Confirmed Grant Birchall [Signs with Brisbane, no compensation]

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HolyWars

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Good work Lions. Happy for Birchall to take the offer, he has been a great player for us. Hopefully he can stay fit and get a solid season under his belt (and perhaps a flag). When fit he is best 22 IMO, but even if he isn't, he is good depth.
 

jackenny

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Birchall would be Best 22 at most clubs. It's his injuries that've been setting him back. Potential money-ball get for the Lions (if he gets his body right - and if that is the case, the Lions will be absolutely laughing).

The big reason Hawthorn are willing to move him on (apart from the injury cloud) is that they have an abundance of young, talented half-back flankers who are all getting senior games (Sicily, Impey, Scrimshaw, CJ, and Morrison). Birchall is a better fit for the Lions because their premiership tilt is clearly open, and this is the time when a good list manager should be grabbing older players to fill holes (like the Hawks did when they grabbed Lake).
 
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Young Gun #6

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I know a lot of Hawthorn fans are saying when fit he is best 22 but you’ve barely seen him since he was 28 and he is a long way past that prime now.

He’ll be 32 before the season starts and has played 8 games in the last 3 years.

I think he is purely a depth player, won’t be anywhere near fit enough (not health wise but actually underdone) to be playing regular AFL footy.
 

rogiebear93

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I know a lot of Hawthorn fans are saying when fit he is best 22 but you’ve barely seen him since he was 28 and he is a long way past that prime now.

He’ll be 32 before the season starts and has played 8 games in the last 3 years.

I think he is purely a depth player, won’t be anywhere near fit enough (not health wise but actually underdone) to be playing regular AFL footy.
Since 2017 we've seen him 6 times for 'full games' without being injured. In those games he's averaged:

23 Disposals
321 Metres Gained
7 Intercepts
85% Disposal Efficiency
75% Time on Ground

If they can get him fit, he can lead the defensive unit to some extent and provides needed experience for both Harris Andrews who is still very young and Daniel Rich who is a great player but not a leader.

Not to mention he's a very reliable user with ball in hand, 193cm tall, strong bodied and is very tough in the way he goes about it.
 

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Mitchell54

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I know a lot of Hawthorn fans are saying when fit he is best 22 but you’ve barely seen him since he was 28 and he is a long way past that prime now.

He’ll be 32 before the season starts and has played 8 games in the last 3 years.

I think he is purely a depth player, won’t be anywhere near fit enough (not health wise but actually underdone) to be playing regular AFL footy.
Every time he comes in from injury, before getting injured again, he comes in and makes an immediate impact and makes the whole team better. 23 disposals at 85% efficiency with about 65% game time in most those games.
 

Young Gun #6

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Every time he comes in from injury, before getting injured again, he comes in and makes an immediate impact and makes the whole team better. 23 disposals at 85% efficiency with about 65% game time in most those games.
The only thing I'm thinking is though there is a big difference between 28-29 and 32.
That period is the end of your peak and the significance of players dropping off after 30 and 31 is huge from everything history has shown.
 

rogiebear93

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The only thing I'm thinking is though there is a big difference between 28-29 and 32.
That period is the end of your peak and the significance of players dropping off after 30 and 31 is huge from everything history has shown.
Wouldn't say so, came back in for two games on limited minutes this year and his averages were consistent with his averages across his career. It's all about whether he can get on the park. Brisbane are youthful enough to carry him on semi limited minutes.

Hasn't lost his kicking, was more mobile than Hodge even though he isn't quite on the same level leadership wise.
 

hawkman

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The only thing I'm thinking is though there is a big difference between 28-29 and 32.
That period is the end of your peak and the significance of players dropping off after 30 and 31 is huge from everything history has shown.
He looked good in his 2 and half games this year. Was probably our 2nd best until he did hamstring against North
 

jackenny

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The only thing I'm thinking is though there is a big difference between 28-29 and 32.
That period is the end of your peak and the significance of players dropping off after 30 and 31 is huge from everything history has shown.
I know what you're saying, but bare in mind half-back flankers have a longer-lasting ceiling than most. I can't really think of many half-back flankers who've plummeted in form at 32 or younger, honestly. The only thing that really stops half-backs is ongoing injury (which could be the case for Birchall). For example, Nick Malceski comes to mind. But he was dogged by knee injuries his whole time at the Gold Coast - before that, he was an AA half-back in his last year with the Swans. Maybe Goddard? But he was more-so a utility and played his best football in the midfield and off HF. Luke Hodge, Kade Simpson, Corey Enright, Heath Shaw are all examples of how half-backs can just keep on trucking so long as they aren't beaten down by injury. I mean, some players seem to find a new lease of life in the half-back (Matty Boyd for the Bulldogs was moved to HB at 33 and it totally reinvigorated him, and won an AA playing that position in 2016), you also have players like Shannon Hurn who only seemed to get better once they entered their 30s playing HB. So if Birchall has his body right, then he'll very likely play at a high standard - but that's a huge caveat given his injury cloud already.
 
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Slick

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All the best to Birchall at the Lions. It's a good move by the Hawks because we have to commit to some of our younger guys but he'll add a lot to the Lions. Glad he gets to finish on his own terms.
 

Back One Out

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Birchall is one of the most underrated players from the Hawks three peat. He is a star when fit.
This.

People either forget how good he was or they're just plain ignorant. Unlucky not to be a 3-time All Australian.
A beast of an athlete at half back. 193cm, runs like the wind and never wastes a possession.

He has had rotten luck with injuries over the past 3 years. Never missed a game prior to injuring his PCL

If Birch gets on the park and plays 20 games next season at the same high standard he always plays at, the Lions will be laughing at their free pick up just like they did with Hodgey.

It's a big "if", but Birchall is well overdue for a change of luck.
 
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