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Hawthorn's draft steals

Hawks eye fresh talent The Hawks are interested in one of their academy players, Changkuoth Jiath.

Ben Stratton

Drafted with: Pick 46 in the 2009 National Draft

Games: 146 

Since being taken with pick 46 in the 2009 national draft, Stratton has built a reputation as one of the best lockdown defenders in the competition.

Opposition small forwards have dreaded the thought of coming up against Hawthorn and, more specifically, Stratton in recent years given his ability to completely nullify them out of any given game. 

A member of the premiership threepeat, Stratton is never going to be the type to win best and fairests or any individual accolades but those within the club know that the Hawks nabbing the East Perth product late in the draft was a huge win for the club.


Luke Breust

Drafted with: Pick 47 in the 2009 Rookie Draft

Games: 161 

Over 100 players were drafted in 2009 before Luke Breust’s name was called out. 

Considering this, Breust has since forged an incredible career.

He has played 161 games and currently, having kicked 304 goals, sits 11th on the all-time club leading goal kickers list.

A part of the threepeat premierships, Breust has been one of the most dominant small forwards in the competition in recent years.


Paul Puopolo

Drafted with: Pick 66 in the 2010 National Draft

Games: 148 

Puopolo was 23 years old when he was drafted by Hawthorn with pick 66 in 2010. 

The small forward was quick to have an impact for the Hawks, debuting in Round 7 the following year. 

Standing at 173cm tall, fans have grown to love ‘Poppy’ for his relentless tackling and goal kicking ability.

Having played seven seasons in the brown and gold now, Puopolo has played 148 games and it will be a momentous occasion when he reaches his 150th game milestone in 2018.


Taylor Duryea 

Drafted with: Pick 69 in the 2009 National Draft

Games: 101 

Drafted on the back of the premiership success of 2008, Duryea entered the club as it sat as a superpower of the competition. 

The Murray Bushrangers product was forced to bide his time with Box Hill before finally earning a debut in Round 3, 2013. 

Duryea has since gone on to play 101 senior games in the brown and gold, building a name as a reliable role player with a new-found versatility to play at either end.


Richie Vandenberg

Drafted with: Pick 78 in the 1997 National Draft

Games: 145

Rarely would you expect a recruit, brought in with pick 78, to become a club captain and play 145 games.

But that is exactly what Richie Vandenberg did.

At the end of his seventh season in 2004, Vandenberg had built a reputation as a physical, hard-working midfielder who also possessed great leadership capabilities.

So, when Shane Crawford stepped away from captaincy duties at the end of the 2004 season, Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson turned to Vandenberg to take over the reins. 

Vandenberg led the club for the following three years before retiring at the end of the 2007 season. 

But Vandenberg’s impact extended beyond his playing career, with many considering his influence as important to the 2008 premiership success.


Ben Dixon

Drafted with: Pick 77 in the 1994 National Draft

Games: 203

Recruited from Yarrawonga, Dixon’s career far surpassed the expectations of a typical pick 77.

Over a 13-year career, Dixon played 203 games and booted 282 goals.

He currently sits 13th on Hawthorn’s all-time goalkicking standings.

Hawthorn fans’ fondest memory of Dixon would likely be in Round 17 of 2001 when he kicked a goal after the final siren to earn the Hawks a victory against Carlton in front of a 50,000-strong crowd at the MCG. 


Nathan Thompson

Drafted with: Pick 82 in 1997 National Draft

Games: 179 

Thompson was 20 years old when the Hawks recruited him with pick 82 in the 1997 national draft. 

The 196cm forward was renowned for his marking, ability to hit the scoreboard while also pinch-hit in the ruck.

Thompson played 119 of his 179 career games in the brown and gold, playing the final four years of his career at North Melbourne.

He won two Hawthorn club leading goalkicking awards and then matched this at the Kangaroos, winning the award in his both of his first two years at Arden Street.


Sam Mitchell

Drafted with: Pick 36 in 2001 National Draft

Games: 329 

Not only did Mitchell have to wait until the third round of his draft to hear his name called out, but the superstar midfielder was overlooked completely at the drafts the previous year. 

Mitchell wasted little time in creating a name for himself as a ball-getting accumulator, winning the Rising Star award in his second year.

In 2005, the Eastern Ranges product won the Peter Crimmins Medal, an award he would win another four times.

Mitchell finished his career in 2017 as a four-time premiership winning Brownlow Medallist and one of only eight players to play 300 games for Hawthorn.


Brad Sewell

Drafted with: Pick 7 in 2003 Rookie Draft

Games: 200 

Overlooked in the national draft, Brad Sewell was forced to wait until pick seven of the 2003 rookie draft for his AFL career to be given a breath of life.

Impressing as a hard-nosed inside midfielder, Sewell played 18 games across the opening two seasons of his career but it was in his third and fourth years that the North Ballarat product began to truly make a name for himself. 

Winning the Peter Crimmins Medal in 2007, Sewell went on to become a pivotal member of the 2008 premiership side the following year. 

Sewell won a second premiership in 2013, before retiring at the end of the 2014 season having played 200 games for the club.


Josh Gibson

Drafted with: Pick 7 in 2005 Rookie Draft

Games: 225

Despite being initially drafted by North Melbourne, we think we can claim Gibbo! His story is also a further testament to the value that can be found in the rookie draft.

Gibson spent four seasons at North Melbourne, playing 65 games as he built a reputation as an undersized key defender.

At the end of the 2009 season, Gibson was traded to Hawthorn and it was in the brown and gold that the defender’s career truly blossomed.

Playing 160 games over eight years at the Hawks, Gibson was a part of three premiership teams, winning the Peter Crimmins Medal in two of those years as well as being named All Australian in 2015.



The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs