Backline coach Chris Newman gives his review of every Hawthorn defender's 2021 season.
“Jarman was having a really good season before he got cut down with his ankle injury. He managed to get 13 matches in this year and actually had his best average disposals (22). He was providing some real run and carry for us and some dash off the half-back line. It was disappointing for him to not play the whole season out as he started to really hit some form and created some intercept possessions for us and used the ball quiet well. He’ll have a big pre-season and try to get himself into a position where he could potentially be full-skills by Christmas hopefully."
“It was another solid year for Frosty, he played on some talls and smalls and had a number of occasions where he intercepted the ball in the air and on the ground. He’s ranked quiet highly for intercept possessions on the ground and is capable of taking a contested mark – he’s quite high in the AFL too for that. He played 22 games and averaged 15 disposals - for a key defender to be that mobile that’s quite a good asset. He’s got some good agility and speed and can play deeper tier or at times we can unleash him and play a higher tier. He’s very consistent, reliable and hard to beat one-on-one as a defender.”
“Sicily was basically a coach this year due to his injury. He put in a power of work with his rehab and got himself to the point where in the back end of the season he was starting to join in again with drills. We started to get a little excited when he began to run around and kick again. Hopefully he can have a really good off-season and prepare well so that he can have a full pre-season. His impact this year has really been with his ability to lead and coach. He’s been sitting with me a lot, we’ve been watching some vision and he’s been helping a lot of the younger players out, which I think has really helped his development and I feel like he’s matured a lot in this season. He’s had to endure a fair bit with his injury, but I think he has handled it quite well.
“Will managed five games this year and averaged around 20 disposals in the games he played. It was disappointing for him to go out the way he did, particularly in a game where he really dominated and was best on ground, showcasing his ability to read the footy. He’s a really smart footballer, and is beyond his years with the way he can read the footy, intercept and use it. He’s got poise with the footy and uses it quite well from half-back. It was just another development year for him, hopefully he can have an uninterrupted pre-season and season next year. He’s one player that can be relied upon for his ability to defend, but can provide some really strong rebound for us as well. He put on a little bit of strength in the off-season and pre-season last year and continued to develop his body to cope with AFL footy.”
“Jack had a terrific year, and I thought he got better as the year went on. He showcased his ability to be able to take contested marks, particularly one-on-one, and also the ability to find the balance between offense and defence, and when to mark and when to spoil – I thought he started to get the balance of that right as the year went on. He’s a really prolific ball-winner and executor of his kicks, for someone who averages 20 disposals a game his disposal efficiency is quite high at 84 per cent. He’s another young kid that is starting to really gel with the rest of the boys in the back-half. I love his ability to compete when the ball is in his area, and he laid quite a few strong tackles to go with his offensive work. He’ll look to develop his ability to impact and intercept for us in the off-season and pre-season no doubt.”
“Dimma had a really consistent year, he played 21 games and averaged 20 disposals which is a career-high for him. Something that we want to see continue to climb is his ability to defend on the small type but can play tall too. His ability to make good decisions and use the footy well is really important for us. What everyone loves about Dimma is his uncompromising attack on the man and on the ball – he’s ever-reliable and one that gives his all every single time he plays. He provided some real strong rebound for us this year and used the ball really well. Hopefully his progression continues to climb because I still think he’s got some more to offer.”
“Brambs ended up playing back and I was really pleased for him this year to be able to play 10 games. He played across all lines really - he had some exposure forward, wing, and little bits inside mid, but I thought he found his home playing in the back-half. Off half-back he uses the ball really well, spends time with the football in his hands, and he’s prepared to bounce it. I think he averages one of the highest amounts of bounces per game in the competition. That’s a reflection of his preparedness to take the game on and try to run and create for us. He learnt a lot with his defensive craft and will continue to do so and work with guys like Hardwick to make sure those defensive acts are what we expect in that back-half. I look forward to potentially having a full pre-season with him. I’m not really sure what Sam Mitchell is thinking with his preferred position, but if he does spend some time back, he’s a welcome addition.”
“TO spent a little bit of time playing in defence and did some really solid roles for us – playing as a third tall at times, and our second key at other times. There was one game against Adelaide where they went quite tall and got a hold of us – we sent TO back and it really changed the game. He’s been flexible in his ability to play forward and back, he’s quite strong with his airel presence with taking marks. I think the more he played in defence the more he was able to read the footy and go up and intercept for us. He always uses the ball well and I really liked the way he directs others around him too. He worked quite well with some of the other talls in Kyle Hartigan and Frost.”
“Hartigan had quite a solid year for us. We were conceding quite a few inside 50s against in the first part of the year, and he was one of those guys that had to defend really hard for us on multiple occasions. He’s a really reliable defender, he plays on some of the big forwards in the competition and holds his own. He plays with a real physicality and a bit of an edge to his game. The boys around him walk taller with him in the team. I think with the amount of ball that was directed his way, he handled his own and was high up in the spoiling averages in the competition. He also handles the balance between taking intercept marks and killing dangerous balls with his spoiling. He made a solid contribution, playing 21 games in his first year at the club.”
“It was a break-out year for CJ. He was able to play 16 games and obviously would’ve played more if it wasn’t for his injury which unfortunately struck him down in Tasmania. While he was unable to finish the year off, he was presented with a great opportunity this year in playing with the rest of the defenders and getting a feel of what the expectation is there. He provided some great rebounds and intercept possessions, and his speed and ability to break a line is really important and gives us a different dynamic from our half backline. He works well with others and provides some real support for his teammates. It was a really strong year for him, but obviously he’s quiet young and has a lot of improvement left in him. It will be a big pre-season for him, I thought he set up his year with his strong off-season and pre-season last year, so hopefully he can do the same and we get some more improvement out of him.”
“Denver is one that will throw himself at every contest, he reads the ball quiet well and puts himself in a place where he is able to either intercept the ball or go and help others. I’ve loved his willingness to learn and absorb as much as he can in terms of our system. No doubt he’ll continue to apply that to his game. He provides a strong ariel presence and made some really smart decisions when he had the ball in hand. He played a handful of games this year and I expect that with what he learnt within our system and his own game that hopefully he can keep improving and showcase his ability to be a really reliable defender for us.”