hawthorn AFL

Hawthorn Hawks Season Predictions

Ins: Karl Amon (Free Agent, Port Adelaide), Josh Bennetts (Category B Rookie), Fergus Greene (Delisted Free Agent, Box Hill), Henry Hustwaite (NAB Draft, Pick 37), Bailey Macdonald (NAB Draft, Pick 51), Cam Mackenzie (NAB Draft, Pick 7), Lloyd Meek (Trade, Fremantle), Jack O’Sullivan (NAB Draft, Pick 46), Cooper Stephens (Trade, Geelong), Josh Weddle (NAB Draft, Pick 18)

Outs: Jackson Callow (Delisted), Connor Downie (Delisted), Jack Gunston (Trade, Brisbane), Kyle Hartigan (Delisted), Daniel Howe (Delisted), Ben McEvoy (Retired), Tom Mitchell (Trade, Collingwood), Jaeger O’Meara (Trade, Fremantle), Tom Phillips (Delisted), Jack Saunders (Delisted), Liam Shiels (Retired)

Draw: Based on the new weighted draw brought in for the 2023 season, Hawthorn statistically have the 6th easiest draw. The Hawks will face Fremantle, GWS, Melbourne, North Melbourne, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs twice throughout the season.

Forwards:  Luke Breust, Tyler Brockman, Sam Butler, Fergus Greene, Jacob Koschitzke, Mitch Lewis, Connor Macdonald, Dylan Moore, Jack O’Sullivan*, Max Ramsden*, Jai Serong, Chad Wingard

Midfielders: Karl Amon, Josh Bennetts*, Henry Hustwaite, Ned Long, Cameron McKenzie, Finn Maginness, Harry Morrison, Connor Nash, Jai Newcombe, Cooper Stephens, Josh Ward, James Worpel

Rucks: Max Lynch, Lloyd Meek, Ned Reeves

Defenders: James Blanck, Lachie Bramble, Will Day, Sam Frost, Denver Grainger-Barras, Blake Hardwick, Jarman Impey, Emerson Jeka, Changkuoth Jiath, Bailey McDonald, Seamus Mitchell*, Josh Morris, Fionn O’Hara*, Jack Scrimshaw, James Sicily, Josh Weddle

* Indicates rookie/long-term injury listed player

Ones to watch: James Worpel should regain a consistent spot in the Hawks side after an indifferent year in 2022. With such a young side, the Hawks will be looking to him to be a bigger body around the midfield with Jai Newcombe. Wil Day also looks to play a role throughout the midfield this year. With the cleanout of many senior players at the end of 2022, opportunities are up for grabs so expect several debutants come round 1.

Strengths: Unfortunately for the Hawks, there aren’t a lot of strengths with their 2023 side. Their midfield, whilst lacking the star power of other sides, thrive on the contested ball. Their defence is led by All Australian and new captain James Sicily, whilst the likes of Jiath and Hardwick both provide the ability to attack and drive from their half back line. Lloyd Meek will provide another excellent Ruck option for the Hawks, being squeezed out of the Dockers side with the inclusion of Luke Jackson.

Weaknesses: With the Hawks committing to a full rebuild, they traded away many experienced names to move up the draft order this year and next. They will miss Mitch Lewis for the first part of the season and it’s hard to see them kicking a winning score without him. Their midfield lost plenty of class and experience with the losses of Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara. Often, it would be these two players that would be the contested ball winners and get the ball to their younger players to distribute by foot. Their average age is 23 years old across their list, the youngest in the AFL. As with all young teams, expect plenty of inconsistency as they adapt to football at the highest level.

General thoughts: It’s going to be a tough year for the Hawks, with some short-term pain for hopefully some long-term gain. The Hawks will be looking for continued development from some of their second-year players such as Josh Ward and Conor McDonald as they will spend more time through the midfield.

Coach Pressure Gauge – 2/10. The Hawks board backed Sam Mitchell and the idea of a rebuild. However, like other clubs that are rebuilding, the board will want to see continued progress on field and minimise large losing margins as much as possible. Mitchell has shown the ability to coach at a high standard since beginning the head coach role, there should be no reason barring disastrous results to why any pressure comes to him this year. Rebuilds traditionally aren’t usually kind to coaches, but the Hawks look set to back Mitchell in for the long haul.

Breakout year: Lloyd Meek, Josh Ward

B&F Winner: Jai Newcombe

Fantasy relevant:

James Sicily – $854,000 – Def

James Worpel – $463,000 – Mid

Cam McKenzie – $288,000 – Mid

Josh Weddle $266,000 – Def

Finishing spot prediction: 18th

Brody is the founder and head of content at Straya Sports. A self-confessed sporting tragic, Brody has covered (and played) nearly every sport imaginable on a variety of different media platforms.

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