By Alyssa Barrow & Daz Knight
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From the moment Sam Mitchell was announced as the successor to the most successful throne in Hawthorn history, stability was craved for by everyone, from fans, players and even the media.
However, in the months since the Clarkson announcement, Hawthorn went on to be 3-0-1 in their final four matches, players were let go and now Mitchell’s maiden off-season has begun.
Whilst the footballing fraternity has cast a spotlight on Mitchell, we at Talking Hawks have identified the handful of players who require a big 2022 for a variety of reasons; from players recovering from an injury riddled season, to establish themselves from fringe to starter player, plus some to continue the elite momentum they had built in 2021.
Just a final note; the list isn’t ranked in any ascending or descending order or a pressure gauge but purely by 2021 jersey numbers.
After just 42 games in his opening four years (and half of them in 2018), Morrison’s first ten games were career best, averaging 18 disposals, with his metres gained and clean ball use a standout.
In Round 11 this year, he was the medical sub against Gold Coast and in Round 13, hurt his hamstring against Sydney and missed seven matches. Out of contract in 2021, there’s a real chance Morrison is playing for his career in 2022. ,
He’s a best and fairest winner and a member of the leadership group so on paper, it sounds like we are being harsh but all Hawks fans know that the Worpedo has been a source of frustration over the last two seasons. His synergy with Tom Mitchell has come into question over the last two years with his 20.38 disposal, 4.65 tackle and 3.71 clearance averages.
Worpel turns only 23 years of age in late January, so it’s not like there’s drastic consequences but if the Hawks are to win a flag in the next three or so years, it’ll be Worpel running the midfield and the quicker that happens, the better for Hawthorn.
2019 was Lewis’ standout year, winning Hawthorn’s Most Promising Player and being recognised with a Rising Star nomination in Round 18 performance against the Cats.
However, due to the inconsistencies of 2020 and coming off a pre-season shoulder injury, it was difficult for Lewis to replicate his form.
He hit the scoreboard in the last six matches and was a target for the Hawks up forward, showing strength in the contest and a willingness to compete. Lewis needs to continue to develop as a strong attribute in Hawthorn’s young forward line.
After an outstanding debut season, Day only played the five games in 2021. Even though his on-field appearances were limited this year, when Day did play, he made it count and proved time and time again why he is one of the most important pieces in the Hawks resurgence up the ladder.
The young defender has an uncanny ability to read the play and a level of composure and class which are beyond his years, leading the way for the next generation of Hawks.
Day needs to get a full season under his belt in 2022 and solidify his place amongst the best youth in the competition as Matthew Lloyd noted in the post season on AFL.com.au.
During his first two seasons at the club, Morris has played nine games for the senior side which includes being the unused medical-sub in Round 8, 10 and 22 in 2021. However, Morris continued to demonstrate his strengths at Box Hill during the year with his goal sense and physicality being standouts in his game, especially with a five goal haul.
Going into the 2022 season, Morris would be aiming to put together more consistent footy in order to break away from the ‘fringe’ title and establish himself as a walk up start in the playing 22.