Hawthorn players in action during their first pre-season training session on November 13, 2023. Picture: Supplied

Ins and outs


Massimo D'Ambrosio (trade, Essendon), Mabior Chol (trade, Gold Coast), Calsher Dear (No.56 draft pick, father-son), Jack Ginnivan (trade, Collingwood), Jack Gunston (trade, Brisbane), Will McCabe (No.19 draft pick, father-son), Ethan Phillips (SSP, Box Hill VFL), Bodie Ryan (No.46 draft pick), Nick Watson (No.5 draft pick)


Lachie Bramble (delisted), Tyler Brockman (trade, West Coast), Fergus Greene (delisted), Emerson Jeka (delisted), Jacob Koschitzke (trade, Richmond), Ned Long (delisted), Max Lynch (retired), Josh Morris (delisted), Fionn O'Hara (delisted), Brandon Ryan (trade, Brisbane)

Medical room

Will Day has been ruled out of round one and might miss the first month of the season due to a stress fracture in his foot. Dylan Moore has been diagnosed with glandular fever, but could be right to start the year. James Blanck has been ruled out for 2024 after rupturing his ACL. Changkuoth Jiath is facing a delayed start to the season due to a hamstring injury. Seamus Mitchell is also sidelined with a fractured jaw.


Three burning questions

Will Blake Hardwick play in attack or down back?
Sam Mitchell may not even know the answer to that question yet. Hardwick is a proven star in defence but provides something different inside 50. He was drafted as a forward after dominating at TAC Cup level and has looked decent across the pre-season in a new-look forward line. Time will tell if stays forward or returns to defence.

How will Hawthorn cope in defence in 2024?
The Hawks tried to address this area last year with Ben McKay and Esava Ratugolea, but now have issues following the injury to James Blanck. Sam Frost will play, while Denver Grainger-Barras could get more opportunities at AFL level after being moved around last year.  

Can important pair stay on the park?
That is the great unknown with Mitch Lewis and Changkuoth Jiath. Neither have banked full seasons at AFL levels due to injuries. Jiath is sidelined again after completing most of the pre-season, with his durability unfortunately questionable again. If Lewis can play every game he could go from kicking 35 goals a season to 55+.

Changkuoth Jiath in action during Hawthorn's clash against Essendon in round one, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Track watch

Connor Macdonald has been a standout on the track over the summer and looks set for more midfield time in 2024. Cam Mackenzie and Josh Ward are poised for greater opportunity. Mabior Chol has starred in match sim after a slow start to the pre-season due to a PCL injury. Henry Hustwaite has made inroads over summer and will be in contention for a round one spot.

Fantasy lock

James Sicily (DEF, $943,000) has a high Fantasy ceiling. A favourite of a few coaches who enjoyed a big Fantasy finals series in 2022, Sicily picked up where he left off with 130 to open up the 2023 season. Another six scores of 120-plus followed for the year with top returns of 160 and 165 and those who had the defender taking plenty of marks were rewarded. He will be a must-have at some stage of the season.

Instant hit

Mabior Chol looks ready to make the most of his chance at a third club. The key forward will not only provide Mitch Lewis with support – and Ned Reeves in the ruck – he will also impact the scoreboard. If Thursday’s intra-club is a guide, the 2022 version of Chol might return in 2024. Nick Watson looks ready to step up at AFL level.

It's a big year for…

Injury creates opportunity. Denver Grainger-Barras has that opportunity now with James Blanck tearing his ACL on Thursday. The 2020 No. 6 pick has endured a tough start to his time in the AFL. Last year he was moved forward at Box Hill and showed a bit. But after playing in defence over the summer, the young key defender will be eyeing the vacant spot in Sam Mitchell’s side in a contract year.

Pass mark

Hawthorn won one fewer game last year than in 2022 but made progress. Finals might be beyond the club’s reach in 2024, but the Hawks need to continue to fast track the development of youth. 10 wins should be the aim this winter.

Denver Grainger-Barras celebrates a goal during round 23, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Best 23 for 2024

B: Blake Hardwick, Sam Frost, Josh Weddle
HB: Jarman Impey, James Sicily, Massimo D'Ambrosio
C: Karl Amon, James Worpel, Josh Ward
HF: Connor Macdonald, Mabior Chol, Dylan Moore
F: Luke Breust, Mitch Lewis, Nick Watson
Foll: Ned Reeves, Jai Newcombe, Will Day
I/C: Conor Nash, Jack Ginnivan, Cam Mackenzie, Jack Scrimshaw, Jack Gunston
Emerg: Henry Hustwaite, Finn Maginness, Seamus Mitchell, Changkuoth Jiath