Toast Thanks for everything, Paul Puopolo - will retire at season's end

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kazzooka

Club Legend
May 20, 2010
2,396
4,379
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Always, always always, did the hard stuff and never gave up on a chase. He did this as good as anyone.

Will be remembered as one of the best pressure forwards going around, him and Cyril at their peak gave defenders nightmares and were the best 2 pressure forwards of all time.

I think his reputation was given a disservice by people calling him a limited player that is picked on his pressure acts and team play.

The guy could take hangers, snap goals from the boundary, do brilliant knock ons and set up kicks too. He could kick bags of goals on his day too so was always an attacking threat.

Thanks for all the highlights and hard work Poppy, the effort you put into the club was a key part of 3 premierships and setting the standard amognst the current group of what they need to do to get us back there.
 

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JoeHawk

Norm Smith Medallist
May 19, 2008
7,553
11,037
Templestowe
AFL Club
Hawthorn
It’s been a pleasure watching Poppy and Cyril impose terror to the opposition defences. I’ll miss Poppy, often the smallest man on the ground taking some of biggest pack marks you’ll see. Good luck on your retirement.
 

Dixie Flatline

Saviour Sam
Jun 3, 2005
28,223
26,537
Leafy eastern suburbs
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Other Teams
Cartagena C.F., NYJ, A's
The Hawks drafted Paul Puopolo from Norwood in the SANFL with the 66th overall draft in the 2010 AFL national draft. Puopolo was a relatively mature player when coming into the AFL, having been drafted into the AFL when he was 22. Puopolo had had plenty of experience in the SANFL under his belt when he entered the AFL, having played 68 games and kicking 13 goals for the Redlegs. Having started out with Norwood as a small forward and midfielder, he was converted into a small defender by Norwood coach Trevor Hill.

Puopolo had to wait a bit in order to make his debut for the Hawks, but he did so against Port Adelaide in round 7, 2011. After making his debut, Puopolo would go onto play every game in the 2011 season, and his goal against the Suns in round 24 (as well as a last-ditch tackle) would ensure the Hawks would finish the 2011 season in the top four. He was awarded Hawthorn's Best First Year Player for season 2011.

At 173cm tall (on a good day), Puopolo was one of the shortest players to ever pull on the brown and gold for the Hawks, but his acceleration over the first few metres and his strength when laying tackles meant that he was part of a triple act of small forwards (together with Rioli and Breust) the Hawks could roll out week-in, week-out and scare the daylights out of opposition defenders. Puopolo was also partial to a high-flying mark and would delight the crowd with his aerial acrobatics on a regular basis.

Puopolo's career probably peaked in 2016, when he kicked 34 goals, had over 300 possessions as a forward pocket and laid 100 tackles. Unfortunately for Poppy, he was beset by consistent soft tissue injuries in 2017 and 2018 that restricted his output and it was fairly evident that by last season, age was beginning to catch up with him.
 

StillAtLarge

Norm Smith Medallist
May 12, 2015
6,352
12,811
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Aside from all the pressure acts there was a good 2-3 years when he was the only guy that looked likely to take a hanger inside 50 when a high ball came in! One of my all time fave Hawks- watching those little legs pump as he mowed down defenders was peak Hawthorn 2012-2015.
All the best Pops
 

lyger

All Australian
Oct 24, 2010
618
497
Source
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Poppy is one of my all time favorites, was such a key part of the three-peat with both pressure acts and spectacular plays. Just what we need now.

To reminisce, here is a good read on Poppy.
 

Steven Tyler

Norm Smith Medallist
Aug 16, 2009
7,698
14,704
Right behind you!
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Would have been an absolute nightmare to match up on

If the ball hit the deck, he would sweep in and either gather or knock it on to a teammate

If the opposition took possession he would chase you down, 3 at a time

If the ball came in high, he’d sit on your head and take a screamer

Best of luck in retirement Poppy, and a massive thanks for what you provided to us Hawk fans!
 

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lyger

All Australian
Oct 24, 2010
618
497
Source
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Would have been an absolute nightmare to match up on

If the ball hit the deck, he would sweep in and either gather or knock it on to a teammate

If the opposition took possession he would chase you down, 3 at a time

If the ball came in high, he’d sit on your head and take a screamer

Best of luck in retirement Poppy, and a massive thanks for what you provided to us Hawk fans!
And the best part was, he would do ‘all of the above’ regularly and consistently!
 

killerspud

Club Legend
Aug 23, 2009
1,997
3,837
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Absolute Champion.

What a player. He ran and he ran as fast as he could. He tackled ferociously, he crumbed and attempted spekky's. With Breust and Junior Rioli was the best mosquito squad of the era. Will always have a dear place to us. Thanks for the good times Poppy.
 

Hawker1167

All Australian
Aug 7, 2013
729
814
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Great career Poppy - thanks for the memories the hangers you took and the pressure acts in the forward line was a treat to watch - all the best for your next phase of life
 

hawkman

Brownlow Medallist
Jun 7, 2007
18,550
21,195
Melbourne
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Other Teams
Tottenham Hotspur
One of my favourites, others were more talented (he still had plenty of talent) but he gave everything all the time.
Will miss the little man flying for screamers
 

TheFourPillars

Norm Smith Medallist
May 6, 2009
9,863
18,953
AFL Club
Hawthorn
His stellar 2016 was when he broke himself shouldn't have played some of the games that season hardly trained was injured but such is the man's character he suited up for just about every game. A man who got the best out of himself and played the role he had in the team every week. His exciting tackles and sprints and leaps made him a well rounded player and he earned his place in that great side. He was also down to earth guy who was always willing to have a chat. A Hawthorn champion farewell Pops we will miss you
 

Stranglers

Club Legend
Nov 22, 2010
1,631
2,649
AFL Club
Hawthorn
One of my absolute favourite players from the three-peat era!

Fantastic pressure player, had pace to burn and took some absolute hangers over some players to whom he was giving away some serious height. It's been sad to see him not be able to muster those great bursts of speed running into goal or running down a defender from behind this year.

All the best Poppy, thanks for the great career!
 

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