Key stats:

AFL games: 16

Disposals per game: 20.8

Marks per game: 4.8

Clearances per game: 2

Season summary:

Another key part of Hawthorn’s future, Ward battled form and injury in 2023, but still managed to string together some solid performances. The smooth-moving left-footer averaged 20.8 disposals and 4.8 marks a game across his 16 appearances. With class and composure on the outside and a great aerobic base, Ward has all the traits to establish himself as one of Hawthorn’s key midfielders next year.

Best AFL game:

Ward’s 27 disposals, five clearances and five marks against North Melbourne in Round 3 was a clear stand-out game for him this year.

How the coaches saw him:

“Wardy had an interrupted pre-season, so I’m excited for him to come back and be able to do a full summer next year. He has got a really good aerobic base to start off with. So if we can get four months of work into him, with that stoppage craft, to be able to use hit foot skills and running capacity as a midfielder will be important for us next year going forward. Now two years into the system, he’s played 30-odd games and has a really good understanding of what is required at the AFL level. Playing with those mids this year would’ve really opened his eyes to the level he needs to get to. He’s one that I’m really excited about. He’s a professional, he really wants to get better quickly, but the 30 games we have gotten into him is going to hold him in really good stead going forward.” – David Hale