ON THE UP: Shaun Hampson has made a promising return from two ankle reconstructions to average a career-high 31 hitouts a match.
ON THE UP: Shaun Hampson has made a promising return from two ankle reconstructions to average a career-high 31 hitouts a match. Michael Dodge

Hampson enjoying new lease of life

He would like to enjoy a few more wins with the Tigers, but life's pretty good for former Brisbane boy Shaun Hampson right now.

The 28-year-old is settled in Melbourne, raising two-year-old son River with wife Megan Gale.

And now his footy career is back on track after a disappointing 2015 at Punt Rd, when restricted to just four senior games while troubled by debilitating ankle injuries.

"The ankles were really quite average there last year," he tells ARM.

"I had reconstructions on both of them, missed out on the pre-season and didn't know how my (2016) season was going to go initially.

"But, played the last NAB Challenge game, played well and was lucky enough to keep my spot in the side."

Having only made 78 senior appearances in his first nine seasons - seven at Carlton and two at Richmond - the 201cm big man has featured in 10 of a possible 11 this season.

In what has been a frustrating year for the Tigers (4-7), his form has been a positive, holding down the No.1 rucking spot in place of Ivan Maric.

"I'm still no where near where I want to be," the Mount Gravatt product said.

"The ruck side is going quite well, but I definitely want to be involved in the game a lot more... have a few more touches, a few more marks and kick a goal each week would be nice.

"So six out of 10 ... I think there's a lot of room to improve in my game."

He registered a massive 51 hitouts in the loss to North Melbourne last week, in the absence of Roos powerhouse Todd Goldstein

"I haven't played against Goldy for years," he said. "In a way I was sort of looking forward to it, to see where I was against one of the better ruckmen in the comp.

"(But) it wasn't an easy night against Majak (Daw)."

Hampson, who will do battle with Tom Nicholls when the Tigers host Gold Coast (3-8) at the MCG tomorrow, says there might yet be room for both he and Maric in the same team.

"I don't see why it couldn't work - a lot of teams make it work. It's something I'd be keen to try, but it's up to the coaches," he said. "We get along really well, which always helps. We're both competitive guys. We both go out there to win."

Having only played one finals match, with Carlton in 2009, Hampson would relish being a part of another finals campaign, but the focus is on the Suns.

"At our best we think we can take it to anybody," he said. "(But) we're not thinking any further ahead than the Gold Coast game and what we've got to do to get the four points."

Few will be cheering on more than wife and one-time high-profile Carlton supporter Megan.

"She supports me where I go," Hampson said. "She's definitely Richmond through and through now."



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