MATT Spangher is desperate to be in the Hawthorn team for its round 1 blockbuster with Geelong.
But the 25-year-old defender, who is at his third AFL club after stints at West Coast and Sydney, knows there is still a long way to go before that dream becomes reality.
"I'm very desperate to play, but I realise that if the pathway is to go back to the VFL and earn a spot, then that's what will happen," Spangher told The Examiner yesterday.
"It's a pretty good team, Hawthorn, and spots are always going to be tight, so there's two games to go to prove to the coach that I'm worthy of playing."
Originally of Old Xaverians in Victoria, Spangher arrived at the Hawks in last year's trade period.
His football journey began with pick 34 in the 2005 national draft and he played 26 games between 2008 and 2010 in the West before being delisted.
He then spent two years on Sydney's list, playing six games in his first year at the Swans, and none last year because of hamstring problems.
He has put those worries behind him to feature in two of the Hawks' three preseason games, and has been named in the squad that will face Richmond in Launceston tomorrow.
"This is the first time I've been able to play NAB Cup for a few years and to have an uninterrupted preseason for someone like myself who is trying to cement myself in the AFL, is just so important," Spangher said.
"I've done some good things, but there's things I could improve on, be it positional or spoiling my technique."
The 195-centimetre, 96-kilogram defender was enticed to Hawthorn for two reasons.
The first being the two- year, rather than one, contract being offered to him, as well as the promise he could play in his natural position in defence.
"For a tall bloke, I've got a pretty good running ability and with the hype about the interchange cap, the ability for a tall bloke to go the distance will be an advantage," Spangher said.
Spangher believed his new teammates "hadn't shied away" from the grand final loss to his former employer, believing they had learnt plenty from that experience.
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