The Hawks are in a great spot, draft-wise. They will head into the draft with picks 15, 18, 48 and 76. They may look to upgrade Kurt Heatherley earlier than usual, if they are keen on keeping their senior list at the minimum size of 38.
Pick 19 (originally 15)
The big fish: Kieran Collins
Collins is the second best key defender in this draft pool, and he is physically ready to step into an AFL team straightaway. Collins is a lockdown player, but he’s got a developing offensive game too. He reads the play well, doesn’t turn the ball over too often and his strength is incredible for an 18-year-old.
Plan B: Riley Bonner
Bonner is almost a clone of the aging Grant Birchall. He’s just above 190 centimetres and he’s got excellent footskills on either side. He brings kicking penetration to the table and he doesn’t make poor decisions. He’s got a way to go in terms of becoming a solid two-way defender, but as a pure rebounder, he is excellent.
Pick 22 (originally 18)
The big fish: Mitch Hibberd
Hibberd is a similar player to Bonner, but he’s got a few more strings to his bow. He’s more athletic and he can play as a midfielder. Hibberd makes great decisions, but he’s not elite in any one category. Hibberd is a versatile player who could fit in just about any team.
Plan B: Tom Cole
Cole is a versatile player who has shown he can do a number of things well at VFL level. Cole is a balanced midfielder who wins a bit of his own ball, and he’s a solid user of the football on the outside. Cole is a capable medium sized defender too. At this stage, Cole hasn’t shown whether he has ‘another gear’ to go to, but he has been a mark of consistency.
The big fish: Stephen Tahana
Tahana is a small defender who has shown he can be a selfless team player who prefers to nullify his man. He’s got a bit of speed and creativity, so he’s got the ability to become a very nice two-way player. He’s the ‘Hawthorn’ defender.
Plan B: Nick O’Kearney
O’Kearney is a Brent Stanton-type player, who runs hard both ways and finds plenty of the football at every level. He’s not a great user of the football, but he has shown some growth in that area. The question over O’Kearney is whether he can become of AFL standard or just a very good player in the state leagues.
Pick 76: Kurt Heatherley (rookie upgrade)