A key Hawks duo has made significant strides with their training as they look to eye their respective returns to the field in 2024.
Exciting defender Changkuoth Jiath is back to full health, re-joining the main group for pre-season training this week.
The 24-year-old hasn't played a game since Round 9 last season, following a series of setbacks that prematurely brought an end to his 2023 campaign.
Earlier this month Jiath and Head Physiotherapist Andrew Lambart flew over to Doha where Jiath completed a block at Aspetar, a world-renowned sports medicine centre.
Hawthorn's High Performance Manager Peter Burge said the experience was extremely beneficial for Jiath.
“There is some management still going on with him individually, but his body is really good and we’re looking forward to implementing some of the knowledge Bart and CJ have brought back,” Burge said.
“The fantastic thing about this trip was that CJ was actually close to full training pre-Christmas, he was doing football drills and running flat out.
“We were able to go over there with him in peak condition. So he was able to train over there, be assessed biomechanically and do everything in his program, which was a real advantage.”
Star forward Chad Wingard has also made significant progress with his training program, having resumed outside running this week.
Burge said the 30-year-old was tracking “fantastically well” following his recovery of an achilles rupture late last year.
Wingard pieced together an impressive second half of his 2023 campaign prior to the injury in Round 22.
“He’s had three running sessions outside on the grass... in some ways he is learning to run again,” Burge explained.
“He’s been working closely with our Rehabilitation Coordinator Jack Price who does a fantastic job, as do all our medical team.
“He’s just happy, and it’s fantastic for the group to see Chad out there again."
As confirmed last week, young gun Will Day will spend some time on the sidelines after suffering a stress fracture in his foot.
It comes after Day developed some discomfort following the first session back in the new year and was forced to depart the track early.
"We since found out that he has a stress fracture in his foot which is really unfortunate, but in saying that, Will had a fantastic pre-Christmas period," Burge added.
“He’s in a moon boot now, and will be for a couple of weeks until we can assess further. He's non-weightbearing at the moment and we’ll just keep updating everyone over the weeks in terms of his progression.”
After making his return from a foot injury that limited him in the back end of 2023, key forward Mitch Lewis is expected to shortly resume training again after rolling his ankle.
Despite some injury setbacks, the 25-year-old has established himself as Hawthorn's main target up forward in the last two seasons, kicking 73 goals from 30 games.
“Mitch had an ankle and foot issue last year, he went through a rehabilitation phase and returned in the end of November,” Burge said.
“He has worked really hard over Christmas, returned to the group and was back to full training.
“But then we were doing some match play earlier in the week and he stepped on someone’s ankle in a contest and rolled his ankle laterally.
“It’s a very short-term injury, he started running on Tuesday and I would expect he’ll be back doing some drills again on the weekend or next Monday.”
Recruit Mabior Chol has returned to full training after recovering from a PCL injury that he sustained last season, while youngster Seamus Mitchell is expected to resume full training in the next two to three weeks after experiencing some hamstring irritation.
Hear the full pre-season update with Burge below.