Luke Hodge confirms retirement backflip

Hawthorn great Luke Hodge has confirmed he's backflipping on retirement and playing on in 2018.

 

The Hawks on Thursday announced that Hodge had informed the club of his decision to join the Brisbane Lions next year.

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“The club will work with the Lions to ensure Hodge’s request is fulfilled,” a statement read.

Hodgey is playing on. Image: Getty

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said the Hawks supported their four-time premiership hero’s decision.

“Luke has been an incredible servant of Hawthorn Football Club and we will support him and his family in the next step of their journey,” Clarkson told the club website.

“We respect Luke’s decision to take up this new opportunity presented by the Lions and understand the personal development opportunities it provides.

“Luke, Lauren, Cooper, Chase and Leo will always be welcome at Hawthorn and remain an integral part of our family.

“We look forward to celebrating Luke’s decorated career in the brown and gold at the Peter Crimmins Medal on Saturday night.”

Hodge dropped a massive hint that he would play on when he didn't take part in the retiring players parade at Saturday's Grand Final at the MCG.

Hodge, who played 305 games and won four premierships with the Hawks, announced earlier this year that his 16th season would be his last.

However, the Lions confirmed they were highly interested in recruiting the 33-year-old.

"We are keen to explore the possibility of Luke playing for our club with his manager in the coming days," Brisbane football manager David Noble said in a statement two weeks ago.

"Luke's ability to assist with developing and nurturing our emerging group as an additional on-field leader would be a great help."

Lions coach Chris Fagan knows the leadership skills of the former Hawks skipper well, having served as Hawthorn football manager for nine years prior to joining Brisbane.

"He knew I was still passionate about playing footy," Hodge told the Seven Network.

"We've had a couple of chats. I think both parties are interested.

"We've got to make a few decisions on what's best for the family. There's still water to go under the bridge.

"It's a decision you're not going to rush into."

with AAP

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