The Western Bulldogs have acquired Hawthorn key position utility Tim O’Brien as a free agent on a two-year deal.
The Dogs completed the transaction on Thursday with the uncontracted 27-year-old, who is an unrestricted free agent.
O’Brien has become a mainstay in the Hawks’ line-up, playing either in defence or attack. He has played 97 games so far over eight seasons at AFL level.
He played 19 games in 2021, averaging five marks per game and kicking 12 goals for the season, including multiple goals on three occasions.
“I’m absolutely rapt to get it done. Now I can just focus on the footy stuff and get going into next year. I can’t wait,” O’Brien said.
“I’m looking forward to meeting everyone. I think the list is in a good spot. There’s a lot of players around my age. It fit well for me and the Club.
“Playing in a Grand Final, they’re right in that window, so that was really appealing.”
O’Brien, who stands at 194cm tall, was recruited to Hawthorn with pick 28 in the 2012 NAB AFL Draft and played in a VFL premiership with Box Hill in his debut year.
He made his AFL debut in Round 1 of the 2014 season and has since proven to be a versatile and dependable player as a key forward or defender.
His best performance of the season came ironically against the Bulldogs in Round 22, where he collected 24 disposals and took 10 marks as an intercept defender.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Tim to the Bulldogs, and we’re looking forward to what he will add to our playing group,” said Bulldogs’ General Manager of List Management and Football Projects, Sam Power.
“We’ve seen Tim’s strengths at either end of the ground during his time at the Hawks, but we see him adding the most value to our team as a defender.
“We’re excited by his ability to read the play and win back possession through his intercept marking, and he has impressive speed for a tall player.”
Under the rules of Free Agency, a player with at least eight years of experience at an AFL Club who is not contracted for the following season can move freely to another club without the need for an exchange of draft picks.