TRIPLE Hawthorn premiership wingman Isaac Smith will move to play for Geelong.?
In a stunning move to begin free agency on Friday morning, the 31-year-old indicated he wanted to play for the Hawks' arch-rivals.
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As an unrestricted free agent, Smith is free to walk to the Cats and has accepted a two-year deal. Hawthorn receives a third-round compensation pick (currently No.42) in return.
Smith had been courted with a three-year offer to play for Melbourne and had two years on the table to remain at the Hawks.?
But he has decided to chase a fourth premiership down the highway at GMHBA Stadium,?admitting his decision was mostly formed on a lifestyle change.
The Demons had long been seen as the favourites to secure Smith before the Cats came hard for his services late.?
He thanked the Demons – in particular coach Simon Goodwin – for their professionalism through his decision process.
Now that Hawthorn is receiving compensation for Smith, Kyle Hartigan’s move to Waverley Park will come via a trade next week.— Mitch Cleary (@cleary_mitch) October 30, 2020
Because if Hartigan arrived as a FA, it would dilute the Hawks’ compo for Smith.
"It has been a very difficult decision, incredibly hard and I've probably had a few sleepless nights over the last three or four nights to be honest," Smith said on Friday afternoon.
"There wasn't much between Hawthorn, Melbourne or Geelong.
"I think right now where I am in my life, I'm really excited to creating a new chapter and seeing a world outside the Hawthorn Football Club."
Smith had been grappling over the prospect of playing for the Hawks' biggest nemesis but said he was excited join Jeremy Cameron and Shaun Higgins at the club.
He even suggested Geelong fans would have extra reason to celebrate his arrival after missing last-gasp goals against the Cats in the 2016 qualifying final and again round 17, 2017.
"I've already won them two games of footy so I'm guessing the fans will be happy," he said with a laugh.
The Hawks issued a statement on Friday morning.
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"Issie?has been a part of a lot of success during his time at Hawthorn and has given our club a decade of valuable service," said Hawthorn GM of football Graham Wright.?
"As an unrestricted free agent, Issie exercised his right to explore the market, that’s the nature of the mechanism of free agency.?
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"We wish?Issie?and his family all the best in?their?next chapter."
The Cats will lodge paperwork for Cameron, a restricted free agent, on Friday that the Giants will match and then force a trade.
Higgins is a lock to head to the Cats and accept a two-year deal which will be one of the first trades completed when the period opens on Wednesday.