Hawthorn has secured the signature of highly touted midfielder Laura Stone as part of the AFLW Expansion U18 Talent Pathway Pre-Signing Period.
Having represented the Eastern Ranges in the Coates Talent League over four seasons, the Hawks were able to sign the star 17-year-old and have her join the club immediately ahead of a highly anticipated 2024 season.
Stone dominated in Ranges colours this season, averaging 20.5 disposals, 6.2 tackles and 5.1 inside 50s from 11 appearances in the midfield and across half-back.
She also shone in the Ranges’ narrow Grand Final loss to Oakleigh, registering a team and season-high 30 disposals to go with six rebound 50s and five tackles.
By season’s end, she was named captain of the Coates Talent League Girls Team of the Year at half-back, highlighting her versatility and leadership throughout her 2023 campaign.
Stone also spent time with the Box Hill VFLW program this year, bursting onto the scene with 18 disposals and six tackles in her maiden outing against Darebin in Round 7.
She then went on to record 17 disposals and 10 tackles against Essendon the following round.
While representing Vic Metro this season, Stone averaged 20.5 disposals (9.5 contested) and 3.5 tackles to earn a spot in the 2023 AFL National Championships U18 Girls All Australian team on the half-back flank.
At the 2023 AFLW Draft Combine, Stone produced the second-fastest 20m sprint ever recorded at the AFLW Combine with 3.080 seconds.
Hawthorn AFLW List Manager Mitchell Cashion was delighted to welcome Stone to the Hawks.
“We are thrilled to be adding a player of Laura’s calibre to our young and developing list,” Cashion said.
“Laura has had an outstanding junior career and comes to the Hawks ready to take her game to the next level.
“Her speed, smarts and competitive drive rank her incredibly high among this year’s draft prospects so it’s fantastic to have her in the brown and gold already.
“We can’t wait to see her mix in with the likes of Emily Bates, Tilly Lucas-Rodd and former Vic Metro teammate Jas Fleming in the years to come.”
Hawthorn is eligible to sign up to three players in the AFL’s expansion club pre-signing period.
The AFLW Expansion U18 Talent Pathway Pre-Signing Period ends on Friday 17 November.