HAWTHORN defender Sam Frost says he had mixed feelings watching his former club lift the premiership cup last season.
The 28-year-old, who played 70 games for Melbourne from 2015-2019, was happy to see his good mates achieve the ultimate success.
But he also couldn’t help but wonder, 'what if?'.
"There were a few people I was very excited for," Frost said.
"It stung a little bit, obviously. You know, you want to be a part of those sorts of things and to have been there a couple of years earlier, yeah, it hurt a little bit.
"But I was mostly happy for the guys there that I’m still friends with. They did it in a good fashion, they played really well and were the best team all year.”
Most notably, Frost was thrilled to see Tom McDonald and Max Gawn break Melbourne's 57-year flag drought.
"For Gawny in particular, being captain, was very exciting," he said.
Journeyman is a football word that is bandied around far too often, but Frost has certainly traversed the game’s landscape more than most.
Drafted to the Giants with pick No.83 in 2012, Frost spent three seasons at the franchise club before requesting a trade back home to Victoria.
While at Greater Western Sydeny, he learnt from Kevin Sheedy and Leon Cameron – two of the six coaches he’s played under throughout his 131-game career.
Add in Paul Roos and Simon Goodwin at the Demons - plus Alastair Clarkson and now Sam Mitchell at the Hawks – Frost has been privy to a smorgasbord of tactics, lessons and personalities.
"It has been an interesting journey," Frost said.
"I suppose going to Greater Western Sydney to begin with and changing coaches there, I didn’t really know any different.
"I was a bit young and naïve so it just kind of became the norm through my career. It has been an interesting journey and happy to have ended up here at Hawthorn.”
With the Hawks in rebuild mode, their 2-0 start to the season has garnered ample interest, particularly after stunning Port Adelaide at home by 64 points.
While the club remains cognisant the season will ebb and flow with a young and developing list, Frost is confident the Hawks are tracking in the right direction.
"It's always nice winning and getting a bit of positivity from those wins, particularly for our young players," he said.
"But the main message for us at the moment is to stay level and not ride that wave too much."
One of the more senior heads in Hawthorn’s defence, Frost has high praise for the likes of Changkuoth Jiath, Denver Grainger-Barras, Jack Scrimshaw and Will Day.
The addition of James Sicily, however, after missing the best part of 18 months with an ACL injury, has been just as important.
"He’s got really good footy smarts," Frost said.
"He’s obviously a very talented player. I enjoy having him there for his direction and instruction and his footy brain."
It's for these reasons Frost could see Sicily – a player who could have once been characterised as insolent - one day lead the club.
"Yeah, absolutely," Frost said.
"I think if he was to become skipper he’s obviously got a lot of development left in him and a lot of growth in that area. But he shows some strong traits of someone who might end up in a position like that.
"I completely agree with that. Whether that’s something he wants, I don’t know. But he's got a few strong traits, definitely."