Promising youngsters Henry Hustwaite and Cam Mackenzie have put their best foot forward for a potential round one selection after leading the way in Hawthorn's match simulation against the Western Bulldogs on Friday. 

While the Dogs secured a 25-point win at their home of Whitten Oval, there was plenty to like about the young Hawks midfield brigade. 

With reigning best and fairest Will Day ruled out of the season opener, Mackenzie and Hustwaite stood their ground to make a statement in the centre. 

Mackenzie impressed with his decision making and composure, particularly after quarter-time, while Hustwaite was able to inflict his own damage at stoppage by collecting plenty of the ball, showing again the progress he has made since playing the final two games of 2023. 

After conceding the first six goals in a poor start, Mitch Lewis finally put the Hawks on the board for the first time four minutes into the second quarter. 

Blake Hardwick then kicked two in two minutes, before Jack Gunston used his body to work Liam Jones under the ball and converted, putting nervous supporters at ease swiftly. Two more goals reduced the margin to nine points at the end of the second term. 

Recruit Mabior Chol sent a fright through the Hawthorn camp when he landed heavily on his shoulder late in the second quarter and was gradually escorted up the race into the rooms. The former Gold Coast and Richmond key forward returned at the start of the third term with his right shoulder strapped and took a couple of grabs in the second half, but finished with 0.3.

With James Blanck (ACL) and Denver Grainger-Barras (turf toe) on the sidelines, new Hawks recruit Ethan Phillips entered the game after half-time and produced some promising moments playing alongside James Sicily down back. Jai Serong is another option after a decent pre-season and performance on Friday. 

The Hawks will take on the Western Bulldogs for a second pre-season practice match next weekend in Launceston as part of the AAMI Community Series. 

Young guns

Cam Mackenzie was impressive for the Hawks, as the former pick No.7 and Henry Hustwaite push for greater midfield time in 2024. Both put their hands up for round one. Nick Watson had limited opportunities, but Jack Ginnivan hit the scoreboard with two goals. `

Switching positions

The Blake Hardwick experiment continued on Friday. The defender played predominantly as a forward and hit the scoreboard during the second quarter with a couple of goals. When James Sicily exited the game in the fourth quarter he returned to defence. 

Injury watch

Mabior Chol shook of a shoulder scare before half-time to play out the second half. Karl Amon missed due to soreness.

WESTERN BULLDOGS     6.2     7.7     14.11     16.12 (108)
HAWTHORN                     0.2     6.4      8.6        12.11 (83)

Western Bulldogs: McNeil 4, Naughton 3, Darcy 3, Sanders, Liberatore, West, Harmes, Gallagher, Williams
Hawthorn: Hardwick 2, Hustwaite 2, Ginnivan 2, Gunston, Lewis, Morrison, Butler, Reeves, Macdonald


First game squad: 7. Rory Lobb, 9. Ryley Sanders, 10. Sam Darcy, 12. Harvey Gallagher, 13. Oskar Baker, 14. Rhylee West, 17. Nick Coffield, 18. James O'Donnell, 19. Liam Jones, 21. Tom Liberatore, 22. James Harmes, 23. Laitham Vandermeer, 24. Buku Khamis, 25. Caleb Poulter, 28. Anthony Scott, 29. Lachlan Bramble, 30. Lachlan McNeil, 32. Arthur Jones, 33. Aaron Naughton, 34. Bailey Williams, 35. Caleb Daniel, 36. Luke Cleary, 39. Jason Johannisen, 43. Ryan Gardner

Second game squad: 1. Adam Treloar, 2. Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, 3. Cody Weightman, 4. Marcus Bontempelli, 5. Jedd Busslinger, 8. Charlie Clarke, 15. Taylor Duryea, 20. Ed Richards, 26. Dom Bedendo, 27. Joel Freijah, 28. Anthony Scott, 31. Bailey Dale, 40. Lachlan Smith, 42. Alex Keath, 43. Ryan Gardner, 44. Tim English (plus VFL players)

Notable absentees: Jack Macrae, Bailey Smith


Harry Morrison, 2. Mitch Lewis, 3. Jai Newcombe, 4. Jarman Impey, 5. James Worpel, 6. James Sicily, 7. Ned Reeves, 8. Sam Frost, 11. Conor Nash, 14. Jack Scrimshaw, 15. Blake Hardwick, 16. Massimo D'Ambrosio, 17. Lloyd Meek, 18. Mabior Chol, 19. Jack Gunston, 23. Josh Weddle, 25. Josh Ward, 26. Bodie Ryan, 28. Cam Mackenzie, 29. Jai Serong, 30. Sam Butler, 31. Connor Macdonald, 32. Finn Maginness, 33. Jack Ginnivan, 34. Nick Watson, 35. Calsher Dear, 37. Ethan Phillips, 38. Max Ramsden, 41. Josh Bennetts, 44. Henry Hustwaite, 45. Clay Tucker

Notable absentees: Luke Breust, Chad Wingard, Karl Amon, Dylan Moore, Will Day, Changkuoth Jiath, Denver Grainger-Barras, James Blanck, Will McCabe