HAMISH HARTLETT has used an emotional speech at Port Adelaide’s annual best and fairest event to bid farewell to the club which gave him the opportunity to live out his dream of playing AFL football.
Hartlett was among four players farewelled, along with defenders Joel Garner and Tyson Goldsack and retiring midfielder Tom Rockliff.
The group was thanked by captain Tom Jonas for their personal contribution to the club with the skipper describing them as “the type of people that make footy clubs great”.
“It’s always a difficult time of the year when the season ends, and players and staff move on,” Jonas said in front of nearly 800 people at the Adelaide Convention Centre.
“These are people you spend every day with, who you’ve played alongside and who are some of your best friends.”
He invited Hartlett to the stage to speak on behalf of the group, and the former vice captain spoke glowingly about the staff, coaches, volunteers and teammates who had supported him throughout his football journey.
He also reserved special mention for his family, becoming emotional as he explained the sacrifices they had made to allow him to live out his dream.
“I feel so privileged to have been able to pull on the Port Adelaide guernsey over the last 13 years,” Hartlett said.
“It honestly doesn’t feel like that long ago when I walked into the changerooms surrounded by the Burgoyne and Cornes brothers, (Brendon Lade) Ladey, (Dean Brogan) Broges, (Warren Tredrea) Tredders, (Josh Carr) Carry, Dom (Cassisi) and with (Mark Williams) Chocco at the helm.
“I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible highs and some devastating lows.”
Hartlett recounted his challenges of overcoming numerous shoulder reconstructions and soft tissue injuries as well as a knee reconstruction.
He also said persisting through the club’s darkest times in the early 2010s had him thinking professional football was not all he had hoped.
But he explained that there had been so many good times since that he feels incredibly grateful to have been part of.
“I’m proud to say, under the leadership of Dom and Travis (Boak), Ollie (Wines) and TJ (Jonas), that I’ve contributed significantly to the current culture of hard work, respect, acceptance and humility that exists within the playing group and football department and I know that with the people currently involved in the club that will be sustained,” Hartlett said, explaining he would miss his coaches and teammates past and present.
“From a playing point of view, to be considered a true Port Adelaide player was something I aspired to be and I hope I achieved that in the eyes of the supporters.”
Earlier, Jonas had thanked departing coaches Jarrad Schofield and Michael Voss for their time and contribution to the club, as well as outgoing Head of High Performance Ian McKeown who has finished at Alberton after nine seasons.