AFLW Season 7 Glass Half Full/Empty: Hawthorn
IN a new approach to the AFL Women’s end of season reviews, Rookie Me Central casts both a glass half full and half empty lens over each side’s campaigns.
Next under the microscope is Hawthorn, who had a better debut season than many people expected.
GLASS HALF FULL
Much like Scott Gowans at the Swans, the Hawks scored a win even before they took to the field by confirming Bec Goddard as their inaugural coach.
She is a master coach, and has the right experience to propel this group forward.
Her coaching saw the side win three on the trot, which is much better than many expected, and is a great foundation heading into 2023 and beyond.
Exciting young yalent
The bedrock of Hawthorn’s side this year and moving forward is its young stars.
The likes of Jasmine Fleming, Sophie Locke, Lucy Wales and Tahlia Fellows all had stellar seasons, and are all 22 and under, so have quite a long way to go. Teenagers Charlotte Baskaran and Mackenzie Eardley joined Fleming as justifying their early selections in the 2022 AFL Women’s Draft.
Number #1 Victorian pick
Although they may have only finished 15th, three non-Victorian teams finished below them which means they get that prized number one Victorian pick, which is arguably more valuable than the first selection overall.
Although they have to select a mature-age footballer, they get first look at the pool before nine other clubs, which is very handy in a restricted group.
Goddard’s mature-age draft knowledge
Speaking of the draft, Goddard’s draft knowledge is going to come in extra handy this year, but is always a valuable tool.
Having spent several years coaching the Hawks in the VFLW, Goddard has coached and coached against much of the talent that will be vying for that coveted number one pick, so she has an advantage because she knows these players and how they might fit into the current Hawthorn team.
GLASS HALF EMPTY
Experienced players unavailable
As much as the likes of Fleming, Locke, Aine McDonagh and the rest of Hawthorn’s younger brigade performed well this season, the same cannot be said for all of Hawthorn’s more experienced campaigners.
Retirement of Jess Duffin
The Hawks lose a lot of experience heading into next season, after AFLW stalwart Jess Duffin retired. One of the most versatile players on Hawthorn’s list, she could play both forward and back and will be a huge loss for the Hawks in the coming seasons.
Softish draw masking final ladder position
One thing that Hawthorn did benefit from this year was a softish draw, which perhaps masked where they are really at. They played, and beat, every team that ultimately finished below them on the ladder, but only played three of the teams that would go on to play finals this season.
If the luck of the fixture had ended up differently, perhaps things would have been different for the Hawks this season.
Third most points conceded
One serious issue that the Hawks will need to address in the off season is their defence. They conceded the third highest number of points this season, so that is something Goddard and her coaching staff are going to have to look at closely. The retirement of Duffin is certainly not going to help their cause either, losing a key cog that can play in that defence.
While a lot went right for Hawthorn in their debut season, it was not all perfect so the Hawks still have plenty to work on ahead of next season. With another preseason under their belts, and hopefully an aggressive off-season from Goddard and her team to bring in the best possible talent, expect a bright future for the brown and gold.