2023 AFLW Draft preview: Hawthorn

SECOND-YEAR club Hawthorn showed marked improvement throughout the 2023 season, and though the Hawks did end up finishing 14th with three wins, were able to take advantage of the club’s ties with Eastern Ranges. Hawthorn picked up three talented top-agers – including one of the best Victorian prospects – in an otherwise relatively quiet off-season with just the one trade completed to bring in a couple of experienced Dees.


In: Laura Stone, Jess Vukic, Hayley McLaughlin (pre-listed), Casey Sherriff, Eliza West, Pick 16
Out: Tamara Luke, Tegan Cunningham, Akec Makur Chuot, Catherine Brown (retired), Janet Baird, Zoe Barbakos, Sarah Perkins (delisted), Pick 5, Pick 26

Draft Selections: 16, 45, 65

Hawthorn’s hardest work came long before the AFLW Trade Period, having the option to sign on up to three pre-listed players. Early on, the Hawks nabbed Laura Stone who was among the top three Victorians in the pool and would have pushed for the number one overall spot, while also selecting ruck/forward Jess Vukic.

Hawthorn then opted for winger Hayley McLaughlin given the brown and gold had four retirees and delisted a further three players. The Hawks gave up Pick 5 – receiving 16 back – in a deal for Casey Sherriff and Eliza West, which also saw the club lose Pick 26.


Hawthorn moved back in the draft order to go from the third Victorian pick down to Pick 16 – the 12th pick in the pool – but should still be able to scoop up a top-end talent. The Hawks will have to wait and see what is left on the board from the early moves, with potentially Tasmanian tall forward Georgia Clark one of the best available.

She is a contested marking specialist, and would fill the void left by fellow marking talents Cunningham and Perkins in the front half of the ground. An interesting slider could be that of the Dandenong Stingrays’ Mikayla Williamson, who though is predicted to go earlier, is one the brown and gold will keep a close eye on.

Lions Academy forward/wing Evie Long is another potential, though expect Brisbane to match that, while Sarah Grunden could be a silky half-forward option with potential to play midfield in the future.

If looking at pure midfielders, then Vic Metro MVP and Calder Cannons midfielder Kayley Kavanagh could join her Metro best and fairest winner in Stone at the club, with Chloe Adams another highly rated talent with upside.


Hawthorn’s second selection will likely be the club’s last, with the Hawks to look over what’s left by the time it rolls around. They might look to pair up Vukic with her best mate Jacinta Hose, as the Eastern Ranges ruck has plenty of upside, but will be recovering from a second anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

Other Eastern Ranges in the mix could include Georgia Stubs – an explosive mid/defender – and skipper Ava Campbell who both received AFLW Draft Combine invitations. Dandenong Stingrays key forward Sophie Butterworth would be another in the mix for the Hawks’ second selection, with Dandenong Stingrays’ defender Jemma Ramsdale and athletic Northern Territory talent and utility Annabel Kievit another out-of-the-box selection that could be a great fit.


Hawthorn might have lost a prime pick in the fifth selection, but essentially the Hawks already nabbed a top five talent in Stone, as well as filled some youth needs by pre-listing players. Now the Hawks will likely add two more fresh faces to the mix, in what will be a strong off-season for the club, as it continues to build towards its third season.

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