NEW Bulldog Tim O'Brien says he is relishing the prospect of contending for a premiership after joining the club from the rebuilding Hawthorn. 

The 27-year-old crossed to Whitten Oval as a free agent at the end of last season, following a campaign in which he reinvented himself as an intercept-marking defender.

He said the chance to vie for a flag at the Bulldogs posed a significant pulling factor in his move.

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"That's the most exciting part about the move for me," he said.

"Going from Hawthorn that has had a lot of success, and is in a different phase now, to a club that's genuinely contending. 

"I'm really looking forward to hopefully being able to help go [to that] next step."

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'Superman' O'Brien with an epic MOTY contender

Tim O'Brien produces a truly stunning mark in front of the Hawthorn faithful at the MCG

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The key-position player is renowned for his leap and took a jaw-dropping Four'N Twenty Mark of the Year contender deep in the forward line in round 15, but his late-season form at the other end of the ground and the Bulldogs' need to bolster their backline, particularly after Easton Wood's retirement, means he will be deployed in the defensive 50. 

"That's the sort of role that I hope to be playing next year," O'Brien said. "Hopefully I can build on that form that I got at the end of last year and grow it."

O'Brien also admitted he had pencilled in next year's clash with his old side as a date "to look forward to". 

Tim O'Brien is all smiles after Hawthorn's win over the Western Bulldogs in round 22, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Ironically, it was against the Bulldogs when his defensive prowess came to the fore, combining 10 marks with 24 touches in the Hawks' upset win late in the season. He will be hoping to emulate that performance in Dogs colours in 2022.

The teams are scheduled to clash in round 15 at Marvel Stadium. 

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"It'll be good fun, playing against mates. It'll be interesting to play against them obviously [having] been there for nine years. It'll be a bit of fun, one to look forward to," O'Brien said. 

The 193-centimetre tall said the transition was made smoother by fellow defender Taylor Duryea — a previous teammate at Hawthorn — as well as new Bulldogs assistant coach Matt Spangher, who played alongside O'Brien in his early years. 

Tim O'Brien in action during a Western Bulldogs training session in December, 2021. Picture: westernbulldogs.com.au

O'Brien reported to pre-season training with the first-to-fourth-year players in a bid to blow the cobwebs off early, and was particularly impressed with the return of last year's No.1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan. 

"Jamarra, it's well-documented that he's come back in pretty good shape," he said. 

"I think everyone has. That's one thing that impressed me. The whole group's just been really good."