Question after Hawks ‘aggressive’ list cull
HAWTHORN fully committed to a rebuild in the trade period, sending veterans Tom Mitchell, Jaeger O’Meara and Jack Gunston to rival clubs.
With the club also losing Ben McEvoy and Liam Shiels to retirement, Sam Mitchell is set to take charge of a new-look team in his second season in charge.
While some clubs are looking to trade for and retain older players, AFL Media’s Cal Twomey said the Hawks have taken a different approach as they opted to cut their list deep after failing to do so last off-season.
“Those decisions at the Hawthorn Football Club have been very different,” Twomey said on SEN’s Sportsday.
“We saw that throughout the trade period, Ben McEvoy retires, Jaeger O’Meara and Tom Mitchell depart and Jack Gunston leaves for the Brisbane Lions.
“Now I’m not sure if the plan originally would have been to lose all of that experience in one hit.
“I think they would have liked to have separate those losses across the years, they moved late last year but other clubs didn’t have enough cap space to make some of those decisions – but now they’ve done that.”
While the Hawks made the call to shake up their list, Twomey believes they were beginning to trend in an upwards direction last season as several young players began to make names for themselves.
“I think their progress in 2022 was strong,” Twomey said.
“Eight wins, one more than the year before, they played a different style and we saw some young players take responsibility in that line-up.
“Dylan Moore was one of those examples… Will Day had his injuries but everyone is aware of what he can do, Finn Maginness they found a role for… Josh Ward and Connor MacDonald in their first years were exciting.
“They’ve got a young key position we’re starting to see bits of in Denver Grainger-Barrass.
“Mitch Lewis, I spoke to him earlier in the season when he was starting to pop as a key forward… he was embracing the game style.
“All those things started to add up.”
After winning eight games in 2022, Twomey can’t see the Hawks reaching that mark again given the wealth of experience they’ll be without.
Despite this, he doesn’t feel that’s a negative in the long-term as the Hawks look to reboot for future finals success.
“But they made some aggressive list calls,” Twomey said.
“They’re going to be a fascinating watch for me at the back end of the ladder.
“But what’s a good year for them? I don’t think they’re hitting eight wins next year, but is that necessarily a bad thing? I don’t think so.”
Hawthorn finished 13th in Mitchell’s first year at the helm, ending 2022 with an 8-14, win-loss record.
– BY LACHLAN GELEIT/ SEN