Birchall not a replacement for Hodge: Noble

SEN - Mon, 21st Oct 2019 - 0 Comments

David Noble says bringing a senior player like Grant Birchall to the Lions is not a move designed to replace the outgoing Luke Hodge.

Brisbane signed four-time Hawthorn premiership player Birchall as a free agent earlier this month on a one-year deal.

Speaking with Sam Edmund and Nick Dal Santo on SEN Breakfast, Noble said it was “simplistic” to see one player as the replacement of the other.

“I think what Luke brought to our group was the understanding of what it takes to get to that next level, the imparting of his knowledge on field, particularly around getting guys to think through tough situations," he said.

“If you looked at the way the two play, Luke was sort of at the end and we needed that experience. Birch we feel has still got some good footy to play for us, and that need in Birch’s case is more the run, carry – whereas the need when we looked at Luke was more the on-field leader.”

Speaking of the influence Hodge has had over the Brisbane leadership group, Noble said it was most evident in how composed the Lions leaders had become.

“It’s the calmness and the matureness that Luke passes on to those guys…that’s the aspect that we really think he’s helped develop, that calmness in tight situations.”

Hodge arrived at the Brisbane Lions in 2018 after a stellar career at Hawthorn, where he won four premierships, two Norm Smith medals and made All Australian three times.

The 35-year-old retired after the Lions’ semi-final loss to the Giants at the Gabba this year, playing a total of 41 games in two seasons with the Lions.