HAWTHORN is weighing up the prospect of handing exciting youngster Darcy Cassar an AFL lifeline after he was overlooked in last year's NAB AFL Draft.
In a path made famous by Richmond's Sydney Stack last year, Cassar is in a race in two to take the Hawks' final list spot in the pre-season supplemental period (SSP).
Clubs have until March to replace remaining list spots left over from the rookie draft or opened via a long-term injury should they not wish to hold a position for the Mid-Season Rookie Draft.
Cassar, 18, has been training with the Hawks since December and is jostling for the final berth alongside delisted Hawks forward Darren Minchington.
A medium defender with speed to take the game on, Cassar trained with Box Hill during December when the Hawks went on their pre-season camp to Queensland.
The Western Jets product was seen by many as the unluckiest player to be overlooked in last year's draft and averaged 16 disposals from three NAB AFL Under-18 Championships matches.
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A total of 15 players were selected in last year's SSP, including Stack, Shane Mumford (GWS) and Michael Gibbons (Carlton).
Stack burst onto the scene in 2019, playing 17 games in his first season and dazzling onlookers with his silky skills and high leaping. The 19-year-old was nominated for the Rising Star award and was named Richmond's best first-year player.
Two players – Jacob Townsend (Essendon) and Mitch Brown (Melbourne) – have been added to lists ahead of 2020 with eight other spots currently available should Richmond wish to formally retire Alex Rance.
Among them, Harley Bennell (Melbourne) and Lynden Dunn (Collingwood) are set to win berths, while Nicolas Reid, Brady Grey and Jarrod Pickett are in a race for one spot at West Coast.
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Essendon is set to welcome NT high-flyer Nigel Lockyer to its training squad following its pre-season camp in Coffs Harbour.
Cassar fitted in seamlessly as the Hawks trained for close to three hours at Waverley Park on Wednesday morning.
Dual All Australian Chad Wingard was part of a small unit that included Blake Hardwick, Jack Scrimshaw, Dylan Moore and Conor Glass who trained away from the main group.
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Gun midfielder Tom Mitchell was on limited duties and sat out match simulation but is set to return to more contact drills next week after missing all of 2019 with a broken leg.
Dual premiership ruckman Ben McEvoy looks set to continue his experiment as a key defender after playing the entire match practice at full-back.
McEvoy was trialled in the role at the end of 2019, and should it happen again it would leave the Hawks' ruck division to Jon Ceglar and Ned Reeves after Marc Pittonet was traded to Carlton.
Jon Patton and Mitch Lewis played in key forward posts, Lewis training with a blue cap to indicate no contact following post-season shoulder surgery.