Unrestricted AFL free agent Matt Suckling has agreed to terms with the Western Bulldogs and will leave premiers Hawthorn, while grand final hero Ryan Schoenmakers has signed a new deal.
Speaking at the club’s Peter Crimmins Medal on Saturday night, coach Alastair Clarkson announced Suckling’s departure to the Hawthorn faithful and thanked the 27-year-old for his time at the club.
“Matt has made a valuable contribution during his nine years at Hawthorn Football Club and he can be very proud of his achievements, departing as a dual premiership player,” Clarkson said.
“He is very popular member amongst players and coaches and we wish him well for the future.”
Close friend and teammate Isaac Smith introduced a highlights package of the left-footer’s 102 games in the brown and gold, with Suckling also taking to the podium to thank the playing and coaching group, along with the club.
Suckling was drafted as a rookie by Hawthorn in 2007 at selection No.22, elevated to the senior list in 2009 and debuted in round one in 2009.
He struggled with injury in the early part of his career before earning a regular place in the team in the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Suckling missed the club’s premiership in 2013 having ruptured his ACL in a pre-season game, but returned to play an important role in the 2014 and 2015 flags and started as sub for the 2014 grand final.
Schoenmakers, meanwhile, has reaffirmed his commitment to Hawthorn with a new two-year deal.
Coming off contract, Schoenmakers will be tied to the Hawks until the end of 2017.
The 24-year-old swingman had reportedly attracted interest from a number of clubs after his outstanding 2015 finals series.
Recruiting and list manager Graham Wright said Schoenmakers would be an important part of the club’s future.
“We’re delighted that Ryan has re-committed to the club for at least the next two years,” Wright said.
His form over the 2015 season was ultra-consistent and culminated in a fantastic finals series, helping the club secure its 13th flag and his first,” he said.
Recruited with the Hawks’ first pick, No.16, in the 2008 Draft, the versatile tall has played 95 career matches, with 16 games this year, spending time at both ends of the ground, and finishing with 15 goals.
Schoenmakers was not selected for the qualifying-final loss to West Coast, but returned to play an important role in the Hawks’ three finals triumphs.
He produced arguably his best career performance in the grand final, collecting 21 disposals, nine marks and a goal in their third consecutive premiership victory.