Written by Rhys Knight | Image of Finn Callaghan via AFL Photos
Once a month here at Talking Hawks, we will take you through some of the kids in the upcoming draft that we could be looking at to bring into the club.
With no real trade targets in sight and three picks in the top 25, we believe it’s a really good idea to give the fans an idea of who to look out for in the lower leagues for anyone that is interested so let’s get started. For this and future exercises we will not include Nick Daicos and Sam Darcy as they are zero chance of being Hawks and will likely push our pick 2 to pick 3 or 4.
The fine print: As it sits going into Round 17, Hawthorn have Pick 2, 21 and 23 as their first three picks. To answer the FAQ, Gold Coast have a compensation pick at 19 (although the AFL haven’t 100% signed off on yet, we are going to assume that they will). We are using ESPN, Cal Twomey’s Phantom Guide and Ed Pascoe’s rankings on Twitter for their rankings of players and who are around the mark of Hawthorn’s picks we could use the most.
At Pick 3: Talking Hawks select: Finn Callaghan
Talking Hawks alumni Adrian Byers sang the praises of Callaghan over the weekend having seen him live for the Sandringham Dragons when they destroyed the Tassie Devils with a 28 disposal, seven mark and seven inside 50 performance.
At 189cm, he’s got some size about him and his strengths clearly lie in his ability to make elite decisions in traffic.
What else he can do is seperate from the stoppage and hit his targets. There are questions on his aggression and contested ball winning but there’s two ways of mitigating that.
- One; the Hawks have some blokes named Tom Mitchell, James Worpel, Jaeger O’Meara and Jai Newcombe who are well equipped to do that for him, and
- Two; if anyone can bring out aggression in a young player, it’s Clarko and Sam Mitchell.
Who do the experts have at three?
- ESPN: Sam Darcy
- Phantom Guide: Sam Darcy
- Ed Pascoe: Sam Darcy
Who else can we keep an eye on?
Draws comparisons to Collingwood’s reigning best and fairest winner Taylor Adams and is a ball winning gun at the stoppage but there is a worry we have too many of the same type, even though he could be better than most we have.
Would be our selection here but has a syndesmosis ankle injury which is a real shame because his competitiveness and endurance are arguably AFL standard right now. ESPN noted he could lower his eyes to hit his targets better but is a scoreboard hitter and holds his tackles.
Hawthorn fans will know this man from his 24 disposal performance at Box Hill earlier in the year, however his lack of consistency so far this year is causing him to slide somewhat in draft rankings. If he has a good run at the back end of the year, he could easily be considered at two or might fall to 21, who knows?
At Pick 22, Talking Hawks select: Judson Clarke
Only Ed Pascoe had Clarke in his top 20 rankings so with only 33% of the experts cited having him there, the majority consensus can see him slipping to the Hawks and it’s hard to see (at this stage) why we wouldn’t take the small forward/impact midfielder.
In the Vic Country vs Vic Metro clash only a couple of weeks ago, Clarke booted five goals, showcasing his ability to kick long on his left foot (and Hawthorn love their left footers) and he did pinch hit in the midfield after half time, won some clearances and exploded from stoppages.
When he went back to the Stingrays on the weekend, he had 27 disposals (playing more midfield than forward), took five marks, had four tackles, four inside 50’s and kicked 1.2.
Imagine a forward line small brigade of Dylan Moore, Clarke, Luke Breust, Chad Wingard and Tyler Brockman! Goodness me.
At Pick 24; Talking Hawks select: Rhett Bazzo
In his four WAFL Colts games this year, the Under 16 All Australian key defender (!) has been playing forward with mixed results but if he was a Hawk, he can be the partner to Denver Grainger-Barras for a decade.
Kyle Hartigan turns 30 in November, Michael Hartley is out of contract at the end of the year and just turned 28, while Sam Frost is 28 in August. If that doesn’t sound like an old school Box Hill apprenticeship that could be in store for Bazzo if he was to be picked up, we aren’t sure what does.
Bazzo is capable of taking intercept marks but he is also a wonderful tackler for his size. At 195cm, the 17 year old has good size and at 81kg, isn’t a stick but more shape will need to be added to his frame which is okay, considering the key talls mentioned earlier so he doesn’t need to impact straight away but good luck getting through him and our man DGB in the next dozen years.
Who else can we keep an eye on?
Mac Andrew: If the Hawks move on two of the four ruckmen they have, Andrew is the next best in line. Already on Melbourne’s Next Gen Academy list, we would have to bid as the new rules are only free reign until Pick 20. He has an enormous leap and soft hands and while Ned Reeves will be the number one ruck in two years, that two years can be spent developing Andrew while Big Boy finishes up.
With awesome size of over 190cm for a midfielder, Long can hit targets and has the versatility to impact games forward and in the midfield. Holds his tackles, has great hands and can hit the scoreboard.
Another Sandringham Dragon prospect, Howes can play on a wing and is more than capable of hitting the scoreboard. The Hawks would hope his kicking at goal improves, given he kicked four behinds in Round 11 of the NAB League but 24 disposals, nine marks and five inside 50’s is nothing to sneeze at. He is a guy going under the radar and if the Hawks aren’t getting a key position player, he’s definitely on the cards.
That’s a Wrap for the Draft Haul July
Whilst it’s unclear on what direction the Hawks will take, it seems extremely unlikely the Hawks take a tall forward or a half back flanker, given there’s good depth in both areas.
We also don’t know if the Hawks will be trading picks or anything like that, so our July-September issues will likely remain the three picks we know Hawthorn has. The Hawks already have elite young kids in their group and we at Talking Hawks can’t wait to add more quality youth at the end of the season.