Hawthorn veteran Jordan Lewis says the heartache he’s experienced at the AFL club has made the back-to-back flags much sweeter.
The hard yards have made Hawthorn’s back-to-back AFL premierships all the more sweeter for the likes of Jordan Lewis.
As pundits pondered whether the Hawks could match Brisbane’s feat of three consecutive premierships 11 years ago, the 22 players responsible for the 63-point destruction of Sydney in the grand final were still celebrating.
“Yesterday was a bit of a blur, as all big games are … now we’ve had a bit of time to reflect and understand what we’ve achieved as a club,” Lewis told reporters at Sunday’s fan day.
“We’re pretty proud.”
Lewis, Jarryd Roughead and coach Alastair Clarkson all joined the club in 2004.
Along with Sam Mitchell and Luke Hodge, both drafted in 2001, they have spearheaded a major change in the team’s fortunes.
Since failing to qualify for the finals from 2002 to 2006, the Hawks have become one of the greatest sides of the modern era.
They have reached four grand finals and collected three premierships in seven seasons.
It is a particularly fine achievement given the lull that followed the 2008 flag, when Hawthorn failed to make the finals in 2009 then lost an elimination final in 2010.
“To enjoy the success, you’ve actually got to experience a little bit of heartache,” Lewis said.
“In 2008 we were really fortunate as young players to play in a premiership.
“2009 and 2010 were really hard years for the club and we had to really change the culture, that’s something that started when Clarko came to the club.
“Roughy and I were part of that, (former captains) Richie Vandenberg and Crawf (Shane Crawford) were a big part of changing that culture as well.
“And Hodgey’s been instrumental … in terms of the standards we set at the club.”
Lewis said his teammates were yet to turn their attention to 2015.
But the 28-year-old forecast the fact his club wasn’t interested in sitting “on their hands”.
“What you get from the older guys is pretty much the same every year. The improvement obviously comes from the core group of players and the younger group of players,” Lewis said.
“We’ve seen guys stand up this year. Obviously Will Langford is probably the standout in terms of his development.”
Langford, Matt Spangher and Taylor Duryea all played in their first grand final, all of them rising to the occasion.