As Tim O’Brien cast his eye over the AFL fixture on Thursday, he was immediately drawn to a Round 15 clash at Marvel Stadium.

A match against his former side Hawthorn has been circled and the defender can’t wait to face his old mates.

“Naturally I think you scan down to see when you are playing them (Hawthorn),” O’Brien told media on Friday.


“I think it is just after the bye so the middle of the year. It will be good fun playing against your mates.”

“It will be interesting playing against them having been there for 9 years, but I am so thankful for what Hawthorn Football Club did for me.”

The off-season recruit spoke highly of his early weeks at Whitten Oval, returning early with the first-to-four-year players in late November.

“It’s been a pretty easy transition to be honest – coming back earlier meant it was a bit easier to get to know the younger guys without 45 people being here,” he said.

“We finished a bit earlier at Hawthorn, I was pretty ready to get stuck in.”

Some familiar faces at training and a few early season lunches has built the bond for O’Brien, loving the group and the challenge that lies ahead in 2022.

“Aside from working with Bevo at Hawthorn, I played with Taylor Duryea for five or six years at Hawthorn,” he said. “Matt Spangher as well – played for 3-4 years at Hawthorn.”

“I’ve done a little bit of work with Jamarra and some lunches with guys like Bont, Libba and Caleb Daniel.”

“It hasn’t so much been one guy but the whole group has been really good.”

O’Brien couldn’t wait for the full squad to return this week, slating that the backline is where he could start his journey at the Bulldogs.

“Monday morning when everyone came back, it is almost like Christmas morning really,” he laughed.

“Everyone is back in together and you get to train as a group which is what we love to do.”

“I am most likely to start in the back end – I feel that is where I play my best footy.”

“We haven’t really gotten into the ‘nitty gritty’ of things yet. I am just concentrating on fitting into the group first.”

“Hopefully I can build on the form I had at the end of last year and keep improving.”