Queenslander’s Joel Tippett and David Hale are set to feature in tonight’s NAB Challenge match between North Melbourne and Hawthorn.
Although Hale and Tippett may have the close connection of Queensland football between them, the journey of these two players couldn’t be further apart.
Hale has enjoyed a superb AFL career to date, with 197 games and a premiership under his belt.
The ruckman/forward is in his third season with the Hawks, after eight seasons with the Kangaroos, becoming a vital cog in the side.
Hale didn’t disappoint upon arrival at Hawthorn, kicking 19 goals from 20 appearances in a forward and ruck relief role.
In 2012, with Max Bailey injured, Hale assumed the number one ruck mantle, rotating duties with forward partner, Jarryd Roughead.
The increased time on the ball lead to Hale finishing 7th in total hitouts for 2012 and kicking 24 goals in 24 games.
Hale once again played 24 games in 2013 and kicked a further 20 goals for the Hawks in a year which saw the big man claim his first AFL premiership.
On the other hand, it has been a long and arduous journey back to AFL level for 25-year old Tippett, who has been forced to face delistings, injuries and a host of other disappointments during his AFL journey.
Younger brother of Swans superstar, Kurt, Joel was rookie drafted by Brisbane in 2007, on the list until 2009. Tippett was given a second chance in the AFL and played two seniro games off the rookie list for the Gold Coast SUNS, before being delisted in 2012.
Tippett was offered a second lifeline by Carlton after a stellar 2012 season with West Adelaide in the SANFL, but turned down that opportunity due to fears a back injury would prevent him from playing at his peak.
A SANFL representative berth and another strong season from the defender grabbed the attention of North Melbourne, with Tippett sent to the Roos via the rookie draft.
The 25 year-old impressed in his first game for North Melbourne, against Carlton last weekend, and will be looking to continue that into tonight’s match.
Hawks captain, Luke Hodge, will return to the fray for the first time in 2014 against the Roos, while former Saints star, Nick Dal Santo, will make his much-awaited Kangaroos debut.
The match kicks off at 6:10pm, Queensland time, at Launceston’s Aurora Stadium.