Reborn spearhead Jesse Hogan’s emergence from a difficult few seasons is complete, with a new two-year deal the reward for his best campaign since 2018.
The star Giants forward booted a season-high four goals last week in a best-on-ground performance as they put a disastrous derby defeat to the Swans behind them to take down Essendon in Sydney.
Hogan is up to 30 goals from 16 games this season, and 50 from 25 overall since crossing to Greater Western Sydney on a one-year deal after a somewhat tumultuous end at Fremantle.
Another one-season, prove-it-to-us pact followed his first year with the Giants but now the ex-Demons prodigy has security again amid what he describes as the “most consistent” football of his life.
As pleasing for the 27-year-old as his goal tally is how many matches he has played this season, after managing no more than 12 in any of the past three years, when foot and soft-tissue setbacks besieged him.
Former coach Leon Cameron and the Giants’ high performance team hatched a pre-season plan for Hogan to rest twice this year either side of the mid-season bye, which has worked wonders for him.
“Last year wasn’t ideal with being injured and having a few calf injuries to deal with, and not really having too much confidence in my body,” Hogan told News Corp.
“Then this year, being able to link together 14, 15, 16 games and play some more consistent footy has been massive for me mentally, just to have faith in my body again and a decent season overall.”
Hogan’s agent, Matt Bain, of TLA Australia, is thrilled to see him playing well again and optimistic about greater things ahead.
“It’s a great result for Jesse. He’s happy there and deserves the two years,” Bain said.
“He’s put in a lot of work and it’s showing in his footy. I’m very proud of him.”
No key forward in the competition is averaging more than Hogan’s seven marks per match this season, with that part of his game always serving as a barometer for his performance.
“It’s not that I’m chasing marks or chasing kicks but that’s something that’s always kept me in the game – my ability to find a pocket of space,” he said.
“I’m not the most athletic, I’m not the quickest and I’m not the fittest but I think I’ve got a pretty high IQ when it comes to forward craft.”
The next step for Hogan is playing a full year, which he thinks is within his grasp if he can enjoy a big summer and enter the 2023 season injury free.
Part of that goal is also to ramp up his training between games, too, after largely staying off his legs until Wednesday or Thursday after a match and completing just one main session weekly this year.
“I’d get everything I needed to out of that session to feel sharp, then not much after that,” he said.
“But with the confidence I have in my body going into next season; I feel like I can get more training done, keep working on my craft during the week and be more confident going into games.”
Hogan, who has moved out of Shane Mumford’s Maroubra granny flat into a Balmain home, was among the eight players spared interim coach Mark McVeigh’s wrath after the disappointing display against the Swans.
The Giants’ underwhelming season has frustrated Hogan at times and he spoke strongly recently about the players needing to be better defensively, but he has come a long way personally.
Hogan conceded several times since his Dockers exit that he made mistakes but also that escaping the constant houndings in Perth for somewhat of an anonymous existence in Sydney was badly needed.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing. It’s kind of hard to reflect on – I have a lot of regrets and you can’t change the past, so I’ve just done the best I can to move on,” he said.
“It’s a bit of a littered few years, unfortunately, and that’s something I’m just going to have to live with, but this year and last year, I’ve taken steps forward.
“Hopefully, I’m just reaching the prime of my career and I can finish off my year really well and play some good seasons and have some deep finals runs.”