New Hawthorn winger Hayley McLaughlin remembers watching the Hawks train at Bunjil Bagora, Waverley Park as a youngster.

Now she will train on that exact surface as Hawthorn’s latest AFLW recruit, joining the club alongside Laura Stone and Jess Vukic in the AFLW Expansion U18 Talent Pathway Pre-Signing Period.

The 17-year-old noted three players as her favourites over the journey.

“I remember coming here when I was little to watch them train,” McLaughlin said.

“When we were successful and winning the premierships, Josh Gibson and Luke Hodge were my favourite players.

“I really like Kaitlyn Ashmore and how she plays as well.”


Having played at Blackburn Football Club since she was 10 years old, McLaughlin is a Hawk through and through, highlighting how excited she is to take the next step in her career.

“I’m so excited, this is an awesome opportunity and I’m so grateful,” she said.

The 17-year-old also got to experience footy at VFLW level as a teenager - something she is grateful for.

“It was such a good experience,” McLaughlin said.

“Being around the group of girls was really good.”

Having played on the wing for most of her life, McLaughlin has developed two key aspects in her game. 

“My strengths are how I use the ball and my footy IQ,” she said.