The Hawks have selected a quartet of talented youngsters at the 2021 NAB AFL National Draft.
For the second year straight, Hawthorn landed a top 10 pick in the draft – marking the first back-to-back years for the club to do so in over a decade.
The Hawks kicked off proceedings on Wednesday night by selecting Josh Ward with Pick 7.
A lifelong Hawthorn fan, the 181cm midfielder is a ball-getter who has no trouble in accumulating the footy and then converting into damaging disposals.
Boasting elite running capacity, the 18-year-old finished the 2km time trial in 5:57 minutes at this year’s draft combine – the second-best time trial nationally.
He skippered the Vic Metro Under 19 side in 2021 and was nominated captain of the Team of the Year at the recent NAB League awards, demonstrating leadership qualities well beyond his years.
A classy player capable of consistently winning mountains of possessions, Ward poses as an exciting prospect for the Hawks in the years to come.
The following night, the Hawks selected a trio of additional youngsters with Picks 23, 26 and 53.
Selected at Pick 23, the Hawks made their call to land Sam Butler from the GWV Rebels.
Butler, the brother of premiership Tiger and Saints forward Dan Butler, is a clean and clever utility who can play through the midfield or up forward.
He has proven damaging around goals with some elite acceleration, while also possessing the defensive traits to match his offensive output.
The Hawks then selected Connor MacDonald with Pick 26.
An inside midfielder who also boasts a strong burst of speed, MacDonald has the tools to become an influential on-baller at AFL level.
Plying his craft at the Dandenong Stingrays, MacDonald averaged just shy of 30 disposals, 6.8 marks and 4.8 tackles across four appearances at NAB League level this year.
MacDonald has also been praised by experts as an outstanding decision-maker throughout his draft year.
His grunt around the stoppages is sure to excite Hawks fans in the years to come, while his character has also been praised by those throughout the industry.
Jai Serong then was the next to join the brown and gold after the Hawks selected him at Pick 53.
The brother of Fremantle rising star Caleb, Serong's strengths are his leaps and overhead marking, along with his clean hands at ground level.
Having played in most positions this year, he has also shown his versatility in each third of the ground.
National Recruiting and List Manager Mark McKenzie said he was delighted at the array of talent the club was able to gain at the draft.
“We come away from the past two nights rapt with the four players we were able to bring in,” McKenzie said.
“Our draft started really strongly when we were able to pounce on Josh Ward on Wednesday.
“Josh is a high-character guy, who we think will bring some elite attributes to our club and really bolster our midfield.
“We were then able to call out Sam and Connor’s names in quick succession to kick off night two.
“They’re two blokes who will add some class to our mid-forward rotations, with both able to find the ball but also impact games forward of centre.
“Finally, we were glad that Jai Serong slipped through to us at our final selection at Pick 52.
“He’s a guy we think has plenty of upside in his game with his aerial presence and athleticism.”
Hawthorn now awaits Friday’s Rookie Draft to meet its next crop of young talent.
Find out more about our draftees via our Trade and Draft hub.