Ethan Phillips during the 2024 AAMI Community Series match between Hawthorn and Western Bulldogs. Picture: AFL Photos

MATURE-AGE recruit Ethan Phillips will make his debut for Hawthorn in Sunday's game against Yartapuulti, three months after being added to the rookie list at the end of the pre-season supplemental selection period.

The 24-year-old moved from Port Melbourne to Box Hill during the off-season and trained with Sam Mitchell's squad during the pre-season, before being signed late when James Blanck ruptured his ACL

Phillips re-established a long-standing VFL streak when he joined Hawthorn, extending a run of 17 consecutive recipients of the Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal, after the 2023 winner Sam Clohesy was recruited by Gold Coast, to join an AFL list.

After being on the cusp of senior selection across the past month, the key defender has finally landed his first chance at AFL level, with captain James Sicily ruled out for another week.

Phillips has recaptured his 2022 VFL form to start the year, averaging 17.8 disposals and 11.7 marks from six appearances for Box Hill, including three games of 15 marks or more.

Defender Changkuoth Jiath will play his first AFL game in more than a year this weekend after being picked on Thursday afternoon.


Jiath hasn't played since round nine last year due to a range of injuries, including calf and Achilles issues which restricted him to eight appearances in 2023 and led to a pre-season trip to a world-leading sports medicine practice in Doha, Qatar, in January

The 24-year-old suffered a moderate-grade hamstring strain in the Hawks' intraclub in February and then strained his quad ahead of his VFL return last month after being named to play. 

But after playing three quarters of game time for Box Hill on Sunday, where he collected 22 disposals and nine marks in an eye-catching display in Wonthaggi, Jiath has been given the green light to return. 

The Gippsland Power product will help cover the loss of Jack Scrimshaw, after the in-form defender accepted a one-game suspension for a dangerous tackle on Liam Stocker in the five-point win over Euro-Yroke last Saturday. 


Sicily missed the win over Euro-Yroke at University of Tasmania Stadium last Saturday after dislocating his shoulder and spraining his ankle against the Western Bulldogs in round eight. 

But after training with the main group on Thursday, Hawthorn has opted to give the All-Australian defender another week to strengthen his shoulder. 

Sicily is likely to require a shoulder reconstruction at the end of the season, but the club is hoping to get him through as much football as possible without multiple dislocations.