AFL games: 22
Disposals per game: 25.1
Marks per game: 4.5
Clearances per game: 5.5
In a testament to his sharp career rise, Newcombe finished as the runner-up at Hawthorn's best and fairest, the Peter Crimmins Medal, for the second year in a row. Playing 22 games for the year, Newcombe finished with career-high figures in disposals (25.1), marks (4.5), score involvements (6.4) and clearances (5.5). The Box Hill success story has been a shining light for the Hawks in recent seasons after arriving to the club as Pick 2 in the 2021 mid-season draft. He was also listed in the extended 40-man All Australian squad for the first time this year, featured in the AFLPA’s 22Under22 team alongside Will Day, and notched more Brownlow votes than any other Hawk for the second consecutive year.
A career-high 40 disposals in his 50th match against the Western Bulldogs in Round 22 highlighted a strong season for the young gun. His impressive performance was also boosted by an 85 per cent disposal efficiency alongside 12 marks, four tackles and 10 score involvements, and a goal.
How the coaches saw him:
“Jai had a pretty good year. He was named in the All Australian extended squad which was a great reward for the level of progression in his game this year. As we know, he is really tough inside. He advanced his ability to find the ball, while also increasing his clearance and first possession numbers. I think everyone watching him play would say he is pretty dynamic in the way he goes about it. He just ticked over the 50-game mark, he’s got a really solid foundation now, hopefully he’ll have a good summer now to go into that top echelon of midfielders in the comp.” – David Hale