Schoenmakers was caught up in a storm of trade speculation last October after the Hawks lured free agent James Frawley from Melbourne.
Having lost his spot on the eve of finals, with Matt Spangher preferred as the third tall defender, Schoenmakers was reportedly courted by Adelaide for a return to his home state.
The Crows desperately needed some height in defence and, with spots at a premium at Waverley, it was difficult to place where the 195cm swingman might fit in Alastair Clarkson's best 22 if he stayed.
But the 24-year-old says he always wanted to stay to fight for his position, telling AFL.com.au he was blindsided by the trade talk.
"It is tough. If you're not expecting it, like myself, then it creeps up on you," Schoenmakers said.
"I love the club and this is where I want to be. There wasn't really too much thought in my mind at all (about leaving).
"I missed out on the last couple (of premierships) so I really want to redeem myself and join my mates in some of that glory."
Schoenmakers could be forgiven for feeling hard done by. He played in the losing 2012 Grand Final but then was cruelly denied his shot at a redemptive flag the following season due to a knee reconstruction.
And then last season, the former No.16 draft pick lost his spot for the qualifying final win against Geelong after playing 15 home and away matches.
"There's obviously going to be people in a team like this that miss out and opportunities don't go their way, so there's always going to be that hunger and that extra drive for a few people and then obviously the team as a whole," he said.
"It's definitely a big part (for me)."
It was that prospect of success that helped tempt Frawley to the Hawks over other suitors, following a barren run of just 34 wins from 139 games at Melbourne.
While the ex-Demon's arrival appeared to edge Schoenmakers further towards the fringes, it's given him greater certainty that his most likely chance of earning a spot will be in attack – where he played as a junior and subsequently trained over pre-season.
"Frawley coming in has probably helped me even more this year, being able to stay up forward, so it's been a blessing I suppose," Schoenmakers said.
"I've been happy being a swingman. Last year, when I came into the side early in the season, the idea was to play forward and then it happened through injuries I was required down back.
"It's going to help me (and) it's going to help the team being able to play both ends."
That flexibility came in handy in round five, when full-back Brian Lake's knee injury opened up a spot for the 60-point thumping of North Melbourne.
It was a memorable match for Schoenmakers, marking the first time he and fellow ACL sufferers Brendan Whitecross and Matt Suckling – who all debuted together in round one, 2009 – had played together since the 2012 qualifying final.
Although he's been in and out of the side twice since, Schoenmakers has settled into attack in recent weeks and taken his season tally to nine games and eight goals.
Despite Hawthorn's healthy list and mounting pressure for spots, Schoenmakers said he's not worrying about what might happen come finals time or about his contract, which expires this year.
"At the moment, I'm just focusing on my footy and trying to play some good footy," he said.
"I think the last couple of weeks I've started to show that. I'm really enjoying my footy at the moment."