Forwards Coach Adrian Hickmott has provided an insight into how each Hawk in the attack is tracking in the lead up to the 2024 season.

Mabior Chol

“Having Mabior apart of our mix is really exciting. Playing against the Western Bulldogs last week he took a beautiful mark on a kick-out, jumping over the opposition’s heads. That’s pretty impressive to watch. He adds a little bit of x-factor to our forward line. He has a beautiful left foot kick, he can kick the ball 50-60 metres. He plays high, he plays deep. He’s just getting used to the guys around him being under a new system. But he’s always got a smile on his face and loves coming to training.”

Nick Watson

“Nick is a young talented footballer who thrives on hard work, he's really eager to improve his game. He plays with confidence and flair, which is really important. He loves being in front of the goals, he loves pressure, he loves chasing and he loves tackles. When you have a young kid that can do all that, it's pretty impressive. He’s learning how to stay consistent in training sessions – some of his training sessions have been outstanding, some have been more of a learning. Being 18 years of age and just coming into the system, he is learning how to gauge each session as he goes, I suspect some of his games will be like that too.”

Jack Ginnivan

“Jack has come to the club fresh and raring to go. He’s got a lot of football smarts – he’s a good hard-worker who loves the game, that’s what I’ve noticed about Jack. He loves speaking up in meetings, he isn’t afraid to talk in front of the whole group. Then on the track he’s a really skilful player who loves a goal. He is always striving to get better – he’s got super high standards. Our High Performance Manager Peter Burge says he has made gains in his fitness and speed. In the warm-up, we do a lot of sprints, strides and running technique and he’s taken that by storm. He's always looking for an edge to improve himself as a young player.”

Luke Breust

“I speak to Luke a lot about the game style, structures and strategies we’re trying to implement. His expertise is reading the play and crumbing – he knows how to kick goals off one or two steps. He’ll often hold some 'masterclasses' at training on that with the younger guys which is cool. Then in our line meetings, I’ll sometime go in there and not speak because it will be Luke and Jack Gunston leading the way. The other day I saw Luke grab our forward line together off the back of training to just chat about what is required. He's got a good nature about him, he’s not too critical, but he’s not too soft on the others – he wants to get the best out of everyone.”

Blake Hardwick

“Dimma has been really enthusiastic coming into a different role this pre-season. It’s taken him a while to get in the groove of playing as a forward. The ball comes in different ways, it’s a little bit harder to read as a forward compared to a defender. But he’s a pretty tough player, he loves being in the contest, he is thriving on the new challenge of playing forward. He played last week against the Bulldogs in our match simulation and kicked three goals, he looked really comfortable there. He can play deep, in the middle tier or play higher. He can play all different positions in our forward line which suits us well. His one-on-one contest work is pretty impressive, having a player that is hard to beat on the ground in the air is important for our forward line."

Dylan Moore

“Moorey had a tremendous pre-season - his training standards, work ethic and leadership are all fantastic. Then he got glandular fever, which has made it hard. He has been resting – I’m pushing him pretty hard to sleep well, eat well and get plenty of fluids to get himself right. He is super determined and loves to train – he doesn’t like missing out on training... he feels like he is missing out on becoming better. But he’s getting close to coming back.”

Connor Macdonald

“When I wasn’t coaching him in the forward line, I knew he worked hard, but I didn’t realise just how hard he works. He gets right up the ground, at times with forwards they can get high up the ground, and then they can get stuck up there. But he knows how to do both very well. He uses his skills very well, he is a tough player and has this flair around goals. His challenge now will be to how he can create space for himself when a half-back runs with him. But most importantly, he tackles, he chases and puts on really good defensive pressure.”

Mitch Lewis

“Mitch is a tremendously hard worker. He is 198cm, he can run, loves a mark and loves a contest. He has been a slow burn in the air in the contest, so we’re doing some work on that. He’s working himself back into that system with Mabior Chol. He no longer has the weight on his shoulders to carry that all himself. He’s just getting into the flow of cohesion with that, it takes a while to click, but it’s growing each session we go out there.”

Jack Gunston

“Gunners has been going really well – he came back to the club through rehabilitation, just to look after his back. He then got a bit sore after our match simulation during the pre-season camp in Geelong after he kicked five goals. He had to back off training and games a little bit after that, but he played against the Bulldogs last week. His leadership has been his main value, we all know how well he plays, but what he provides in that space is equally as important. He has been mentoring Calsher Dear – I see them do goal-kicking together, watching vision together, going to get coffee together. In our line meetings, Jack will share his view on some clips that I can’t even see, he has a great knowledge and understanding of the game. Those little insights he provides are so invaluable for our forward line. It’s so exciting the way he sees the game.”

Chad Wingard

“Most training sessions he’s doing his rehab over on the far wing, I’ll go over and talk to him and he’s great. He’s super focused on getting himself back, and he is making some good improvements. He is running at the moment and in 2-3 weeks he’ll be starting skills. He speaks up in meetings, he’ll come to me if he has an idea or sees something. He’s got a great football brain – he thinks outside the box a little bit, which is fantastic. He’s taken the likes of Josh Bennetts, Jack O’Sullivan and Sam Butler under his wing, he works closely with them in understanding the moving patterns of the forward line as a small. He’s a pretty good player to learn off.”

Josh Bennetts

“Josh is super enthusiastic, he’s a go-getter who works very hard at training. He is a really good listener too. When you’ve got the experience around you with the likes of Luke Breust, Jack Gunston and Chad Wingard, some kids can be shy and not speak up. But all our younger guys, they speak up, there is room for them to talk. Josh is one to do that. I think he’ll work his way into the season with a good start.”

Max Ramsden

“Rama is a good runner, he can jump too. He’s had some stints in the ruck and he’s working on that craft alongside Lloyd Meek, Ned Reeves, Clay Tucker and Mabior Chol. When he comes down forward, he’s taken some beautiful, contested marks. He reads the play well, he is still learning, but he is a really patient listener. He kicked four goals in our intraclub game – in the third quarter he was playing against our ‘AFL backs’ and he kicked three against them which was impressive. It was a great learning curve for him to play against the best, and when he kicks a few, that just validates his learning.”

Sam Butler

“Butsy is an interesting player, we’ve got him playing a bit on the wing as well as forward. He is really relishing both roles. He’s working really hard at that and enjoying that. We’d like him to kick more goals, and we’re working on that. His pressure is excellent, he does all the other stuff really well. He’s a solid trainer – I was watching them in the gym the other day and he when a player reaches a personal best, they ring a bell. And across the last four weeks, he’s rung it twice. He’s a hard worker in the gym and on the track.”

Calsher Dear

“Calsher is an impressive young man. It’s been great to see how he has been working alongside Jack Gunston and his willingness to absorb the information from him. I think Jack is the perfect match for him to learn off. Against the Bulldogs, Calsher came into the game in the last quarter, and we saw a moment where he went back with the flow of the ball and took a great contested mark in our forward line. He can jump, he’s brave, he’s got a great work ethic and is a really good listener. He is starting to build his body up strongly too.”

Jack O’Sullivan

“Jack has been working through a bit of a sore knee at the moment, but has been training really well alongside the other small forwards. It’s like they’ve got a competition against each other, they’re challenging each other all the time. Jack is super determined - he gets a little frustrated at times, but that’s just through his competitive instinct, which is good to have. His has a great work ethic on the track, and often is watching vision to get himself better. He played a couple of intraclub games and he showed what he can do.”