Fremantle Dockers assistant David Hale departs club to join Hawthorn under Sam Mitchell

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Catherine HealeyThe West Australian
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Fremantle Dockers assistant David Hale is departing the club.
Camera IconFremantle Dockers assistant David Hale is departing the club. Credit: RICHARD WAINWRIGHT/AAPIMAGE

David Hale’s time at the Dockers is over, with the Fremantle assistant confirming he’s off to join Hawthorn.

Hale, a three-time premiership Hawk, will reunite with former teammate Sam Mitchell, who has taken over from Alastair Clarkson as Glenferrie boss.

Hale is the second coach from a WA team to head to the Hawks for season 2022, following Adrian Hickmott’s decision to depart West Coast.

Hale spent six years at the Dockers, and stepped in as the club’s interim coach for one match in 2019 after Ross Lyon was shown the door with just one round remaining.

But he was under plenty of public scrutiny as the club’s forwards coach in recent years as the Dockers struggled with accuracy this year and scoreboard pressure in 2020.

Fremantle footy boss Peter Bell said Hale had been a “really valued member” of the coaching team during his time at the club.

“The last couple of years, he’s been responsible for our forwards and also ball movement and had a real impact performing in that role,” Bell said.

David Hale talks with Freo forward Michael Walters at training.
Camera IconDavid Hale talks with Freo forward Michael Walters at training. Credit: RICHARD WAINWRIGHT/AAPIMAGE

“We’ve had an ongoing dialogue with David about broadening his coaching experience and as such, we had an understanding that at the appropriate time, if an opportunity came up for him at another club, then we’d be really supportive of him exploring those possibilities.

“As it’s eventuated, he has had that opportunity with Hawthorn — a club that he knows well and will work under a senior coach that he has a very close relationship with.

“It is with our support that we farewell him from Fremantle.”

Hale, now a father of three, will return to the club where he ended his 237-game AFL career.

Hale played 108 games for Hawthorn after eight seasons at North Melbourne.

The former ruckman has made no secret of his desire to coach his own team, and just last month flagged interest in taking on the role of Box Hill head coach — the Hawks’ VFL affiliate.

“It is a step in your development and it is something that I will consider going forward,” he told ABC’s Sports Talk.

Hawks’ head of football Rob McCartney said he was excited to secure Hale.

“Through meeting with David a number of times, we’ve become acutely aware that we’re bringing in someone with a very strong understanding of the game and someone who knows how to get the best out of his players,” he said.

“We’re really looking forward to seeing the impact that David can have on our playing group as well as our broader football department.”

Hale joins Hickmott, Andrew Collins and Chris Newman in Mitchell’s new-look coaching panel.

Hawks assistant Brendon Bolton has departed the club for Collingwood, and he’ll be joined by Justin Leppitsch who has taken the role of Head of Strategy.

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