Hawthorn defender James Blanck has extended his time in the brown and gold, signing on with the club until the end of the 2026 season.

The Box Hill Hawks product has gone from strength to strength during his first 18 months at AFL level after arriving to Hawthorn from its VFL affiliate in the 2022 mid-season draft.

In his 24 games to date, Blanck has impressed while being tasked with shutting down some of the competition’s best key forwards, with the 197cm defender showcasing his strong aerial ability and athleticism.

Hawthorn National List and Recruiting Manager Mark McKenzie said it was pleasing to see another graduate from the club’s Box Hill program flourish in the AFL. 

“We knew when we picked up James that he had the potential to make it at AFL level, and it’s been really satisfying to see the way he has gone about putting in the hard work in recent times,” McKenzie said.   

“Going-head-to-head with many of the competition’s top key forwards in just his first season and a half, James has demonstrated a strong ability to nullify their influence and help support our defence.

“Having only turned 23 at the end of last year, James is still relatively young for a key defender and will only keep improving, we believe he has the foundations for an exciting future ahead at our football club.”

Blanck is one of 18 players to have made the jump from Box Hill to Hawthorn since the alignment begun in 2001, and is one of four current Box Hill graduates on Hawthorn's list, alongside Jai Newcombe, Ned Reeves and Clay Tucker.