TWO weeks before his surprise trade to Hawthorn, Ben McEvoy was barracking against the Hawks in last year's Grand Final.

When the then St Kilda ruckmen sat down to watch the premiership decider on his family's farm in Stawell, he wasn't overly fussed who won but had a slight leaning towards Fremantle.

"If anything I wouldn't have minded, for the good of the game, Freo winning," McEvoy said on Thursday ahead of Hawthorn training at Waverley.

"And then a couple of weeks later that obviously all gets flipped on its head. That's just one of those funny things.

"But I couldn't have been further from it really. We'd finished playing a month before and it's always a little bit weird to sit there watching, knowing I'd had the privilege of being there on Grand Final day before."

As McEvoy relaxed with a few quiet beers on that September afternoon, he felt after six seasons at St Kilda that he would be a Saint for life.

That changed suddenly a fortnight later when he received an email from his manager, Adam Ramanauskas of Elite Sports Properties, as he holidayed in Thailand with this girlfriend.

Ramanauskas told McEvoy Hawthorn was interested in trading for him and called soon afterwards – at 3am Thailand time – with the news the Saints and Hawks had a deal on the table.

By lunchtime that day, McEvoy was a Hawk.

McEvoy said the trade had come as a complete surprise, but he felt privileged to join the Hawks.

The 24-year-old, who played 91 games with the Saints, says he has fitted in quickly at Waverley, particularly with the midfield group he will work so closely with this season.

"It's been really good. We've got a lot of quality time out on the track and I think that will only accelerate as we start playing games and building those relationships," McEvoy said.

"There's a lot of experienced guys in that midfield, so it's been pretty easy to fit in there."

McEvoy carried the Saints' ruck division largely on his own over the past two seasons, but says his role is set to change playing alongside the Hawks' deeper list of ruckmen that includes David Hale, Jonathon Ceglar and pinch-hitter Jarryd Roughead.

"There's obviously Roughy and Haley and a few tall guys on the list here, so probably how I'd been playing at St Kilda, that's not sustainable over a long time," McEvoy said.

"Hopefully we can work out that balance of playing a little bit more forward and perhaps not as much game time.

"I think the Hawks have been very good at managing those sort of relationships. Obviously with Max Bailey managing his body over the last couple of years, they've been very good at managing and insuring the blokes can have maximum impact."

Twitter: @AFL_Nick