Hawthorn defender Jenna Richardson had a breakout year in 2023. 

In 2022, Richardson didn't make her AFLW debut until Round 6, having been sidelined with injury.

She showed glimpses of her potential even with just five games under her belt at the time but soon took her game to new heights in 2023.

The 22-year-old played every game and was one of the Hawks' most reliable players down back, impressing with her intercepting ability, one-on-one defending and endurance.

Plus, she was often tasked with matching up on some of the league's most dangerous players, including Port Adelaide's Erin Phillips. 

While many may not have known too much about the defender before this year, Hawks fans and AFLW fans overall will now know what they could see from her once the 2024 season rolls around.

Key stats:

Disposals per game: 11.7

Intercept possessions per game: 6.8 

Marks per game: 3.7

Key achievements: 

  • AFLW Team of the Week, Round 10 
  • Hawthorn MVP, Round 10 
  • Nominated for AFLW MVP 
  • Runner-up in Hawthorn's best and fairest 
  • Winner of the club's inaugural Outstanding Excellence Award after balancing footy, a Masters in Psychology and working at Woolworths in 2023

Best game: 

Round 10 v Geelong 

Richardson capped off a stellar second AFLW season with a commanding performance at GMHBA Stadium. 

Although her team went down by 40 points to the finals-bound Cats, the defender was one of the Hawks' best players on the ground.

Richardson recorded 14 disposals, eight intercept possessions and three tackles in a backline peppered with forward forays from Geelong.

However, it was her marking that really stood out on the day.

The 22-year-old was able to take seven grabs, building what seemed like a one-woman wall down the highway.

A close contender for her best match this season was her performance against Fremantle in Round 3 where she recorded a career-high 19 disposals and took six marks.