In round two this year I sat at Adelaide Oval and watched Fremantle get absolutely slaughtered by Port Adelaide. There were not many positives for the Dockers that day in the 89 point drubbing. But new recruit Brad Hill was one the best for Fremantle.
The new recruit never stopped trying. Continued to run all day and finished with 31 disposals to be the second highest possession winner for the team behind Lachie Neale.
The last few weeks I have watched Fremantle games closely and the former Hawk has continued to impress with his hard running and work rate, as Fremantle have gone on a mini-revival. With five wins for the season they are now amazingly back in Finals calculations.
The arrival and departure from the Hawks
Brad Hill was drafted with pick 33 in the 2011 draft and certainly gave Hawthorn great service. The Western Australian made his debut in 2012 playing five games and would play 20 games or more every season up until his departure at the end of 2016. A total of 95 games in Hawthorn colours.
It is amazing to think many players do not taste the ultimate success at AFL level. Players like Gary Ablett, Robert Harvey and Tony Lockett who each had illustrious careers with over 900 games between them did not play in a single winning Grand Final.
Brad Hill departs Hawthorn as a three time Premiership player and a special bond with his Premiership teammates and coaches that will last a life time.
Alastair Clarkson did not want to lose the speedster and the Hawthorn coach was always a great supporter of Brad Hill during his career. Even when his form was occasionally questioned by those outside the club. At the 2016 Hawthorn best and fairest, the coach bid an emotional farewell to the 23 year old.
“I know that he’s feeling really, really awkward because he doesn’t really want to leave. And the only way that we’d let him leave is for one reason and that’s family. I love you like a son and there’s plenty over there that love you like a brother and a cousin over there in that corner. Thanks so much for everything you’ve done for us mate.”
Traded to Fremantle for pick 23, it seemed to be a fair trade for both parties. The Dockers would certainly be happy currently with what has transpired.
The stats in 2017 tell the story
The 23 year old is certainly enjoying a career best season to date. Averaging 25 disposals and 8.4 marks per match, it is the highest of his career. The move back to WA to play alongside brother Stephen certainly paints the picture of someone who is enjoying his footy.
Brad Hill played arguably his best game at AFL level in the round seven win over Essendon with a return of 37 disposals. And this was backed up with a superb performance against Richmond last Sunday with 28 disposals, 11 marks and a goal.
Brad Hill recruit of the year?
Former Kangaroo and Saint Nick Dal Santo declared on radio this week that Brad Hill would have to be in the mix as the recruit of the season.
“Brad Hill is right up there with recruit of the year. He’s beautiful to watch. He’s smooth, his skills are solid, he’s a good user (of the football) and he kicks goals. People say he’s purely an uncontested player, but that’s because no one can go with him.”
A win over Carlton this weekend will likely see Fremantle enter the top eight for the first time this season. The form of Brad Hill is certainly a major factor in the Dockers revival. Let’s see where this goes…