Who stood out in the club’s biggest match play so far of the summer?

Find out more about the key performers from Hawthorn's intraclub hit-out on Thursday at Bunjil Bagora. 

Small forwards shine

Prized pick Nick Watson showed his spark alongside Jack Ginnivan, demonstrating why he was selected at Pick 5 in last year's draft with moments of brilliance inside 50, including a couple of clever goals. Ginnivan built into the game, finishing with some classy moments in the second half to provide a one-two punch with Watson. 

Speaking post-game Assistant Coach Adrian Hickmott said Watson had fitted well into the new-look forward mix.

“He’s determined, he’s got really good motivation to train well, but most of all he knows football. That’s what’s impressive, his defensive pressure is pretty good too.”

Hustwaite shows his class

After breaking through for a debut in Round 23 last season and playing the final two games, tall midfielder Henry Hustwaite pressed his claims for a spot in the midfield against the Bombers with a clinical display in the intraclub. 

With Will Day sidelined, the Dandenong Stingrays product has impressed during the match simulation block and caught the eye again on Wednesday, weaving through traffic, hitting difficult targets and kicking a brilliant goal on the run in front of Hawthorn icons Peter Hudson and David Parkin. 

Chol slots in seamlessly

Key forward Mabior Chol has produced an early sign that he can recapture his best form in 2024 after a standout performance across four 25-minutes quarters in perfect conditions at Waverley Park. Chol finished with a handful of goals to continue a strong block to start the year.

The 27-year-old was traded from Gold Coast on deadline day last October after being starved of opportunities in 2023, despite kicking 44 goals during a breakout campaign in 2022. He arrived at the club still recovering from a PCL injury, but has completed the full program since the Hawks reported back for pre-season in January.

Speaking post-game, Chol said he was enjoying his time up forward as part of a new Hawks outfit. 

"It was good to have our first actual hit-out as a club, I thought the boys showed their strengths. It was good to get amongst the goals, credit to our midfield, James Worpel, Jai Newcombe and Conor Nash, I thought they were real strong and brought the ball forward and I was just lucky enough to get on the end of it."

Newcombe and Macdonald everywhere

Connor Macdonald (three goals) continued his strong pre-season with another decent performance. Macdonald was basically everywhere - playing a few roles throughout the day as a half-forward, on the wing and finishing through the midfield in the last quarter. 

Jai Newcombe dominated in the midfield, producing an excellent performance. Doing what he does best, the 22-year-old was breaking tackles with ease and bursting through the centre, delivering for the Hawks attack.

Now heading into his fourth season, Newcombe looks even bigger and stronger as he looks to put his best foot forward in season 2024.

More forwards stand up

Gun defender Blake Hardwick showed he can be effective inside 50, kicking three goals playing as a forward in the new-look attack.

The Eastern Ranges product was the leading goal kicker in the 2015 TAC Cup before being drafted by the Hawks, but has spent most of his AFL career in defence before swapping ends this pre-season. 

Meanwhile, Max Ramsden (three goals) was strong in the ruck and took some great contested marks. The third-year Hawk will be looking to spend some more time in attack this season after playing two senior games last season.