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Why new Dog was so interested in AFL fixture: ‘It’ll be good enjoyable’

New Bulldog Tim O’Brien couldn’t help but take a sneak peek on Thursday when the AFL fixture came out.

After nine years at Hawthorn, O’Brien opted in October to sign a two-year free agency deal with Luke Beveridge’s Western Bulldogs, who were fresh from playing in the grand final.

But the intercepting defender found himself checking when the Dogs would lock horns with the Hawks. For the record, it will happen on the Friday night of round 15, on June 24.

“Naturally, I think you do,” O’Brien said.

“I think it’s just after the bye, so middle of the year. It’ll be good fun, playing against your mates (after) obviously being there for nine years.

“I’m forever grateful for what Hawthorn, as a club, did for me, so it will be a bit of fun and one to look forward to.”

New Western Bulldogs Recruit TIM O'BRIEN
Camera IconNew Bulldog Tim O’Brien wants to make his mark in defence next season. Rebecca Michael Credit: News Corp Australia

O’Brien played one of the best games of his career against the Dogs in the penultimate round of the home and away season.

The 27-year-old has shuffled from attack to defence for several years, including this past season, but looks to have found a home in the backline for Beveridge’s team.

O’Brien now has designs on more performances like that 24-disposal, 10-mark, 14-intercept possession effort from round 22.

“That’s the sort of role that I hope to be playing next year,” he said.

“Hopefully, I can build on that form (from) the end of last year and grow it and go from there and keep improving on it.”

The Bulldogs’ senior players resumed training this week – a moment O’Brien described on behalf of footballers as akin to Christmas – but the newcomer started early with his younger teammates to acclimatise quicker.

He’s already had lunches with captain Marcus Bontempelli, Tom Liberatore and Caleb Daniel and bonded with last year’s No.1 draft pick Jamarra Ugle-Hagan.

The smooth transition to the Kennel and the chance to be part of a premiership-contending team has convinced O’Brien he made the right move.

Helping that cause was previous affiliations in brown and gold with senior coach Beveridge, assistant Matt Spangher and teammate Taylor Duryea.

“That’s the most exciting part about the move for me – going from Hawthorn, which has had a lot of successes (but) is in a different phase now, to a club that is genuinely contending,” O’Brien said.

“I’m really looking forward to hopefully being able to help them go that next step.”

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