Squad Breakdown: Hawthorn Hawks 2023 SC analysis

The SC Bandit takes an in-depth look at Hawthorn's SuperCoach credentials heading into the 2023 AFL season.

AFL Pre Season

Hawthorn has initiated a full-blown rebuild button under second-year coach Sam Mitchell, shipping Tom Mitchell off to Collingwood, Jaeger O’Meara to Fremantle and Jack Gunston to Brisbane in a trade period fire sale. Captain Ben McEvoy also called time on fine career in brown and gold.

The 2022 season was around the mark in terms of what many would have expected from the Hawks. They finished 13th with eight wins and impressive performances, namely a 12-point win over eventual premiers Geelong on Easter Monday and a 64-point thrashing of Port Adelaide. But there were some really poor losses as well, with ten goal drubbings at the hands of St Kilda, Gold Coast and Richmond.

In the wake of Mitchell, O’Meara and Gunston departing, the Hawks went to work in the draft and trade period to try and fill some gaps in their list. They addressed future needs by taking midfielder Cam McKenzie at pick 7 and traded up the order to get Josh Weddle at pick 18 in the draft. In terms of senior experience, winger Karl Amon signed as a free agent from Port Adelaide, ruckman Lloyd Meek was part of the O’Meara deal with Fremantle and young midfielder Cooper Stephens came across from Geelong.

What can we expect from Hawthorn in 2023? What we can say for sure is that they will throw the car keys to the next generation, whack the L plates on and say ‘go for it’. There will be opportunities for young and/or fringe players to take the next step in their quest to become established AFL footballers and more responsibility placed on those who have been on the list for a few years now.

This will likely result in more losses than wins in 2023, but it could open some doors for SuperCoach.

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(Not factoring injuries)

FB: Blake Hardwick, Sam Frost, James Sicily

HB: Jack Scrimshaw, Denver Grainger-Barras, Changkuoth Jiath

C: Will Day, James Worpel, Karl Amon

HF: Chad Wingard, Jacob Koschitzke, Harry Morrison

FF: Luke Breust, Mitch Lewis, Sam Butler

FOL: Lloyd Meek, Jai Newcombe, Dylan Moore

INT: Ned Reeves, Lachlan Bramble, Josh Ward, Connor Macdonald

EMG : Finn Maginness, Cooper Stephens, Cam McKenzie, Josh Weddle, Max Lynch, Fergus Greene

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List Changes


Karl Amon (free agent, Port Adelaide), Josh Bennetts (category B rookie), Fergus Greene (delisted free agent, Box Hill), Henry Hustwaite (No.37 draft pick), Bailey Macdonald (No.51 draft pick), Cam Mackenzie (No.7 draft pick), Lloyd Meek (trade, Fremantle), Jack O’Sullivan (No.46 draft pick), Cooper Stephens (trade, Geelong), Josh Weddle (No.18 draft pick)


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)

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Lock & Load

James Sicily (DEF, $624,700)

Sicily was the defensive pick of the season in 2022, peeling off ten SuperCoach tons in the first 11 rounds to launch his starting price of $448K up to a season high of $635K. He finished the season with 16 SC tons at an average of 113.5, six points off being the top-scoring defender for the year. No one expected that level of performance from a guy who was coming back from a knee reconstruction but it’s safe to say expectations are a lot higher this year, especially with the asking price attached. I’m confident that you will get what you pay for though – Sicily is a gun intercept defender who loves to use the ball by foot and the Hawks look to get the ball in his hands as often as possible. With the ball likely to be in Hawthorn’s defence a fair bit this season, you can lock Sicily in as a top six defender with confidence.

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Jai Newcombe (MID, $478,200)

The mid-price hype has mostly surrounded James Worpel over the pre-season, but this guy seems to have flown under the radar of most coaches. With Mitchell and O’Meara out of the picture, Newcombe is suddenly Hawthorn’s number one inside midfielder based on his 2022 season, which saw him finish second in the club’s best and fairest award. He ticks a lot of boxes for mine – he increased his SC average by over 40 points from 2021 to 2022, he’s got the perfect role to be a good SuperCoach scorer and he’s in a team where there won’t be many others taking points off him. The one knock I do have on Newcombe is consistency – his scoring was a bit up and down last year – so for that reason I think there might be some more appealing and cheaper options elsewhere. But if you play the SuperCoach Draft format I think he could be a great pick up.

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Josh Weddle (DEF, $130,800)

The fact that Hawthorn traded up last year’s draft order to secure this guy tells you everything you need to know. The talk coming out of Hawthorn is that he is a physical beast for his age, winning some of the internal time trials and despite playing his junior football as a defender has been training on a wing this pre-season. “He’s a really good size, it looks like he has been in the AFL for three or four years already,” said Hawthorn assistant coach Kade Simpson of Weddle. With comments like that, expect Weddle to be in the mix for an early debut.

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Lloyd Meek (RUC, $431,100)

Meek was sought out by Hawthorn as part of the O’Meara trade to cover the loss of Ben McEvoy and should be among their best 22. However, the Hawks are also developing young ruck Ned Reeves, who looks like he’ll be the long-term number one tall. With that in mind, Meek’s output may be limited by a two-ruck set up where he partners with Reeves or Max Lynch and if you’re looking for a mid-price ruck option I would look elsewhere.

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