Season 7 Expansion Side list analysis: Hawthorn

SEASON 7 of the AFLW is not too far away, and season seven will see four new teams come into the competition to finally see the AFLW have all 18 teams.

We are going to take a deep dive into each of the new clubs’ inaugural lists and see how they might stack up in their inaugural season.

Today it is Hawthorn under the microscope.

Please note that these calculations have all been done with several players included across multiple positions, and does include rookie Aine McDonagh but not Zoe Barbakos, who will miss Season 7 due to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

List make-up by position

Unlike Essendon and Port Adelaide, Hawthorn’s list is more defensive heavy, with 11 defenders on Hawthorn’s inaugural list. This compares to three potential ruck options (which does include Tamara Luke and Tegan Cunningham), nine midfield options (which does include Kaitlyn Ashmore) and eight forward options (which does include Kaitlyn Ashmore, Tamara Luke and Tegan Cunningham).

Defenders – plenty in number, but an even spread of acquisition sources

When it comes to Hawthorn’s defenders, there is an interesting mix of both age and experience amongst this particularly large group.

It is on average roughly the third youngest positional group on the list (but only just) but is the least experienced.

The most experienced of the group is Louise Stephenson, who has been around women’s footy a long time so no doubt will take a leadership role in the group, supported by the equally as experienced Jess Duffin.  

One thing to note about the defenders is the even split of where they have all come from. Three have come straight out of the NAB League, while four came from other AFLW clubs and four came from Hawthorn’s VFLW list.

Midfielders – experience concentrated in so few

When it comes to Hawthorn’s midfield, the group’s AFLW experience is concentrated in very few players.

Although on average it is the most experienced part of Hawthorn’s list, only three of the nine midfielders have any AFLW experience – Kaitlyn Ashmore, Tilly Lucas-Rodd and Kate McCarthy.

With this in mind, many would expect that trio to take a leading role in the midfield this season, leading what is overwise a pretty young midfield ranging in ages from 17 to 24.

Rucks – an intriguing proposition

The most intriguing part of Hawthorn’s list is arguably their ruck department.

The only full time ruck they have on their list is draftee Lucy Wales, who is only 19. They do have both Tamara Luke and Tegan Cunningham as potential ruck options, so they can chip in to help Wales but they are predominately forwards.

The other interesting thing to note about Cunningham is that although she has vastly more AFLW experience then either Luke or Wales, none of it was as a ruck. She spent all her time at Melbourne as a forward.

Expect Wales to take the majority of the ruck duties because Luke and Cunningham will be more needed in the forward line, with the latter pair to chip in to give Wales a break, but it will be interesting to see what they decide to do.

Forwards – Tall

The thing that stands out the most about Hawthorn’s forward line is that it is very tall. They do have some smaller options in Kaitlyn Ashmore and Janet Baird, but for the most part the average height is at the taller end of the scale.

Much like the midfielders, most of the AFLW experience of Hawthorn’s forwards is concentrated in three players – Ashmore, Tegan Cunningham and Sarah Perkins.

It will be interesting to see how the Hawks structure their forward line, but it will not be surprising if they initially structure it around Cunningham and Perkins (and maybe Tamara Luke), just at least until some of the other tall targets develop and gain experience at AFLW level.

The real unknown

The real unknown in all of this is new Irish recruit Aine McDonagh, who really cannot be put into any of the above categories yet. It will be interesting to see where they end up putting her, but she is a midfielder back home for Galway, so that may impact where she ends up playing.


Kaitlyn Ashmore, Janet Baird, Charlotte Baskaran, Catherine Brown, Dominique Carbone, Tegan Cunningham, Bridget Deed, Jess Duffin, Mackenzie Eardley, Laura Elliott, Emily Everist, Tahlia Fellows, Jasmine Fleming, Aileen Gilroy, Bridie Hipwell, Ainslie Kemp, Sophie Locke, Matilda Lucas-Rodd, Tamara Luke, Akec Makur Chuot, Kate McCarthy, Aine McDonagh, Sarah Perkins, Isabel Porter, Jenna Richardson, Eliza Shannon, Tamara Smith, Louise Stephenson, Lucy Wales


Zoe Barbakos

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