THE chance to step up and become a senior player at Western Bulldogs is one of the major reasons behind Matt Suckling’s decision to leave AFL premiers Hawthorn.
A week after winning his second AFL premiership at the Hawks, Suckling exercised his right to switch clubs as an unrestricted free agent and joined the Bulldogs.
Speaking to The Daily Advertiser after time away with his former Hawks teammates, Suckling wants to become a leader at his new home.
“I suppose from the move I get the opportunity to be an older person at the club,” Suckling said.
“I know at Hawthorn there has been guys that have more experience than me but I get to walk into a footy club now where there hasn’t been a lot of finals played amongst the group.
“If I could share some advice, have the younger people coming up to me and asking for advice then that would be really great.
“To develop as a player and as a person as well, is something I’m looking to do.
“I hope to take what I’ve learnt from Hawthorn and pass on anything to all these guys and hopefully we can keep improving.”
Suckling leaves Hawthorn after nine years, 102 games and two premierships.
Suckling had a two-year deal on the table from the Hawks, but elected for a three-year contract and a fresh start at the Bulldogs.
A number of clubs pursued Suckling but he revealed an admiration for the Bulldogs’ game style played a significant part in his decision.
“It was massive,” he said.
“I loved watching them this year and they play a brand of footy that suits my strengths.
“That was a big reason as to why I moved across and I feel like I can get the best out of myself playing that style of footy.”
Suckling, 27, said ultimately the decision did not come down to the money or years involved in the contract.
“You always want to secure your future and set yourself up but with the (Bulldogs) deal, it probably wasn’t too dissimilar to the Hawthorn one,” he said.
“It was only a little bit different and the three years is obviously really nice so I want to try and play the best footy I can for the next three years.
“At the start of the year I wasn’t really looking for a change, I was really happy at the Hawks, I still was and still would have been happy to stay at Hawthorn.
“It was just the way it played out and seeing the way they go about things convinced me to have a change.”
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