Sam Mitchell gives us his insight on how he thinks each Hawk midfielder performed throughout the 2021 season.
"Harry started the season quiet strongly, his first three games were really, really good. He went through probably a little bit of a quieter patch, and then started to really hit his straps before he did his hamstring and missed 6-7 weeks. He then came back into the side towards the end and played a little bit of a different role, playing in the front half. For Harry, it was his fifth year and we were really looking forward for him to take that next step and he started to really show signs. His composure with the footy, his consistency and his performance started to become quiet a feature for him, which he's worked really hard on. Unfortunately his injury was bad timing for him, but he's a very diligent lad and he'll have a good summer and be able to come again next year."
"Tom's season was very, very consistent. Clearly he was a major ball-winner across the season, but I thought his game impact fluctuated quiet a bit. Some of his better games he actually found a bit less of the footy, but had more game impact. His ability to find the ball is clearly number one, but he was able to hit the scoreboard, he kicked a goal in five of the last six games of the season and was able to finish with eight goals. I thought his work in the front half of the ground in the second half of the year was much stronger. He's also a really strong tackler for us, he was able to put a lot of defensive pressure on. He was very consistent in doing what he does well."
"Worps was able to play 20 games this year, so he was able to string a lot of footy together. He started the season probably a little bit slowly but finished it really well. I thought he played a lot of different positions, a lot of different roles for us - he was starting in the forward line, played at times as a tagger, he did a fantastic job in a couple of games doing that role. He's a really selfless player who always wants to get the best out of the team environment. His leadership as a young player has really grown and I thought his consistency at the later part of the year was really strong along with his game impact. He kicked seven goals in the last eight games of the season, so his ability to hit the scoreboard became a feature for the team. I think after his season he should take confidence that he can take his game to another level next year."
"In his first season as captain of the football club, McEvoy certainly equipped himself well. He played every game and was just such a soldier for us. He kicked 12 goals across the season and played in a multitude of positions, mostly in the forwardline with a fair bit of ruck particularly in the early part of the season. His physicality and just how he goes about the game from a leadership sense is great - I think every player walks a little bit taller when Big Boy's around. His ability to get the best out of not just himself, but to get the guys around him to do the same was really strong. I thought he was a key player in a handful of our best performances this year."
"It was an interesting season for Nashy, he didn't get much opportunity in the early part of the year - he played one game in Round 5 and then didn't come back into the side until Round 14 again and that was as a medical sub. He didn't get his first real opportunity as an inside midfielder until Round 20 and he played the last four games in a new role. We won three of those games and had a draw in the last. His change of role really helped him, I thought the way he embraced different positions this year - he played on the wing, half-forward, as an inside mid - he's a great teammate, very selfless and always goes about it in a strong way. I think his running ability and his power gives us a different look through the middle of the ground, we have a lot of midfielders who are good, traditional inside mids, but he's a little bit different and a challenger for the match-up. I thought his best part of the season was the last month."
"I think it was Howey's best season as a player, he played predominately on the wing, and he's played a lot of half-back, a lot of tagging, bit of an inside mid. He played 20 games this year, one of which he was a medical sub. But his strength, physicality and courage around the contest was a real strong suit for us this year. He was 'Mr Reliable' on that wing, he always knew where he was and always put his body on the line when he had to. I think his Round 22 against the Western Bulldogs was a real stand-out where he took his game to another level."
"Cegs started the season in the ruck and was going okay, but then he got hurt and missed a fair bit of footy. He then came back through Box Hill - he was probably a little bit lucky to get an opportunity when Ned Reeves got hurt, but to his credit he really took those opportunities with both hands. I think his last month was really, really strong where he became a consistent performer. I think his Round 21, 22, 23 he was averaging close to 20 possessions and was having a real impact in the middle of the ground. His ruck work continued to improve, and I thought he finished the season strongly and hopefully he'll be able to take that into next year."
"It was Flip's first season at the club and he was able to come in and play every game, in a couple of different positions. He mainly played on the wing, but also spent a fair bit of time playing as a forward. I thought he did a really good job of being able to consistently back up week after week. He probably didn't reach the height that he is capable of, but he'll be looking to build strongly from the season into next year."
"Jaeger had a strong season, I thought he found a fair bit of the footy in a really consistent manner this year - he only had two games where he dropped under 20 possessions. His ability to have some sort of game impact was really strong. He led the club for clearances and had a real dominant effect in and around the middle of the ground on multiple games. I think his best games were some of the best games we saw from him across his career were this season. He probably lacked a little bit of consistency - his bad games were not terrible, but certainly his best games were just outstanding. The challenge for Jaeger is being able to produce that on a regular basis, when he does play well he draws a lot of attention from the opposition, so that's a challenging task for him but he's certainly improving each year as a player."
"As you would expect from someone as experienced and professional as Liam Shiels, he played 21 games and was just so reliable - he gets the job done week after week. He's a soldier that you can always rely on, he's pretty consistent across his performances and such a selfless player. It doesn't matter where he plays - he plays forward, on the wing, as an inside, as a tagger - and has no complaints, he just gets it done."
"Finn didn't get too many opportunities this year, but his form at Box Hill was strong. He was an inside mid at the start of the year, but that probably didn't suit him quiet enough, and then he went into a tagging role and then also played as a defender later in the year. I think he did grow as a player, while he didn't get an opportunity in the senior side as much as he would've liked, hopefully he can kick on next year and it will be the year that he needs to take his game to the next level."
"Reevesy has come a long way, he's improving really quickly. At times, particularly around the centre bounce, you think 'gee we found a player here'. But he still has to hone his craft and continue to work - he was a little inconsistent, particularly later in games as he fatigued but he's certainly working very hard on making sure he can produce his best, more often. It was great for him to get a few opportunities."
"It was an interesting year for Connor, he was named in the first game of the season but didn't play, and then he didn't get another opportunity until very late in the season. I think it will give him a lot of confidence playing that game later in the year. He found a little bit of the footy and used it pretty well, and he certainly didn't look out of place. Hopefully what happens from here is that he gets a grasp on how fast the game is and how it plays, and hopefully he can continue to kick on."
"It was a fascinating year for Jai, having come into the club mid-season and coming straight into the senior side. He had a well publicised 14 tackles on debut, and then falls out of the side a week later and thinks he is never going to get another look, but then he does. He's going to be a fascinating case study to watch in years to come - where can he take up his level of consistency of his game and round up his game a little better to be a really strong performer for us? I think he would've loved his first six months in the brown and gold."