AFL
Jonno Nash and Charlie Happell 15d

Luke Hodge's pre-Lions advice for Mitch Robinson

AFL

When his career was at the crossroads, Mitch Robinson reached out to one of the game's fiercest leaders, Luke Hodge, for help.

Robinson had just been delisted from Carlton following the 2014 season and feared his career had come to a premature end.

He didn't know the triple premiership player beyond the footy field, but felt his advice would help revive his playing days in the AFL. It's now ironic that fate has thrown the pair together and they will team up at the Brisbane Lions for the 2018 season.

"There was a little bit of talk about Hawthorn maybe picking me up, but nothing concrete. I just gave him [Hodge] a call to see what his thoughts were," Robinson told ESPN.

"He didn't have to take my call, but we ended up having a half-an-hour chat about footy and life off the field. I've already got a large amount of respect for him.

"He said to me, 'the past is the past and you learn from your mistakes'. He wasn't someone to judge. It was more along the lines of how I can improve my game and get better as a person.

"That's the type of character that's going to help our young playing group. Hodgey goes out of his way to help others and his on-field leadership will be invaluable.

"He'll be a general in the backline, instructing the play in front of him. He'll steady the ship and really guide the young players on the field."

Hodge, the former Hawks skipper, chose to ressurect his career in the off-season alongside good friend and coach Chris Fagan at Brisbane. He is expected to help accelerate the development of the young cubs at the club, as well as provide on-field leadership to a young, success-starved team.

Robinson, meanwhile, is doing everything he can to ensure he is in career-best shape to help out his new teammate next season.

The fiery midfielder was the only senior player to commence pre-season training this week with the first to fourth-year players.

Robinson's season ended abruptly after breaking his foot in Round 7 against Sydney.

He spent time in a moon boot in the hope his bones could knit naturally, but that plan failed. Robinson had surgery where a wire and screws were inserted, which meant his season was done.

"I haven't trained with the main group since Round 6 this year, so I was jumping out of my skin to get back into it," he told ESPN.

"Also I wanted to help out the young guys because it can be pretty hard to be up and about so far out from Round 1. I got the sense when I arrived at the Lions that a few blokes who came from interstate had plans to one day return home. That's certainly changed in recent years on the back of the excitement of our list.

"Following David Noble and Chris Fagan getting involved at the club, the place has changed. We hope that a strong season with more wins can make us become a destination club."

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