Second-year Hawk Josh Ward returned to his first AFL game in nearly two months in impressive fashion, earning his very first MVP nod.

Ward returned from a stint at Box Hill and made an impact in his first senior appearance since hurting his foot after Round 8.

The 19-year-old was a shining light in a difficult day for the Hawks, finishing with 28 touches for the afternoon, and six marks - the second highest tally of his young career.

Speaking post-game, Hawthorn Coach Sam Mitchell said Ward was one of the few positives to come out of the tough loss.


“I’m desperately walking in here trying to find some positives, and I think Wardy was one of those,” Mitchell said.

“He hadn’t played AFL footy for a while, and he probably deserved a game last week and he was really disappointed to not get in.

“He was outstanding at Box Hill last week, and then he finally gets his chance this week, and I thought he performed really well.

“He didn’t look like a player that had been out for a long time, he’s in his second year and he just looks capable at the level.

“His game understanding has grown enormously in this time off; he’s utilised being injured really well and it has made him better as a player. I think we’ll see the best of his footy in the future.”

Watch his MVP performance below.