Hawthorn defender Mackenzie Eardley continued to show why she was taken with Pick 6 in 2022.

After an injury-interrupted debut season, the 19-year-old played nine of a possible 10 games in 2023. 

In the backline, she was able to demonstrate her athleticism, booming kick and ability to lock down important opposition forwards.

Following a year of development in her first season, Eardley became one of the team's most important defenders in 2023, often taking the kick-ins and setting up the team's structure.

She stepped up in the absence of Catherine Brown, who was the club's general down back, and will look to continue to do so with Brown now retired.

Key stats:

Disposals per game: 9.3

Tackles per game: 3.3

Marks per game: 2.1

Key achievements: 

  • Finished eighth in Hawthorn's 2023 best and fairest 
  • Received two coaches votes in Hawthorn's Round 8 loss against Richmond 

Best game:

Round 8 v Richmond 

While eight disposals, four tackles and two marks might not seem like the most dominant game, Eardley made her presence felt with every effort in Cairns.

She not only showed incredible composure but she also minimised the impact of Richmond's forwards, with the Tigers only kicking away at the end of the game. 

The young defender certainly put her name up for a Rising Star nomination off the back of this performance but unfortunately, it didn't come.

However, she continued to show promise following this game, highlighted by THAT goal-saving tackle against Geelong in Round 10.