ONE of two new expansion sides in the Victorian pool, Hawthorn took a different approach to Essendon’s list building process ahead of Season 7. While the Bombers stacked the list with readymade talent and some serious best-available stars, the Hawks went about assembling a side that Bec Goddard can play within the structures and game plan, with a high focus on the AFLW Draft. Knowing there was plenty of top-end talent there in the Victorian pool, the Hawks took advantage of that, with four Top 10 picks, and then some later first round selections to add some height to the squad.
#2 Jasmine Fleming (Oakleigh Chargers)
#6 Mackenzie Eardley (Dandenong Stingrays)
#9 Charlotte Baskaran (Western Jets)
#10 Bridie Hipwell (Sandringham Dragons)
#22 Lucy Wales (Casey Demons VFLW)
#25 Emily Everist (Bendigo Pioneers)
#26 Laura Elliott (Western Jets)
Best available and defensive depth. Hawthorn had the luxury of seven picks in the 2022 AFLW Draft, and were able to pick the best available talent that would stack up the midfield and key position stocks, before honing in on height and defensive talent, with a VFLW ruck, and some natural rebounding defenders. Fleming was the best midfielder available in the Victorian pool, and Eardley was the best key position player available in the pool, and with Baskaran, the trio are natural leaders who will build a strong culture at the Hawks. Hipwell is similarly a player who has been highly regarded throughout talent programs, while Everist and Elliott can be the rebounding types, and Wales that readymade ruck option.
WHERE THEY FIT:
A lot of the selections – particularly the first four – should slot straight into the Round 1 team. Fleming is an obvious one, and could play off a half-forward flank while building midfield minutes for the brown and gold. Eardley can play up either end, and is too skilful and too good in the air not to play, whilst Baskaran and Hipwell will likely also start forward and then roll into the midfield. Baskaran could also be suited to half-back as she did in her first season at NAB League, or along a wing as well.
Wales will be that late developing ruck option who can step up to assist Tamara Luke, and has already cut her teeth at VFLW level for the Casey Demons. Elliott was one of the premier rebounding defenders in the NAB League for the Western Jets, with her intercept marking and composure among her strengths. She will still look to iron out a few things and continue to build, likely to crack in at some point for the expansion side, while Everist is one who was touted as a long-term talent and late-comer to the Bendigo Pioneers, and has come along in leaps and bounds, but can afford to be developed further.
Hawthorn had an incredible 2022 AFLW Draft hand and made the most of it with some fantastic top-end picks who can slot straight into the best 21 next season. The Hawks also beefed up their tall stocks and long-term development players, to continue building a side that Goddard can play and look to win another flag.