Isaac Smith has ensured this year’s AFL free agency period will begin with a bang, after announcing he’ll leave Hawthorn to join Geelong – their modern-day arch rivals – as an unrestricted free agent.
The Hawks had been keen to retain the 31-year-old and had even broken their policy of only offering 30-year-olds one-year extensions, but the veteran winger today told the club he would cross to Kardinia Park in search of another flag before his time is up. He will sign a two-year deal with Geelong soon.
Melbourne had also been courting the triple-premiership Hawk heavily and had reportedly offered him a three-year deal, but will instead have to look elsewhere for outside midfield support.
In a statement, Hawthorn’s general manager of football Graham Wright paid tribute to the winger, saying Smith had “been a part of a lot of success during his time at Hawthorn and has given our club a decade of valuable service.
“As an unrestricted free agent, Issie exercised his right to explore the market, that’s the nature of the mechanism of free agency.
“We wish Issie and his family all the best in their next chapter,” he said.
It caps off a busy first morning of player movement, with Rory Atkins officially moving from Adelaide to Gold Coast as an unrestricted free agent, and Carlton officially lodging paperwork to sign Giant Zac Williams.