The Hawks completed their biggest match simulation block so far for the pre-season on Wednesday.

Upon the conclusion of the club's pre-season camp in Torquay, the playing group took to the grounds at Deakin University in Waurn Ponds where they were split into two teams and participated in four quarters of game play against each other. 

We briefly spoke with Head of Coaching Performance & Development Brett Ratten following the match to hear his key takeaways from the day. 

On how the match sim unfolded:

"We played four 15-minute quarters and it was a good hit-out. We changed the teams a bit throughout, some players were in one team for a quarter and then changed at some stage. But the pleasing aspect was seeing how our forward line worked together as a collective, that was great. But like all match simulations - our good players are really good, but when you've got the same team as the opposition, you can see what you haven't quite done so well. Both sides had their moments in the game, defensively and offensively. I think most players would've walked away thinking they made a contribution, or an opportunity to influence the game."

On a forward recruit:

"(On Mabior Chol) It's just not just about his ability to mark the ball, it's about bringing it to ground too. When you've got Luke Breust and our other smalls down there, we can create something to get another chance. Mabior is providing some great support for Mitch Lewis who has done a lot of the heavy lifting over the last couple of years. To get somebody of Mabior's size and power in their air is great. He's kicked five goals in games of footy before, so he is real threat down there. But it wont be whether he is hitting the scoreboard all the time, it's also about what he does for others as well."

On our returnees:

"It's good for them (Mitch Lewis and Changkuoth Jiath) individually to be back into some game play, but great for us collectively too. It's about finding the continuity with the other five forwards with Lewis, and the same with Jiath playing up on the wing at the moment. For CJ to be learning some of those habits and be part of that midfield group I think is really important."

On key moments:

"We saw the likes of James Worpel fending off and running out of the midfield which was brilliant, Ned Reeves was also doing some good ruck work. We some glimpses of the future too. Will McCabe came through centre-half forward when he's a centre-half back and running and scoring a goal was a great moment... we saw Calsher Dear on the far side take a big mark in the pack. In our defence, James Blanck was really good - he showed some good organisation and linked everyone up together."


The club is set to take on the Western Bulldogs for its first practice game ahead of the 2024 season later this month.

The Hawks will meet the Dogs at VU Whitten Oval on Friday 23 February from 11am, a week before the two sides go head-to-head again in Tasmania in the AFL Community Series. 

The hit-out will be broadcast via Kayo Sports.