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The Age

Now a Hawk, Rock plans to roll with the changes

Date: 10/02/1999
Words: 523
          Publication: The Age
Section: Sport
Page: 1
The Hadfield Football Club is a small-time Essendon District Football League outfit, squeezed for greater prominence by the larger northern suburbs Fawkner and Glenroy.

B-grade has seemingly been the club's station forever which is why Anthony Rock, the Hadfield Hawk who made good, is still held reverentially to the club's heart.

The gold and brown vertical-striped Hadfield jumper was the first Rock pulled over his head and, with Hawthorn's decision to breathe life back into his career yesterday, seemingly he will finish in the very same colors.

It is not an important point, but one that occurred to Rock none the less on Monday night when Peter German, the former North ruck-rover and teammate who now assists Ken Judge at Glenferrie Oval, rang to confirm Hawthorn's decision to draft him.

``It's funny how small things like that suddenly enter your mind. It's sort of like going back," Rock said yesterday.

Rock enjoyed 13 wonderful years at Arden Street so much so that it will always be his spiritual AFL home. What's more, the affection is mutual. North politely correct any and every suggestion that it moved him on.

Rock is now a Hawthorn player, though, because he needed to reinvigorate his game so that the matches remaining in his 28-year-old body are as good as they can be.

``I made a big call last October. I could have stayed at North if I had wanted to but for my personal development I knew I had to move on and I had to live with the decision," Rock said.

German's call, and another from his manager, Ricky Nixon, enabled Rock to sleep comfortably on the eve of the draft when so many others, even certain selections, could not. Scott Russell knew he was going but not where until his manager took a call on the golf course from Sydney a few minutes after the draft was all over.

It was a small mercy for Rock, who admits to occasional bouts of despair during the three homeless months after leaving North.

``Not knowing where your future might lie or if you even have a future in the competition isn't pleasant. More than once the thought that I could be finished up, at 28, crossed my mind," he said.

``It wasn't three months I'd like to endure again."

Rock chose to train with Essendon over the summer and the experience, albeit brief, confirmed in his mind the worth of his decision to leave North and the regimented, highly successful game of Denis Pagan.

``A great coach. People must not think I left with any bitterness or that I'm even critical of anyone or anything," Rock said. ``But just to see football from another angle, to see how a team other than North goes about the game. I really enjoyed that, I learned a lot."

``And that is the bottom line."

AFL pre-season draft list
 Carlton, Essendon, Geelong and West Coast did not take part)
  Round 1:
  1     Brisbane: David Calthorpe (Essendon)
  2     Fremantle: Ashley Prescott (Richmond)
  3     Collingwood: Glenn Freeborn (Kangaroos)
  4     Hawthorn: Anthony Rock (Kangaroos)
  5     Port Adelaide: Jared Poulton (Port Adelaide Magpies)
  6     Richmond: Clay Sampson (Adelaide)
  7     St Kilda: Tony Francis (Collingwood)
  8     Sydney: Scott Russell (Collingwood)
  9     Melbourne: Troy Simmonds (Box Hill)
  10    Western Bulldogs: Cameron McKenzie-McHarg (Oakleigh Chargers)
  11    Kangaroos: John Spaull (Rosebud)
  12    Adelaide: Darryl Wintle (North Adelaide)
  13    Collingwood: Cameron Venable (Claremont)
  14    Hawthorn: pass
  15    Richmond: pass
  16    W Bulldogs: Daniel Wulf (Dandenong Stingrays)
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