Leagues: WAFL Colts, WAFL League, AFL U18 Championships
SNAPSHOT: “An explosive and hard-nosed midfielder, Hewett’s blend of athletic power and silky skills have led him to be one of the leading midfielders in this year’s draft crop.”
Off the back of a massive 2021, winning flags at WAFL Colts and PSA level, Hewett came into 2022 as one of the leading draft prospects. Hewett’s only games at Under 18 level this year came for his state in the National Championships. Locally, he established himself as a regular fixture in the Swan Districts League team in the WAFL.
Playing a blend of midfield and forward, Hewett showed a lot of versatility, but struggled to set the world alight at the senior level. Averaging 13.6 disposals in the top flight and a goal every other game, Hewett put up some admirable performances from a junior playing against men.
His state series came with a mixed bag of results for a struggling WA outfit, though Hewett led from the front in game one with 29 disposals and two goals. He didn’t manage to replicate those feats in his next three games, but his last two appearances came with an average of 19.5 disposals as WA began to change up its midfield structure in search of a win.
He finished the season strongly at League level, averaging 16 disposals and slotting a goal in each of his last four appearances. He backed his on-field feats up with an impressive National Combine where he found himself in the top five for the agility testing.
+ Contested game
+ Speed-endurance mix
Hewett showed flashes of his enormous potential in 2022, but struggled to find consistency in playing his best footy at a senior level. Across many draft boards, he has become somewhat of a slider this season, though it must be remembered that he played the most top level senior footy of the high-end draft prospects in this year’s crop.
He only found himself out of Swan Districts' League side on one occasion where he managed 31 disposals, six tackles and a goal at Reserves level. It is said he suffered from post-COVID complications, with temporary asthmatic symptoms stunting his endurance and form early in the season.
His work as an inside midfielder is by far his best, using his explosive strength and agility to get the hard balls and break away from opponents. His time on the ball is spent looking to impact the scoreboard rather than maintain possession, likening himself to Christian Petracca and Dustin Martin for his power and ability to push forward. This desire to move the ball forward at pace has led to some inconsistencies with his kicking, though too it has led to many scoring opportunities.
His potential was displayed to perfection against Vic Metro in WA’s opening fixture of the National Championships. Hewett racked up 29 disposals, five clearances and two goals as one of few shining lights for his side in a tough loss. In what was his first game at Under 18 level in 2022, Hewett’s contested game and desire to get forward saw him recognised as one of the best on ground against a star studded Vic Metro outfit.
His work rate to get the ball in his defensive half of the ground, and run hard to become an option further up the ground was paramount to his performance and saw him bag his first major, receiving a handball to run onto goal and convert from 40 out.
With the ability to kick off either boot and being a strong tackler capable of taking down bigger opponents, Hewett has shown all the traits this season of the prototype mid forward player that can flip a game on its head. If he does manage to slide out of the top 10 due to inconsistencies across his performances this season, he will likely be considered a bargain pick in years to come.
DRAFT RANGE: First Round
While he may have fallen just short of fulfilling his enormous bottom-age potential in 2022, Hewett remains one of the top West Australian talents and is a good chance to be taken within the first round of this year’s draft. There remains space to add polish, but the 18-year-old offers a terrific speed-endurance blend and a powerful style which clubs will love. His best is game winning and he has played plenty of senior footy, which are important boxes to tick.
AFL U18 Championships