New Hawthorn rookie Lachlan Bramble had moments where he had given up on his dream of playing AFL.
So when Hawthorn gave the 22-year-old the opportunity to train with them and potentially earn a rookie spot for this year, the Sunbury resident was keen to give it a good crack.
It didn’t take long for the Hawks to sign Bramble as part of the pre-season supplemental selection period (SSP), becoming the final player on their list.
“At stages I didn’t think it would happen,” he said.
“I did a few Wednesdays training with Hawthorn during the week… and then got asked to train two weeks full time with the club.
“It was awesome and I was blown away they had asked me to do it. I thought this was my opportunity.
“It was one last crack and it paid off. It is awesome and starting to settle in.”
Being on an AFL list is far cry from 2019 when Bramble decided to step away from playing VFL to play local football.
He had played 11 senior games in two years with Williamstown, but starved of consistent opportunities he returned to his local club, the Sunbury Lions, in the Ballarat Football League.
“Previously I didn’t play as much VFL as I would have liked and I got quite frustrated as I thought that I could have been playing,” he admits.
“There were a few other little things going on and my mates got me back to play with Sunbury.
“It was nice not having to worry about structures and clear my head and just play footy.”
While Bramble enjoyed his time playing with the Lions, there was still that urge to play at a higher level.
He signed with Williamstown for the 2020 VFL season, which would later be cancelled.
Bramble said the lead up to the 2020 was the best pre-season he had completed.
While COVID-19 ended the footy season without a game being played, Bramble hit his home gym with the aim of putting on some more muscle, while trying to keep fit.
Bramble joined the Box Hill Hawks for the 2021 VFL season.
It was a familiar face in former Williamstown and now Box Hill assistant coach Andy Collins that convinced him to make the move across.
“Andy Collins rang me one day and said he would love to coach me again,” he said.
“I had made a strong relationship with Collo and took his word and took the opportunity to play with Box Hill.
“I jumped at it and it has paid off.”
Bramble said it had been an easy transition to Box Hill, where he was one of the older guys at the group.
Now part of the AFL list, Bramble said his aim was to continue with the same motto that had seen him earn his spot: playing with confidence.
Bramble played in Hawthorn’s only official practice match against North Melbourne, finishing with 12 possessions and kicking two points.
“It’s pretty surreal and I never thought I would play an AFL game let alone be on an AFL list,” he said.
“I took a lot out of the game. Hopefully I’ll build from there and hopefully I’ll get to do it in a few weeks time.”