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AFL dream still flickers for Brayshaw

Former West Coast Eagle Hamish Brayshaw is still open to a return to AFL football should an opportunity arise in 2022.

Speaking to Sports Breakfast on Wednesday, the 24 year old said he would love to play at the highest level again should the opportunity present itself.

“I would love the opportunity to play AFL football again,” Brayshaw said.

“That’s a discussion everyone has to have with their own WAFL clubs. I’ve signed on with East Perth and that’s where I’m very happy to play football.

“At the end of the day the AFL is that next step up and that’s still everyone’s dreams and aspirations. The carrot of playing AFL football is always going to be there. I will still jump at that opportunity.”

East Perth has been vocally opposed to the AFL’s top up players proposal for 2022, which will see state league clubs provide players for AFL football in the event of a covid outbreak.

While Brayshaw can understand the club’s position, he also understands the club’s reticence to hand over key players to the national competition.

“I think any kid or any footballer no matter how old you are or how experienced would love a chance to play AFL football if you haven’t already,” he said.

“From a club land point of view it’s difficult at this time of year. Normally you get compensation and reparations should players get picked up or drafted, so to able to just be taken at moment’s notice with no real give back to the club is difficult.

“I can see exactly where East Perth are coming from (with their stance). I’m sure there will still be water to go under the bridge in that respect.”

Brayshaw played a solitary game for the Eagles in his three years on the club’s list, delisted at the end of the 2020 season before captaining the Eagles WAFL side last year.

He averaged 22 disposals per game for West Coast in 2021 in a side that finished on the bottom of the ladder, the Eagles initial withdrawal from the competition enough to see Brayshaw move to former club East Perth to link back up with former TAC Cup coach Jeremy Barnard.

“Barney was my coach at the Sandringham Dragons in the under 18’s, we won the TAC Cup Grand Final so I’ve got a good relationship with him,” Brayshaw said.

“My first WAFL experience was with East Perth, a lot of the guys there I still have good relationships with and know. By the time the dust had settled and West Coast had a team again, I had already signed with East Perth.

“I’m happy with the decision I’ve made, I’m loving my time with the Royals and I’m looking forward to the start of the year.”

Originally from Melbourne, Brayshaw has settled in Perth, having recently purchased a house in Innaloo with his partner, younger brother Andrew quickly becoming a household name at the Fremantle Dockers and older brother Angus a premiership player at the Demons.

Brayshaw reflected on Angus’ premiership triumph last year, won at Optus Stadium with Hamish, brother Andrew and dad Mark in the stands.

“It was one of the best nights of my footballing life. To have the family here watching, to see him live out his dream was special.

“For two and a half quarters it was really tight, then you really got to enjoy the game and the win in the back end of third quarter and in the fourth. You could revel in what was an amazing scenario and environment.”

East Perth commence their WAFL campaign against Swan Districts at Leederville Oval on Good Friday, April 15th.

IMAGE: Perth Now.

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