Why Hartley headed to the Hawks

SEN - Thu, 5th Dec 2019 - 0 Comments

Hawthorn recruit Michael Hartley admits he loved his time at Essendon but ultimately had to depart.

The 26-year-old defender was offered a one-year deal by the Bombers but opted to turn that contract down and leave the club after four years.

Hartley commenced training with the Hawks a little under three weeks ago before he signed a two-year deal when he was officially picked up in the pre-season draft last week.

But why did he trade Tullamarine for Waverley?

“A lot of it’s about family for me. I’ve got a young daughter (Adeline) and I’m just thinking about her,” Hartley said on SEN Summer Breakfast.

“I’m thinking about as much security as I can get in the AFL.

“I loved my time at Essendon but Hawthorn came along with an extra year and more security so it was an easy decision in the end.”

Hartley also touched on Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson’s ability to get the absolute best out of players who may not have reached their full potential at other clubs, referencing a new teammate as inspiration.

“Ricky Henderson, for example, has come in and last year he dominated,” he said.

“So hopefully it’s a good opportunity. Obviously Clarko is a ripper coach. It’s very exciting.”

The former Collingwood rookie operated mainly as a defender in his 44 AFL games with the Dons. He sees something similar in the brown and gold but will remain open minded.

“I’m up for anything. Whatever the team needs, I’ll be there,” Hartley added.

“I’m pretty comfortable down back, I don’t mind it there but I’m easy to go anywhere.”

As for what has stood out most from his new teammates, the speed of fellow recruit Sam Frost has been evident, as has the toughness of a Hawks favourite.

He added: “Frosty! He’s only new as well but he’s very quick. I’ve watched the back of him a fair bit so far.

“(Also) Liam Shiels, the tough nut. He’s a work horse and he’s a ripper fella as well.”

After two years with the Magpies, Hartley joined the Dons via the 2015 draft and played 37 games across his first two seasons before adding just seven in 2018 and 2019 combined.

Listen to Hartley on SEN Summer Breakfast below: