Squad Breakdown: Hawthorn Hawks SC roster analysis

We take an in-depth look at the Hawthorn Hawks SuperCoach credentials heading into the 2022 AFL season.

AFL Pre Season Squad Breakdown

Hawthorn will be hoping for a fast-tracked resurgence under new coach Sam Mitchell in 2022, who takes the reins following the departure of perhaps the greatest coach of the modern era in Alistair Clarkson.

To describe the Hawks last year in one word – messy. The way the coaching handover was dealt with was confusing for coaches, players and fans alike it seemed.

The Hawks had three wins and two draws in their last six games of the season, including the big scalps of Brisbane and the Western Bulldogs.

There’s hope of a quick rebound, but how much of that late run was a part of Clarko’s revenge tour? However, Sam Mitchell has a clean slate heading into the new season and all clubs start 0-0.

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The Hawks struggled for consistency in their best 22 last year due to form and injuries, but it seems as though the reinforcements will arrive in time for Round 1.

Superstars James Sicily (ACL) and Jack Gunston (back) have been progressing well and look like certain starters for Round 1, but the news isn’t so good for promising youngster Will Day.

Day’s 2021 campaign was plagued by injury and it appears as though he isn’t totally over his ankle issues just yet.

Mitchell revealed earlier this week that Day was “more unlikely than likely” to be fit enough for the season opener against North Melbourne.

Chad Wingard has a minor ankle injury but is expected to be fit for all the scheduled practice matches coming up.

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The Hawks made some pretty big off-season moves, opting to move on a number of older fringe players to try to fast-track the rebuild.

The legendary Shaun Burgoyne retired, Jonathon Ceglar was traded to Geelong, Tim O’Brien joined the Western Bulldogs via free agency and Jonathon Patton and Tom Scully retired earlier in 2021. Amongst the delistings were Oliver Hanrahan, Damon Greaves and James Cousins.

Max Lynch joins the club from Collingwood seeking more senior opportunities, but it is the bumper draft crop which has Hawthorn fans excited on the eve of the new season.

Josh Ward, Connor MacDonald and Sam Butler headline six new draftees for the Hawks.


FB: B. Hardwick, K. Hartigan, J. Sicily

HB: J. Scrimshaw, S. Frost, J. Impey

C: T. Phillips, T. Mitchell, C. Jiath
HF: D. Moore, J. Koschitzke, C. Wingard
FF: L. Breust, M. Lewis, J. Gunston
R: B. McEvoy, J. O’Meara, J. Worpel

I/C: C. Nash, L. Shiels, J. Ward, N. Reeves

EMG: H. Morrison, L. Bramble, D. Howe, T. Brockman (Note: Day left out due to injury).

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A discounted price following an ACL injury makes James Sicily ($448,100 | DEF) an enticing option in 2022.

In 2020 he averaged 102.9 which ranked sixth best amongst defenders, and in 2018 he posted tons in eight out of 14 games for an average of 105.1.

His scoring has notoriously been pretty volatile and there is always the risk of him being thrown forward, but the word out of Hawthorn at the moment is that he will begin the season in that roaming, intercept role off half back which equates to bulk SuperCoach points.

Tom Mitchell ($638,100|MID) is a Brownlow Medallist and absolute ball magnet. Four seasons of an average 113.5+ and he came home like a freight train last year, posting eleven consecutive tons at an average of 128.6 to finish the year.

I won’t knock the pick because he’s a terrific SuperCoach option, but I do have a minor query over the new coach factor. Does Sam Mitchell spin the magnets a bit?

I suspect he will still play most of his time in the midfield, but there’s enough doubt in my mind to prioritise other premium options to begin with, at least until we get a clearer sense of his role in 2022.

Chad Wingard ($501,500|MID/FWD) may tempt coaches given the lack of forward premium options, but he is always a wait and see for mine.

Four out of his five matches to end 2021 were tons, a product of more midfield time.

Personally, I love when he roams throughout the midfield because he has that extra yard of pace that Hawthorn’s other midfielders don’t have, but the reality is that he is also a very damaging forward.

Guys like Ben McEvoy, Jaeger O’Meara, Jack Gunston and Dylan Moore might be good SuperCoach Draft options but avoid them in the classic format.

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Bargain buys

Josh Ward ($180,300|MID), taken at pick 7 in the 2021 National Draft, looks like he might be first in line for a debut of the new draftees.

He is a hard-working midfielder who turned eyes during the 2km time trials over pre-season, is clean with ball in hand and is a great decision-maker.

In four out of his five NAB League games for the Northern Knights he scored 124+ and given his elite endurance, an average north of 70 is not out of the question should he get an opportunity early in the season.

Connor MacDonald ($117,300|MID) is another youngster who has shone throughout the preseason and is in the frame for an early season debut.

MacDonald’s “neat foot skills, pace and poise around the contest” might just add another dynamic edge to an otherwise pretty one-dimensional Hawthorn midfield.

Finn Maginness’ ($143,700|MID) name has been thrown around this pre-season, partly due to the high wraps coming from Tom Mitchell who has tipped Finn to have a breakout year.

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The issue with Maginness in the past has been that he is too similar of a midfielder to Mitchell, O’Meara and James Worpel, plus guys like Cousins and Daniel Howe have usually been ahead in the pecking order.

Keep a watch on him over the pre-season games. He’s been in the system a couple of years now and it’s a massive year for him contract wise too.

Sam Butler ($117,300|MID/FWD) will probably have to complete a Box Hill apprenticeship before getting his chance in the senior side. Perhaps a mid-season downgrade option?

Hawthorn rookies are a watch all season, given the Hawks in theory embark on a fully blown youth focussed rebuild.

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Steer clear of Hawthorn’s half back brigade. There’s a serious logjam back there – Jack Scrimshaw, Changkouth Jiath, Jarman Impey, Blake Hardwick, Will Day and Lachlan Bramble all play some of their best footy in defence.

At the time of writing, all these guys have under 3% ownership bar Will Day, so I’ll talk about him in detail.

Day ($345,700|DEF) is one of Hawthorn’s brightest talents and the sky is the limit for him.

Two scores of 122 and 112 in five games last season highlight the ceiling SuperCoach wise for Day and if he can overcome persistent ankle injuries which plagued his 2021 campaign, he could be one of the best mid-price options in defence this year.

One concern with Day is his role, however. Day can play the interceptor role or the run and carry role off half-back, but a move into the midfield is a possibility in 2022.

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Day has the most upside of the names listed above, and he has mentioned how eventually he would love to become a midfielder. Where a fully fit Day plays remains a question, but there is no doubt that he will score well in any position given Hawthorn’s desire to get the ball in his hands as much as possible.

The fact he hasn’t had a great pre-season and is unlikely for Round 1 means I don’t think he is worth starting anymore, however.

Big Max Lynch ($207,700|RUC) traded black and white stripes for the brown and gold in the off-season, but it seems as though Ned Reeves will get first crack at partnering skipper Ben McEvoy in the ruck.

Given Lynch is priced at just $207,700, some coaches may have been tempted to pair him with Braydon Preuss or a rookie ruck like Charlie Comben or Jack Hayes, but at this point in time it looks as though he will have to earn his spot in the senior team via Box Hill.

Pass for now, but keep an eye on him if he breaks in.

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