Oliver Hanrahan is acutely aware that the Hawthorn Football Club has had to be patient with him.
The 21-year-old forward was taken with pick 14 in the 2016 rookie draft with his AFL debut coming more than two years later.
Hanrahan stepped out in the AFL for the first time this year and managed to put together some promising games at the elite level under the tutelage of Alastair Clarkson.
After he first got the nod against West Coast in Round 15, the St Kevin’s alumni played nine games straight to finish off the 2019 season, vindicating the faith shown in him by the head coach.
“He (Clarkson) has been great, he’s been very encouraging and very helpful,” Hanrahan told SEN’s The Overnight Crowd.
“I think he knows I was going to take a bit of time.
“He’s so dedicated to the person. He thinks about the person more than the player, initially, which is we he is such a good coach.
“He really invests in you first before your footy. I really appreciate that. He just wants to get the best out of everyone.
“He’ll really back in someone if he’s got belief in them. Coming to a club like Hawthorn and to get the best coach arguably ever, it’s been fantastic.”
Hanrahan admits he has had to bide his time in the VFL but once given the green light by Clarkson, was able to flourish in the senior side.
“It was an up and down year, I played the first 10 games in the VFL but Clarko gave me an opportunity,” he added.
“One game can do you a world of wonder and then each game you play, you feel more a part of it and you feel like you belong at the level.
“But it took a while. I came out of school footy where I’d never been in the gym before. I had to really wait my time to come into the team but Clarko knows what he’s doing.
“I had to prove myself and I feel like I’ve done that now.”
Hanrahan won Hawthorn’s best first year player in 2019 and was further rewarded when he was upgraded to the senior list for the 2020 season alongside Irishman Conor Nash after three years as a rookie.
Listen to Hanrahan on The Overnight Crowd below: