David Mirra’s selection by Hawthorn at Monday’s AFL Rookie Draft has the Box Hill Hawks reflecting on the legacy their veteran skipper will leave at the club.
The versatile 26-year-old defender isn’t going far from Hawthorn’s Peter Jackson VFL affiliate, but his 126-game career as one of the most decorated VFL-listed players of recent times has met a popular end.
After graduating from the Eastern Ranges in the TAC Cup in 2009, the Scoresby and St Simons (Eastern FL) junior played just one senior match in his first season with the Hawks in 2010 before quickly establishing a reliable presence in Box Hill’s defensive half.
Mirra earned the first of four VFL Team of the Year selections in 2011 (others in 2013-15) and represented the VFL three times at state level (2013-14 and 2016). He played in three VFL grand finals from 2013-15 including a premiership victory in 2013, took on the club captaincy in 2014 – later breaking Alex Gardiner’s 50-year-old club record of 73 games as skipper in Round 17 this year – and won the Hawks’ best-and-fairest in 2016.
Box Hill General Manager Daniel Napoli said finding out Mirra had finally made it to the elite level was an “unbelievable moment”.
“I think he goes down as one of Box Hill’s greatest-ever players,” Napoli said.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Dave for the influence he has around the group, on and off the field. He’s a tremendous leader and he sets the standard.
“Hawthorn did have a relatively young defence this year and having a guy like Dave in the team brings a wealth of experience and a lot of leadership.
“Thankfully he’s at Hawthorn and – while hopefully he’s playing AFL – we still get to see him (at Box Hill), which is a great result.”
Napoli said Mirra’s rookie-listing and Fremantle’s selection of his younger teammate and dynamic small forward Sam Switkowski in Friday night’s NAB AFL Draft was a boost for the club’s VFL player development program.
“It’s a massive tick for us,” Napoli said.
“This is exactly what we set out to achieve – to have a program that enables players to fulfil their potential. Thankfully for these two, they get to do that and jump on AFL lists.
“Everyone at the club is proud.”