Humble Birchall calls time on AFL career

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Decorated defender Grant Birchall has been lauded by his long-time coaches as the ultimate low-profile champion after announcing his AFL retirement after 287 games. A tough, classy half-back, the Tasmanian played 248 games for Hawthorn between 2006 and 2019, with his lethal left boot crucial to claim flags in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2015. He […]
Decorated defender Grant Birchall has been lauded by his long-time coaches as the ultimate low-profile champion after announcing his AFL retirement after 287 games.

A tough, classy half-back, the Tasmanian played 248 games for Hawthorn between 2006 and 2019, with his lethal left boot crucial to claim flags in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

He won All-Australian selection in 2012 and spent his final two seasons in Brisbane, steering the Lions to within inches of a second-straight preliminary final in his final game last Saturday.

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Birchall kept a low profile despite occupying rare air – Cyril Rioli, Luke Hodge, Jordan Lewis, Sam Mitchell and Jarryd Roughead are the only other Hawks involved in all four flags.

"And he's the humblest one of them too," Lions coach Chris Fagan, who also worked with Birchall at the Hawks, said.

"I think he averaged about 24 possessions a game in those grand finals at halfback,…
Murray Wenzel
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