Liam Shiels has asserted that he feels Hawthorn’s three-peat was inspired by a pair of near misses in preceding seasons.
The Hawks became just the fifth club in VFL/AFL history to win three premierships in a row when they conquered all in 2015 following their 2013 and 2014 triumphs.
But to reach such lofty heights they had to experience some devastating lows which ultimately provided the springboard to achieve their unbridled success.
Midfielder Shiels, who played in all three flag wins, says the disappointment of the 2011 preliminary final loss to Collingwood compounded by the narrow 2012 Grand Final defeat at the hands of Sydney provided the inspiration for the brown and gold.
“It was an invaluable experience for us young guys,” Shiels told Jack Fitzpatrick on SEN’s Off The Field of the 2011 prelim.
“We still had a pretty young list then and to play in a big game like that in front of 95,000 was huge leading into the next three years.
“Then we definitely played some of the best footy in the space of five years in that 2012 season.
“We were putting sides to bed before half-time, we were dominant. But it takes a fair bit of luck on Grand Final day. Full credit to Sydney, they played fantastic footy that day and really shut down our ball movement.
“No doubt, sitting out on the ground and watching all the Sydney players get their medals was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in football. You don’t know if you are going to get another opportunity to be there after going so close in 2011 and then 2012, you are kind of sitting there going, ‘Gee, will we get back here again? Was that our opportunity today and we’ve blown it?’
“An enormous amount of inspiration came from that. We spoke about how we have to get back there and win one because we are a quality side and deserve one.
“If we hadn’t lost that one in 2012, we definitely wouldn’t have gone on to win the next three.”
Shiels also revealed an unlikely source of motivation for turning talk into action which came during a pre-season training camp ahead of the 2013 season.
“It actually came from one of the young guys who had only been there two or three years in Luke Lowden,” he added.
“I don’t think he had played a game and that’s why it had so much weight behind it.
“He was the one who stood up and said we were talking the talk but not actually doing it on game day. That struck a chord with a few of the senior guys.
“From that moment on the leaders in the footy club were fantastic. The best leaders in the competition which no doubt had a massive influence on making sure we got the job done for the next three years.”
Off The Field with Jack Fitzpatrick airs at 8am AEDT this Sunday on 1116 SEN and the SEN app. Thanks to Kennedys – Your complete industrial Maintenance Solution.
Tune in this weekend to hear Jack's interview with former Carlton and GWS forward/midfielder Dylan Buckley.
Listen to Shiels on Off The Field with Jack Fitzpatrick below: