Hawks eager to continue upward trajectory

HAWTHORN assistant coach Lou Wotton says her side is looking to build on the improvement from last year ahead of the upcoming AFLW season.

The Hawks won three matches last year, and announced themselves as a side to watch in the coming seasons with some noticeable growth by the time the fixture wrapped.

Wotton says the coaches could see a blueprint for success in the future.

“Last season was a big unknown,” she said.

“We were really pleased with our progress from the first game to the last round. We didn’t set any markers on how many games we wanted to win, but to win three with another two that were decided by less than a goal, we were really impressed with the development over the course of the season and the ability for the players to take on the gameplan and develop it as the season went on.”

Heading into a campaign with impending format changes, Wotton says the Hawks have taken full advantage of the longer break.

“It does feel a lot less hectic,” she said.

“We’ve had a lot more planning time. We obviously know majority of the players and how they operate, so I feel like from a coaching perspective, it’s a lot calmer, and I feel like we have had a lot more time to plan for it.”

In comparing this year’s preparations to last season, Wotton says the fact that the team now has a year under its belt means expectations have been raised, especially given the longer wait to hit the track once again.

When asked about standouts, Wotton claimed she knew a question of this sort was coming, especially considering its not her favourite to answer.

“I’m often a little reluctant to single people out,” she said with a laugh. “What has been really exciting has been our draftees from last year. It was great to see them complete a full-preseason this year after coming in late last year because the draft was a couple of weeks later.

“They were able to do our time trials this year and really impress. Seeing those girls that already have a season under their belt is really exciting, they’re putting in a lot of work over the offseason.

“Obviously having recruits such as Emily Bates has been great, she’s brought a really high standard to our pre-season. She’s setting the bar physically in running and the drills, and bringing a lot of the players with her.”

Bates was Hawthorn’s star recruit, taking her decorated career from Brisbane down south to the Hawks, where she has been impressing on the track.

“She will bring a lot of experience to the midfield,” Wotton said. “We obviously had Tilly Lucas-Rodd in the midfield last year with a couple of younger players, so I think it will help to have another experienced head who’s a phenomenal player in there.”

In comparison, fellow Brisbane recruit Greta Bodey has been impressing the coaches, but in other ways.

“Greta is really experienced and has been a part of the Brisbane system for a number of years,” Wotton said. “She goes about her football very differently to Emily.

“She’s probably her own harshest critic, as she expects very high standards of herself, which is great. As the forward line coach I’m excited for what she will bring in there. She’s obviously a very clever footballer so she will be a great guide to the younger players in the side.”

The Hawks picked up Box Hill VFLW gun Kristy Stratton with the 18th pick at the supplementary draft, and Wotton says the side is excited for what she can bring.

“She’s such a clever footballer,” she said. “Throughout her football journey, she’s been in the midfield and forward line. She’s very smart, she can read the ball really well.

“What’s really stood out has been her improved fitness. She was given feedback that it was an area that needed some work, and to her credit she’s worked really hard, and she’s been training really well. She now has the fitness to go with her football smarts.”

While the Hawks are looking to keep improving during the upcoming season, Wotton said expectations have not been addressed as of yet.

“We haven’t spoken about a pass mark,” she said. “(The) theme has been to better ourselves and set the bar higher. We had three wins last year, so we’d want more this year. We haven’t put a cap on it or thrown around the ‘F word’ (finals). Every team wants to win as much as possible, so we’ll aim to improve.”

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments