HAWTHORN has signed its second Irish rookie in 12 months, luring emerging Gaelic football and rugby star Conor Nash to Waverley.
As reported by AFL.com.au in August last year, the Hawks have been circling Nash for some time and the talented Irishman has finally joined the club.
The youngster, who hails from Navin about 45 minutes north-west of Dublin, will link up with the Hawks when pre-season training begins next month.
Blessed with height, pace and natural athleticism, Nash is set to learn AFL craft as a key defender.
"I'll learn the trade there hopefully and then they'll maybe look later down the line a bit more forward," Nash told the club's website.
"Key back, especially having the rugby background with tackling and stuff like that, should be all right."
Nash has visited Hawthorn to train with the squad three times since he was first spotted by Hawks recruiting and special projects manager Mark McKenzie three years ago.
He will follow in the footsteps of Northern Irish prospect Conor Glass, who signed with the Hawks last October.
Glass, a running half-back with tidy skills, played in seven games for Box Hill's reserves this season, including the VFL development league premiership victory over Casey Scorpions, treading a path Nash will soon follow.
"It's wonderful to have him (Glass) there, you can relate different things from Ireland to him," Nash said.
"He's good craic as well. It's massive to have him go before me, being able to see the path before me and the process it takes and how long it takes.
"I've just been following his footsteps."
Nash is already an accomplished kick of the Sherrin and is keen to get to work learning master coach Alastair Clarkson's game-plan.
"The oval ball wasn't too bad because I play rugby," he said. "But I suppose positioning and all that will come with a lot of time and a lot of work."
It is as yet unclear whether Nash has been signed as a Category B international rookie.
Under AFL rules, clubs can sign one Irish player directly to their rookie list as a Category B international, which the Hawks used to sign up Glass last year.
Any further Irish players added to the list must be signed as Category A rookies and sit on the main rookie list, with their club forfeiting its last pick in that year's rookie draft.
The Hawks have been willing to take a punt on international players in recent times, with mixed results.
Former New Zealand basketballer Kurt Heatherley broke new ground as the first born-and-bred Kiwi to play AFL this season when he made his debut in round 20 against Melbourne.
However, his compatriot Shem Tatupu quit Hawthorn in March after two seasons at Waverley and joined rugby league club Melbourne Storm.