Will Hoskin-Elliott is now a Collingwood premiership player, just as his Great-Great Grandfather Charlie Norris was in 1910.
It’s a surreal fact for the 30-year-old, who didn’t know much about Norris in the first few years of his AFL career.
But his family connection with Collingwood is more layered than that.
He was already a Pies fan as a kid, while his kids are now growing up within the four walls of the Club, making the 2023 premiership all the more significant.
“It’s pretty special, when you first walk to the Pies and you walk through that foyer with all the trophies you sit back and look and think ‘I want one of those’,” he said.
“To be able to say you’re a premiership player at the same club your Great-Great Grandfather was involved in is pretty surreal. His name was Charlie Norris, he played for Fitzroy and the Pies and was a 1910 premiership player here.
“It’s amazing to know you’re in the record books for the Collingwood Football Club forever. To see the kids and Kirsten on the ground after the game, that for me is what it’s all about, putting family and footy together.
“To be able to bring them into the four walls and a part of everything we do is so special.
“To have the kids running around in the confetti after the game on the MCG and being themselves it’s something they don’t realise is that big, but I’ve got those photos and memories forever now.”
Being part of the losing 2018 side was a major driving force behind a lot of Hoskin-Elliott’s teammates’ desire to get one back.
But while he’s in the same boat, the utility has always been able to recognise how special each moment has been, no matter the outcome.
“For a lot of boys that burnt, but for me I really enjoyed the experience,” he said of 2018.
“It sucked losing but to be able to say you played in an AFL Grand Final, they’re not easy to get to and now to say that you’ve won one it’s absolutely unreal.
“I still haven’t come down from the experience of playing and winning a Grand Final it’s absolutely special.
“2018 was a massive day and a massive loss so it’s been our driving force to get back to the Grand Final day and win one and we’ve done it now.”
Hoskin-Elliott was on the bench in the dying stages of the game and offered a different perspective for some of the fourth quarter’s biggest moments.
While many of Steele Sidebottom’s teammates were confident the wingman had the legs as he lined up for his set shot in the final minutes, Hoskin-Elliott joked he had far less faith.
“Sidey going back for a set shot 60 (metres) out it’s just like ‘c’mon mate, what are you thinking?’ and then to see it sail through is like ‘holy cow, the old boy has still got it’,” he said.
“I was on the pine just sitting back and enjoying it and having a little bit of a chuckle to myself thinking ‘no chance, it’s just going to the hot spot’.”
But with the win secured, Hoskin-Elliott could only praise the connection of his teammates and Club.
Believing it is more genuine than most, the number 32 is confident it was the reason behind the Pies’ rise to the top in 2023.
“A lot of clubs talk about connection and culture and it’s easy to talk about, but this group actually has it,” he said.
“The buy in from all the boys from Fly walking in day one 18 months ago, you could just feel the change and it’s genuine.”
Will Hoskin-Elliott’s 2023 stats:
- Played his 200th game
- Played in the most wins in a season of his career (19)
- Averaged 12.4 disposals