Brandon Ryan and Jack Gunston. Pictures: AFL Photos

JACK Gunston has been granted his return to Hawthorn, with the Hawks sending Brandon Ryan to Brisbane.

A three-time premiership player with the Hawks, Gunston returns after spending the 2023 season with the Lions.

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The Lions have sent a future second-rounder (tied to Brisbane) and picks 47 and 61 to the Hawks along with Gunston.

Ryan, a future fourth-rounder (tied to the Hawks) and picks 39 and 54 are heading to Brisbane.

"Gunners' is a high calibre person and player, and for him to walk back though our doors at Hawthorn is a terrific outcome," the Hawks' national list and recruiting manager Mark McKenzie said.

"Whilst still contributing strongly on the field, he'll also play an important role in helping foster the emerging talent on our list.

Jack Gunston celebrates a goal during the round two match between Hawthorn and Geelong on June 12, 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

"We know the sort of character 'Gunners' is – he drives elite standards and hold his teammates to account and is genuinely respected by all at the club."

Gunston was traded to Brisbane at the end of 2022 after a tough couple of season at the Hawks, playing just one game in 2021 through injury and returning to fitness in '22, before the sudden death of his father, former Essendon and AFL adminstrator Ray

Gunston started 2023 in the Brisbane side but struggled for form and was left out of the team, along with fellow veteran Daniel Rich, after a surprise loss to Hawthorn at the MCG in round 13. 

He returned to the side in round 17, booting six goals against West Coast, but suffered a knee injury in round 22 and missed the Lions' run to the Grand Final. 

Jack Gunston leaves the field during Brisbane's win over Adelaide in round 22, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Gunston, who turns 32 later this month, has played 242 games and booted 452 goals in 14 seasons with Adelaide, Hawthorn and Brisbane. 

Hawthorn plucked Ryan from VFL club Northern Bullants in this year's AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft. It capped a meteoric rise for the 25-year-old, who was one of the standout players across the opening rounds of the 2023 Smithy's VFL season.

He booted 18.10 in seven matches and caught the eye with his ability to haul in contested marks.

After five appearances for Box Hill, Ryan was elevated to the senior team and managed three games in the latter stages of the season.


Ryan, who is a towering 200cm forward, booted four goals including three in the Hawks' memorable win over eventual premier Collingwood.

"Brandon was a promising young player we identified as having real potential that could develop into a key forward in our football program," Lions list manager Dom Ambrogio said.

"We look forward to welcoming Brandon to the Brisbane Lions and are excited to see him benefit from a strong pre-season."