AS one of the four new expansion sides coming in to the AFLW season, there is a lot of mystery and not a whole lot of certainty around the Hawks ahead of this season.
They have not had the hype surrounding them that many of the other expansion teams have had in the past few months, so can they use that to their advantage to fly under the radar?
From what they gave on the weekend in the practise match against Richmond, they certainly have some things to iron out before round 1, but once they fix those they have the talent and capability to make an impact on the competition.
Kaitlyn Ashmore, Janet Baird, Zoe Barbakos, 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, Tilly 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
Inactive: Zoe Barbakos (injury)
Round 1: @ Essendon | Marvel Stadium
Round 2: vs. St Kilda | Box Hill City Oval
Round 3: @ Richmond | Swinburne Centre
Round 4: vs. Western Bulldogs | Box Hill City Oval
Round 5: @ Sydney | Swinburne Centre
Round 6: vs. West Coast | Skybus Stadium
Round 7: vs. Port Adelaide | Skybus Stadium
Round 8: @ GWS | Henson Park
Round 9: vs. Brisbane | Skybus Stadium
Round 10: @ Fremantle | Fremantle Oval
POTENTIAL BEST 21:
B: Louise Stephenson – Akec Makur Chuot
HB: Jess Duffin – Mackenzie Eardley – Aileen Gilroy
C: Charlotte Baskaran – Tamara Smith – Kaitlyn Ashmore
HF: Bridie Hipwell – Sarah Perkins – Kate McCarthy
F: Sophie Locke – Tegan Cunningham
R: Tamara Luke – Jasmine Fleming – Tilly Lucas-Rodd
INT: Tahlia Fellows – Janet Baird – Bridget Deed – Catherine Brown – Ainslie Kemp
EMG: Jenna Richardson – Dominique Carbone – Lucy Wales
Remaining players: Laura Elliott, Emily Everist, Aine McDonagh (rookie), Isabel Porter, Eliza Shannon, Lucy Wales
Inactive: Zoe Barbakos
LEAGUE B&F CONTENDER: Kaitlyn Ashmore
The ever exciting Ashmore had a stellar campaign last year, so there is no reason to suggest this will not continue into season 7.
Ashmore has also had a fresh start coming across to the Hawks, and with such a young list around her, her role will be even more crucial this season.
BIG YEAR FOR: Tilly Lucas-Rodd
Lucas-Rodd is one of those players who finds herself in a very different situation in season 7 compared to season 6.
After having a stellar season at St Kilda which included making the All Australian squad but was never one of the real leaders of the club, she has come across to Hawthorn and is not only one of the most experienced faces in a new side but is the captain of it. Lucas-Rodd now has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders this season, so season 7 will be a true test of her full capabilities.
KEY TALKING POINTS:
How will they score?
If there was anything to take out of yesterday’s practise match against Richmond, it was that their ability to transition the ball into their forward 50 and score is currently sub par. It is messy and unreliable, and Richmond were far too easily able to turnover the ball and rebound.
Hawthorn certainly have the talent in their forwards to put a decent score on the board, but if they cannot get the ball to them then it does not matter how talented they are.
How will their ruck department work?
Hawthorn’s ruck department is a potentially intriguing proposition.
It appears that Cunningham is the first choice ruck at the moment, but this may be just to give Wales time to develop.
Regardless, how they work this dynamic and find the right balance will be interesting to watch this season.
Is youth the key to success?
One thing anyone looking at Hawthorn’s list will realise that their list is very young, with the vast majority of their list between the ages of 17 and 22.
Now normally the key to success is a mix between youth and experience, so it will be interesting to see if Hawthorn can buck the trend.
Regardless, if they can keep the majority of the team together for a while it bodes well for future success.
Can they match it with the other expansion sides?
Compared to some of the other expansion sides, Hawthorn did not quite land the star power that those other clubs managed to do, which may be the reason that there was not as much talk about them leading up into the season.
How that affects them and how they match it with the other expansion sides remains to be seen, but they do play all three new teams by the end of the season so we will know for certain then.