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 Trent Croad
Position: Centre Half Forward
Number: 24
Games: 165
Goals: 132
Born: Mar 9 1980
Height: 190
Weight: 96
From: Dandenong U18
First Played: 1998
Nickname: Croady, The Meerkat
A prodigal son, Croad returned from a two-year sabbatical at Fremantle via a trade for pick 10 in the 2003 National Draft. His time at Fremantle was a re-creation of his first Hawthorn stint – a promising start, a drop off in form, a switch of ends, a spot of reserve-grade football, and then a high-profile trade.

Croad originally came to Hawthorn via pick 3 of the 1997 National Draft, and created an almost immediate impact with some precocious performances at centre half back. Seventeen games in his first season showed he was ready for senior football, and through the next two years he developed a fine understanding with Jonathan Hay in the Hawthorn defence. So highly was he rated that he was chosen to represent Australia in the International Rules series against Ireland at the end of the 1999 season.

Somehow it all came apart for Croad under Peter Schwab, who preferred the emerging Jade Rawlings for a key defensive role. Shunted between ends, with an occasional job in the ruck, Croad’s game start to unravel, as his aggression became misdirect, his indiscipline more apparent with rising frees against totals, and his confidence disappearing. 2001 was a shocking year, as Croad failed to take advantage of the chronic shortage of big men at Hawthorn, even being dropped to Box Hill mid-season. His disappointing season was encapsulated by his long shot at goal that slammed into the post in the final quarter of the Preliminary Final, denying Hawthorn a place in the big one against the Brisbane Lions.

The off-season saw Croad traded (along with Luke McPharlin) to Fremantle for draft picks that turned into Luke Hodge, Daniel Elstone and Sam Mitchell. The trade caused much angst in some circles, a hundred or so fans turning up at Glenferrie to protest against the decision to send Croad interstate.

Two average seasons at Fremantle wouldn’t have seemed to have inflated Croad’s trade potential, so it was surprising, indeed bewildering, that Hawthorn deemed him worth a first-round pick in the 2003 draft. Nonetheless, he was acquired to give some key defensive cover, ironically replacing Jade Rawlings – the man who pushed him out of centre half back in the first place.

Croad however redeemed himself in 2004 with a magnificent season when nearly all around him failed. Finally given a permanent role at centre-half back, Trent was excellent in driving the ball out of defence. He also decided to focus more on his football rather than off-field activities. His 2nd placing in the Peter Crimmins Medal was a well-deserved reward for a player finally reaching his early potential.
Rising Star Nominee - 1998 (Round 18)
All-Australian - 2005 (Centre Half Back)
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