HAWTHORN young gun Josh Weddle has made a statement to start his second pre-season at Waverley Park, clearly winning the arduous Yo-Yo test on Monday.
The 19-year-old was the last man standing ahead of five players who finished equal second – Cam Mackenzie, Connor Macdonald, Bailey Macdonald, Sam Butler and Finn Maginness – and Josh Ward in third.
Weddle arrived at Hawthorn just over 12 months ago after the Hawks traded up on the opening night of the 2022 AFL Draft to select the versatile Victorian at pick No.18.
The Oakleigh Chargers product made an impressive start to his AFL career in 2023, playing the final 17 games of the season after making his debut against the Western Bulldogs in round seven.
Weddle was named Hawthorn's most promising player at this year's Peter Crimmins Medal after collecting a Rising Star nomination in his fourth game when he collected 28 disposals and kicked two goals against West Coast.
The defender turned heads last summer by training at a level of someone in their third or fourth season and has already shown on day one of this pre-season that he is going to raise the bar again between now and round one.
Hawthorn captain James Sicily reported back for pre-season training ahead of schedule on Monday, alongside vice-captain Dylan Moore, Blake Hardwick, James Worpel, Conor Nash and Harry Morrison.
Changkuoth Jiath also returned early but didn't complete the Yo-Yo test and will follow a modified program to start the pre-season following another injury plagued season for the rebounding defender.
Off-season signing Massimo D'Ambrosio started his new life in brown and gold after moving from Essendon on Deadline Day, with Mabior Chol, Jack Gunston and Jack Ginnivan also joining the Hawks.
Chol and Gunston are scheduled to start on November 27 when the rest of the main group returns, while Ginnivan has been granted an extra week off after playing in Collingwood's Grand Final win over Brisbane.
Former Carlton and St Kilda coach Brett Ratten was also on the track on Monday after returning to Hawthorn for a second stint in the football department, joining the club as head of coaching performance and development.