WHILE hordes of West Australians will be hoping for a West Coast Eagles grand final upset, there’s one local AFL star who’ll be doing everything in his power to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Fleet-footed Hawks wingman Bradley Hill suits up for his third grand final appearance at the MCG tomorrow, a mighty achievement for a footballer aged just 22.
The former West Perth colt will become the youngest player in Hawthorn history to win three flags should his side defeat the Eagles on Saturday.
But he is well aware of the size of the task ahead.
He heeded the “awesome” efforts of the WA side to defy expectation and earn a spot in the premiership decider.
He admitted West Coast had given his team a shake-up in the qualifying final and they could not afford a repeat of that performance.
“The whole 22 didn’t play the footy we normally do and in the finals, you can’t do that,” he said.
“West Coast have been awesome all year; even with their key defenders out, they’ve shown they can play without them.
“It’s attacking football, they always hit the scoreboard and they’re going to be a tough team this week.”
Hill was not selected for the 2012 premiership loss to Sydney in his first year of AFL football, but will this weekend have played in more grand finals than a host of champions including Robert Harvey (one), Nathan Buckley (two) and Chris Judd (two).
He’s also won more premierships than each of them from just 74 games.
He speaks with grand final knowledge that most players will never attain.
The dynamic ball carrier said his excitement at contesting a flag had grown the past three seasons.
“You probably get more excited each year you do it,” he said.
“You’ve done it before and you know what you’re looking forward to and how the week all pans out.”
Dermott Brereton holds the current record as the youngest player to win three premierships at the club; he won his third medal at the age of 24 and 36 days in the Hawks’ 1988 flag.
The youngest in AFL/VFL history is Collingwood’s Albert Collier, who was just 20 and 81 days when the Pies completed the third of four-straight titles in 1929.