CLINTON Young’s lethal left foot was encased in a moon boot as the free agent joined his new AFL home at Collingwood yesterday.
The North Ballarat Rebels and Minyip-Murtoa player had off-season surgery on Tuesday and, two days later, made the tough decision to leave Hawthorn and join the Magpies.
After several weeks of negotiations with the Hawks, Young decided to join Collingwood on the last day of the league’s first free agency period on a three-year deal.
Young, 26, played 116 games for the Hawks and was a member of their 2008 premiership team.
Hawthorn drafted Young from the Rebels in the 2004 rookie draft after playing 19 games in the TAC Cup over two seasons – four in 2003 and 15 in 2004.
He was elevated in 2005, when he made his AFL debut with the Hawks.
“There were a lot of things to consider.
“Certainly there wasn’t one thing that made it easy but, for many reasons, it was a tough decision,” said Young, who was an unrestricted free agent.
“There were lots of things to consider and I’m just relieved it’s all over now.”
Young struggled in the grand final loss to Sydney and he admitted it was a disappointing way to end his playing career at Hawthorn.
The longer trade period worked to his advantage as he weighed up his options.
“For me, moving from the grand final and having surgery, it was handy to have a bit of time,” he said.
“As hard as it is, it was good to have a bit of time to make the decision.”
Collingwood director of football Geoff Walsh noted that Young would be one of the Magpies’ rare left-foot players and said his ball-carrying ability would be a major asset.
“He runs and carries the ball – he kicks it very well,” Walsh said.
“He’s a left-footer, we don’t have a hell of a lot of left-footers, which might be a bit oblique, but that’s a bit of a plus.
“On transitions, he’s probably an 80-90m player.
“He carries it and kicks it really well.”
Young will join his new teammates for a training camp in Utah in December.
Walsh said Young went through a medical examination before the deal was done.
“We knew the operation was inevitable, that it had to happen,” he said.
“The post-operative report from the doc is that he’ll be well into his rehab phase and running by Christmas.
“We’re not looking at the next three months – we’re looking at he’s three, four, hopefully five-year player for us.”
Collingwood has also gained West Coast’s Quinten Lynch through free agency, while Sharrod Wellingham (Eagles) and Chris Dawes (Melbourne) were traded.