Emerging defender Ethan Phillips has joined Hawthorn's rookie list ahead following the pre-season supplemental selection period (SSP).

The 196cm intercept back, who joined the Box Hill Hawks at the start of the 2024 pre-season, will help bolster Hawthorn’s defensive stocks after James Blanck (ACL) was added to the long-term injury list last week.

The 24-year-old previously starred for Port Melbourne in the VFL across the past few years, emerging as one of the premier state league backs in 2022, featuring in the VFL Team of the Year and claiming the prestigious Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal as the competition’s best young talent.

Phillips was again resolute across 18 VFL outings last season, averaging 11 intercept possessions, 4.9 intercept marks, 4.6 spoils and 17.6 disposals at 83.2% efficiency per game.


Hawthorn National List and Recruiting Manager Mark McKenzie said Phillips’ addition was a welcome one for the Hawks' defensive unit.

"Having showcased his trade against AFL-listed forwards in the VFL, we believe Ethan is more than ready to take this next step," McKenzie said.

"Deemed the VFL's best intercept defender in 2022, Ethan has a remarkable ability to read the game and demonstrates a strong commitment to the one-on-one contest.

"Ethan's journey from being overlooked in previous years to now realising his dream of playing in the AFL encapsulates a story of determination, perseverance and hard work.

"A readymade key defensive option, he now has the opportunity to further develop his skills and make an impact at AFL level."

Phillips becomes the latest player to be signed by Hawthorn after coming through VFL-affiliate Box Hill, joining the likes of current coach Sam Mitchell, James Blanck and Jai Newcombe.