GIANTS recruit Jesse Hogan has opened up about his move to Western Sydney and where he sees himself having the biggest impact at his new club.
Hogan joined the GIANTS on the opening day of the Trade Period following 90 games and 170 goals in his seven seasons at the Melbourne Demons and Fremantle Dockers.
“It’s been pretty hectic,” the 25-year-old said of the move east.
“We went through the process the last couple of weeks and catching up with Leon (Cameron), Jason McCartney and a few people from the club.
“It was a bit of a whirlwind, (the news) took a little while to settle in but I couldn’t be happier.”
Hogan arrives at his third club in 2021 but has had plenty happen on and off the field since his introduction to the AFL as a teenager.
Drafted as a 17-year-old in 2012, Hogan arrived at Melbourne through the mini-draft that was actually introduced as part of the GIANTS’ start-up list concessions.
He was ineligible to play in the AFL in 2013 so spent the season playing in the VFL where he was the Casey Scorpions’ best-and-fairest and leading goal kicker.
A back injury wiped out what was meant to be his debut season in 2014 so there was plenty of anticipation around his eventual debut when it came in round one, 2015.
In his first season he won the Ron Evans Medal as the competition’s Rising Star and was the Demons’ leading goal kicker in 2015 and 2016.
2017 was a tough year for the West Australian native, with his father Tony passing away in April before Hogan was diagnosed with testicular cancer just a month later at the age of 22.
A move home beckoned at the end of that season after 71 games as a Demon and Hogan has spent the past two years as a Docker, playing 19 games.
With time spent on the sidelines due to injury, mental health challenges and form, Hogan and Fremantle came to a mutual decision that a fresh start beckoned following the end of the 2020 season.
Hogan said he chose the GIANTS because he is excited about the path the club is on.
“When I was going through the process of figuring out where I was going to go and catching up with the club … everyone seems to be on the same wave length,” he said.
“I had Stephen Coniglio give me a call and a few of the other boys, everyone seemed really consistent about their thoughts on the club, the lifestyle they live over there and the balance they have so from those conversations I was really intrigued.
“I’m glad we got it done and it seems like a really great place to play football and live a really healthy lifestyle.
“The last few years I’ve had a few injuries and a things not go exactly to plan but I guess that’s just footy, there’s no perfect script for it.
“I’ve had a bit of a foot injury the last few years but where my body is now - I probably haven’t had a pre-season in two-and-a-half years - I’m really excited and optimistic about where I’m at with my body and where I’m at mentally.”
Hogan was moved to a defensive role in training by the Dockers across the 2020 season but still firmly sees his future as a forward.
“I guess I played a little bit down back as a junior and only really trained down back with Freo. It didn’t go exactly to plan … so I think I’ll stay up forward,” he said.
“I am pretty flexible, I think I can play as a bit of a utility if need be, so preferably a forward but if I’m needed down back then we’ll see how we go.”
Hogan said he immediately felt welcomed to the club with plenty of his new teammates touching base when the trade went through.
“It was really interesting actually, after the news came out I pretty much had half the squad message me,” he said.
“It’s only a small thing but when you don’t know anyone, it’s a really nice touch.
“Instantly having that care, everyone’s in their off-season and doing their own thing, but for them to reach out is a really nice touch and makes you feel a part of it already.”
Out surfing when the trade went through, Hogan is looking forward to heading east and exploring his new city later this month - a place he’s never really spent time in.
Hogan will begin training with the club’s younger players in early December before returning home to Perth for Christmas.
“I’m excited to get over to Sydney in the next few weeks, figure out where I want to live and train with the first to four year boys who are back in early December.”
He’ll return in 2021, with young puppy Milly in tow, and look to make a GIANT impact for his new club.