It has been a big last couple months for our 2022 draft crop.

With pre-season now well and truly back in full swing for 2023, we thought it would be worthwhile to ask each of our line coaches David Hale, Chris Newman and Kade Simpson their thoughts on how the cohort are tracking so far. 

Cam Mackenzie

“We had a couple bouts of match sim in the last few weeks, and Cam hasn’t looked out of place at all. He’s really confident and solid around the stoppages and he uses his strengths well. He has good reaction, his agility getting inside out is really good and he’s really clean. Cam has slotted in really well, he’d be one that I expect to push for an early debut. Everything is tracking well for him, we’re really happy with his progress at the moment. He has got a quiet self-assurance in terms of his ability, when it comes to footy, he’s really confident and he’ll continue to ask questions off the field. We lost a bit of experience in the midfield (at the end of last year), but the likes of Jai Newcombe, Conor Nash and Cooper Stephens have been helping him in terms of technique and work around the craft phase of the stoppage stuff.” – David Hale, Midfield Coach

Josh Weddle

“Josh is a very confident kid, his ability in the time trial to be at the front of the group was really impressive. He has come in with a real competitive drive to want to get better. Watching him compete up and down has been great – he has been playing on the wing – which has complemented the midfield. He’s one that we’re really excited about as well in terms of his progression. Whether we’re doing grappling, weights, or little craft drills on the side – he has a desire to want to win which is really important in a young guy coming through. A desire to get better and improve their craft is something not everyone has when they come through this phase of their development, but he’s one that you can see right from the start that he hates losing and he really enjoys the contest.” – David Hale, Midfield Coach

“There are not too many guys who come in after being drafted and win the time trials and dominate the running like he has. It’s pretty special, he’s ultra-competitive whether he plays down back or through the midfield, we’re not too sure yet, but I think probably throughout his career you’ll see him play in all positions. That’s the sort of versatility he has, and what I think the recruiting staff really liked about him. He’s a really good size, it looks like he has been in the AFL for three or four years already.” – Kade Simpson, Defence Coach


Henry Hustwaite

“’Hus’ has been good, he’s got really elite hands around the contest. Watching him through the recruiting phase with the recruiters was interesting. He really stood out in terms of his ability to get the ball from the ruck-mid connection and get it to those guys outside and that’s pretty much what we’ve seen in this early stage of Hus. He’s got an elite skill in terms of his clean hands left and right and we’ll just continue to develop the rest of his game to be able to suit his strengths.” – David Hale, Midfield Coach

Josh Bennetts

“Josh has been pretty good so far, he’s managed to accept the roles and responsibilities that he has and been able to implement himself on some of the match play that we’ve had so far. He’s a small forward that knows that position well. He's impressing around the goals, he’s getting to the drop of the ball and doing all the right things. He’s got a great work ethic, much like a lot of those younger kids that have walked into the place. He also has really good goal sense, so he only needs one opportunity, and he’s quite clean below his knees. He makes the most of his opportunities when he gets them, he’s quite good by foot and can help set us up also. With all of our younger players I like to couple them up with some of our more experienced players. Those smaller forward types like Luke Breust and Chad Wingard are great mentors to have and are great to learn off of. They’ve tried to spend as much time with those guys as they possibly can, it’s really important to up skill them as quickly as possible.” – Chris Newman, Forward Coach

Jack O’Sullivan

“Jack is one who has a really strong work ethic, he loves to stay on the track and do extras. He’s constantly asking questions, which is what I really like about him. He’s really keen to learn not only from myself, but some of those more experienced players. He’s one that works really hard, he has got a really good goal sense as well. Something else that I really like is his intent to tackle and to put pressure on, if he doesn’t kick the goals and the opposition end up winning the ball, we like the amount of pressure that he can put on going the other way. He’s slowly improving his endurance. He’s potentially got some attributes to push up the ground eventually down the track. But I think now first and foremost he just wants to work on his forward craft. He’s got really strong agility and change of direction so that’s going to be really important for his role.” – Chris Newman, Forward Coach

Bailey Macdonald

“Bailey is going really well. He’s a bit of quieter personality, but he’s got some really special attributes. I think he was the quickest in the draft, and we’re starting to see little glimpses of that come out in training now. It’s really exciting when he gets the ball. He’s really raw as well, so I think there's a lot of upside to Bailey. He has a great willingness to listen and learn. Taking it all on board, but then backing his strengths in and what he’s really good at which is his run and his power, especially as a half back you can be really aggressive and proactive with your positioning so when you do get the ball, you’ve got the whole game in front of you and can really attack. It’s really exciting when he gets the ball, he tucks it under his arm, and he just starts running a million miles an hour. There’s a lot to like there. We’ve got quite a few attacking half-backs in CJ (Changkuoth Jiath), Lachy Bramble and Jars (Jarman Impey), there is so many there for him to learn off. Bailey’s probably not going to ask too many questions, he’s pretty quiet, but I know he’s watching and taking a lot in. He’s got some good mentors down there to learn off.” – Kade Simpson, Defence Coach