From impressive young gun Josh Weddle to exciting recruit Mabior Chol, we've got the five Hawks to keep an eye on as the club prepares for season 2024. 

The youngster: Josh Weddle 

Career to this point: The Hawks traded back into the first round of the 2022 national draft to grab the exciting utility with Pick 18, after a stellar under-18 season where he dominated down back with his elite athleticism, versatility and rebounding ability. Weddle made heads turn early, taking out back-to-back instalments of the club's time trial in his first pre-season before even making his AFL debut. The youngster has since demonstrated he is more than capable of playing above his 191cm size, with his strong aerial ability and sound defensive craft. 

2023 form: Weddle capped off a dominant maiden campaign, winning the club's Most Promising Player at the Peter Crimmins Medal. After making his debut in Round 7, the 19-year-old did not miss a game, playing 17 matches for the year – the most of any Hawthorn debutant in 2023. Showing plenty of promising signs of a bright future ahead, Weddle’s fantastic first season saw him earn a Rising Star nomination in Round 10. The emerging star averaged 17.3 disposals at 78.6 per cent efficiency, 5.1 marks and 273 metres gained per outing.

A look towards 2024: The young gun has already made a statement to start his second pre-season at Hawthorn, winning the arduous yo-yo test and time trial at the club. The defender turned heads last summer by training at a level of someone in their third or fourth season and has already shown on day one of this pre-season that he is going to raise the bar again between now and Round 1. With his promising career so far, Weddle could easily join Jai Newcombe and Will Day as a Hawks game-breaker next year. 

The fan-favourite: Jai Newcombe 

Career to this point: In just his short career so far, Newcombe has become one of the Hawks' most important players. After arriving to the club following the 2021 mid-season draft, Newcombe has finished as the back-to-back runner-up at the club's Peter Crimmins Medal in the past two seasons. After starting the 2022 season on the fringes of Hawthorn's best 22, Newcombe went on to finish the season as the club’s best midfielder and named by the AFL coaches as the best young player in the competition. Already a huge fan-favourite among the brown and gold faithful, Newcombe is set for a long career at the club that he grew up supporting. 

2023 form: In a testament to his sharp career rise, Newcombe finished as the runner-up at Hawthorn's Peter Crimmins Medal for the second year in a row in 2023. Playing 22 games for the year, Newcombe recorded career-high figures in disposals (25.1), marks (4.5), score involvements (6.4) and clearances (5.5). 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 look towards 2024: At just 22 years of age, Newcombe is regarded as one of the best young players in the league. Since inheriting the iconic number three, the number worn most famously at Hawthorn by Leigh Matthews, Newcombe has thrived with the added pressure. If his trajectory continues, Hawks fans could be looking at one of the club’s great all-time midfielders. After finishing as the runner-up in the best and fairest on two occasions, could a win on the top of the podium be in sight come 2024? How about a selection into the All Australian team? The sky is the limit for Newcombe and with more development and growth, the impressive youngster is only going to get better.


The recruit: Mabior Chol

Career to this point: After booting 78 goals across in 61 games across Richmond and Gold Coast, the Hawks secured the services of Mabior Chol on the final day of the 2023 trade period. The dynamic ruck/forward has showcased glimpses of his immense talent and athleticism and will now look to build on his AFL career at Hawthorn.

2023 form: After playing all 22 matches and kicking a team-high 44 goals in his first season at the Suns, Chol played eight senior games this year but was a stand-out at reserves level, spearheading the Suns’ VFL premiership campaign. This included a five-goal preliminary final performance, before adding four more majors in the decider. 

A look towards 2024: Looking towards his future role, Chol's addition is set to strengthen Hawthorn’s forward stocks. Hawks fans should be excited about Chol's potential among an exciting attacking mix that features the likes of Mitch Lewis, Luke Breust, Jack Ginnivan, Dylan Moore, Connor Macdonald and Nick Watson. With more than 60 games under his belt, Chol will help complement the Hawks young and developing list with his best footy definitely still ahead of him.

The break-out contender: Connor Macdonald

Career to this point: The Haileybury College product enjoyed a stellar debut season in 2022, playing 20 matches where he averaged 13.2 disposals, 3.4 marks and kicked nine goals. He played primarily as a forward, but also saw time through the midfield in the back half of the season. While unlucky not to receive a Rising Star nomination, Macdonald arguably already has the makings of a long-term player for the Hawks.

2023 form: Following a solid debut season, Macdonald went a step better in 2023, showing great improvement in all areas of his game to become a consistent contributor for the Hawks. The talented 20-year-old was a key link in many scoring chains for the brown and gold, with his effective ball use and dare to take the contest on. 

A look towards 2024: Having begun his career as a half-forward, Hawks fans can expect Macdonald to be given greater opportunities in the midfield as he continues to develop his craft. 

The returned star: Changkuoth Jiath 

Career to this point: Various ailments restricted the excitement machine to 14 games in 2022 and he also had to deal with extra attention from the opposition after his breakout 2021 campaign that earned him a contract extension through to the end of 2024.

2023 form: Jiath experienced a frustrating 2023 campaign, playing just eight games across the first nine rounds of the year after battling several injuries. Still, he averaged 17 possessions per game off half-back and his run and carry created great drive for his team. 

A look towards 2024: After making his return to pre-season training last month, the 24-year-old is now set to head to Qatar during the Christmas break to spend time at a world leading sports medicine practice. Jiath will spend five days in early January completing a block at Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital in Doha, before returning to resume pre-season when the Hawks report back for training in the new year. With all the attributes to take his game to another level next year, the excitement machine will look to remain injury-free and string together a more consistent season together in 2024.