DRAFTEE Blake Hardwick is settling in at Hawthorn, and setting his sights on donning the brown and gold for the first time in this year’s NAB Challenge.
Now two months into life as a Hawk, Hardwick is finding his feet at the club and enjoying the challenges that come with being a professional footballer.
“It’s going pretty well,” he told hawthornfc.com.au this week.
“I’m enjoying pre-season and getting to know all the boys – I’ve got a lot fitter from completing most of the pre-season.
“Just adapting to the workload (has been the biggest challenge) … on the days that you’re not running, you’re doing all sorts of stuff like boxing and bike, so it’s pretty full on every day.”
Training has ramped up after Christmas, and Hardwick says it’s been a noticeable difference.
“It has, especially for us, the first years,” he said.
“They kind of eased us into it before the Christmas break and after Christmas it’s got a lot tougher.”
The 18-year-old forward joined the club in last year’s NAB AFL Draft at pick 44, after finishing 2015 as the TAC Cup’s leading goalkicker.
Key to fast-tracking his development has been building relationships with his new teammates – and he’s keen to soak up any advice that comes his way.
“It’s probably the most important thing out of everything, you’re going to spend most of your year with them,” Hardwick said.
“There hasn’t really be anyone in particular (I’ve latched onto), everyone’s been pretty welcoming and they’ve all been up for a chat.”