2023 AFL Draft Preview: Hawthorn

WITH season proper and trade period done and dusted, AFL fans and staff alike now turn their attention towards the draft (November 20-21). The chaos has momentarily settled on player and pick swaps, and budding prospects have completed their combines, leaving a nervous wait until they learn their fate.

In the next of our club-by-club draft previews, we take a look at Hawthorn’s hand and offer insight into how the Hawks may utilise the picks at their possession. Despite finishing 16th, there were plenty of promising signs from Sam Mitchell‘s side in 2023, and a pair of father-sons to look forward to.

LADDER FINISH: 16th (7-16, 80.2%)
2023 PICKS: 4, 44, 47, 49, 62, 63, 83
CLUB-TIED PLAYERS: Will McCabe, Calsher Dear (both father-son), Tew Jiath (NGA)


Entering the draft at pick four, Hawthorn’s first selection hinges greatly on who North Melbourne snaps up after Harley Reid makes the seemingly inevitable move to West Coast. The Roos hold picks two and three, likely to be pushed back after bidding on Suns Academy ace, Jed Walter.

The options for Hawthorn look to be narrowed down to three or four names, dictated by whichever ones fall to them. Zane Duursma is a player who the Hawks have shown great interest in, though North is firming to take the dynamic forward with one of their two picks.

The Roos’ other selection will come down to either West Australian utility Daniel Curtin or Tasmanian midfielder Colby McKercher. Hawthorn could move for either player, with Curtin theoretically filling a key defensive void, but McKercher perhaps less favoured given Hawthorn’s recently drafted midfielders.

If not Duursma, Curtin or McKercher, a name heavily linked with the Hawks is electric small forward Nick Watson. He, along with Jack Ginnivan would add serious spark at ground level inside 50, and impressed during his time training with the club as part of his AFL Academy commitments.

A couple of outsiders who would perhaps be a touch early at pick four are powerful marking forward Nate Caddy and mobile key defender Connor O’Sullivan. Again, the latter would provide ample depth in the tall back department, and the former is a long term attacking piece to support recruits Jack Gunston and Mabior Chol.

Hawks father-son prospect Calsher Dear rises for a mark | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central


Expected to make three selections at the draft, the remainder of Hawthorn’s intake shapes as being relatively straightforward. A bid for father-son prospect Will McCabe looks like coming just within the first 15 picks, perhaps from Adelaide or North Melbourne.

That is where the majority of Hawthorn’s late selections will be eliminated, though the club will hope to have enough points left for a possible late bid on another club-tied talent in Calsher Dear. The son of Paul has rocketed into National Draft contention after a strong back-end of the year.

McCabe, an extremely athletic 197cm defender, has long been in the frame as a top 20 talent. His impending arrival may alter whether Hawthorn selects Curtin with pick four, given they play similar positions. The best case scenario for Dear, whose top-age campaign was capped off by a Talent League premiership, is that he slides through to Hawthorn’s last pick.

The Hawks have a Next Generation Academy member who has bolted up the order of late in Tew Jiath. The brother of current Hawk, Changkuoth is a rangy rebound defender with enormous upside. He is unlikely to end up in brown and gold though, given Hawthorn will only have access after pick 40.

Another bit of business Hawthorn will have to attend to is rookie listing Chad Wingard and Cooper Stephens, who were recently delisted. The former has reportedly courted interest from elsewhere, but will prefer to remain a Hawk as he gets back to full health in 2024.


– Which players will fall to Hawthorn’s pick four?
– Where will bids come in for Hawthorn’s father-son pair?
– Will Hawthorn be able to safely rookie list Chad Wingard?

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