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IT WAS little wonder Hawthorn recruiting manager Graham Wright enjoyed this year’s draft immensely.
He has spent the past few national drafts ticking off his list as a host of players he really liked found their way to rival clubs.
A combination of high ladder finishes and aggressive trading by other clubs – and the Hawks' own trading to fill needs – has made it that way.
The Hawks had two picks in the first round for the first time in 10 years and selected North Adelaide forward Ryan Burton and Tasmanian midfielder Kieran Lovell.
"I always look forward to the draft, but particularly this year,” he said. “We need to get younger and inject some talent into the club and I think we did that."
Burton didn't play at all this year because of a badly broken leg, but the Hawks couldn't ignore the chance to add another classy forward, TAC Cup leading goalkicker Blake Hardwick, who they took with their third pick.
Wright said the Hawks had enough key defensive options, allowing them to look forward of the ball this year, while in Lovell, he believed they had a ball magnet who can sit and learn from one of the best there has been for many years – Sam Mitchell.
Selection No.19 – Ryan Burton
"He started training with North Adelaide last week and was doing various physical activities, so he’s ready to step things up with us. We've watched him play and train regularly and (fitness coach) Andrew Russell has a terrific record with getting players right so we’ll trust him with Ryan." – Graham Wright
Selection No.22 – Kieran Lovell
"Averaged 34.5 touches in the (under-18 carnival) and at TAC Cup Level. He's only 174cm but when you watch him play, it doesn't seem to be an issue. He could play senior football next year." – Graham Wright
Selection No.44 – Blake Hardwick
"He kicked one bag of 12 and another of 10 this year. Can play as a traditional forward or a high half-forward, and we think he could play next year." – Graham Wright
Blake Hardwick topped the TAC Cup goalkicking as Eastern Ranges made the GF.