Jordan Lewis has opened up about his AFL trade to Melbourne, admitting he was stung to learn Hawthorn couldn’t guarantee his place in the side beyond next season.
The Hawks on Tuesday granted Lewis a trade to the Demons, who offered the 30-year-old a three-year deal after being approached by his management about a possible move.
Melbourne will gain Lewis and picks 57 and 68 in exchange for picks 48 and 66 in a bargain basement deal which suggests the Hawks remain motivated to clear space in their salary cap for trade target Jaeger O’Meara and new recruits Tom Mitchell and Ty Vickery.
Like fellow four-time premiership star Sam Mitchell, Lewis had been keen to play out his career with the Hawks but was encouraged by coach Alistair Clarkson to consider his future in a “difficult” post-season conversation.
“You do go through a lot of emotions, some good, some bad,” Lewis told reporters.
“It was probably a hard thing to take because as players, you feel like you can play forever.
“I’m certainly well aware of where I’m at in my career. I don’t feel like my performances are slowing down so it was hard for me to try and look beyond that.”
Lewis said he had no hard feelings about the trade and remained friends with Clarkson, adding that he had never been asked to take a pay cut and the Hawks had not raised their salary cap issues with him.
The Hawks will now line up next season without reigning best and fairest Mitchell – who has been traded to West Coast for pick 88 in a steal for the Eagles – and runner-up Lewis.
Lewis, a 2014 All-Australian who notched 264 games for the Hawks, said Melbourne was the only side he had ever considered joining, despite interest from Gold Coast.
After winning four flags with Hawthorn, Lewis said he was keen to take on the challenge of leading the young Demons back to the finals.
“For me, they’re knocking on the door,” he said.
“That was probably one of the deciding factors, along with knowing some of the people here.”
Lewis confirmed there was a chance he may have been made captain of the Hawks next year but said he was not eyeing the captaincy at Melbourne.
The departure of Lewis and Mitchell paves the way for Hawthorn to build a war chest for the 2017 trade period, when Fremantle star Nat Fyfe and Richmond’s Dustin Martin will become restricted free agents.
“It is disappointing to lose Jordan, however we felt it was the right decision for all parties to facilitate his request for a trade to Melbourne,” Hawks list manager Graham Wright said.
“With Jordan and Sam moving on it opens up opportunities for our young midfielders to step up and further their development.”