Hawthorn youngster Nick Watson is moving closer to his potential return after recovering from an ankle injury. 

The top five pick of last year's national draft played the first three games of the season before being struck down with the syndesmosis injury in Round 3.

Hawthorn High Performance Manager Peter Burge said Watson is set to be a test to play ahead of this weekend's clash against the Western Bulldogs, with the 19-year-old required to tick off two major training sessions in order to be deemed available for selection on Sunday. 

"He spent last week running fast and changing direction," Burge explained. 

"He had a session over the weekend where he consolidated that work and conditioning that we've been building.

"He's a test this week as we want to see how training goes Wednesday, see how it feels and then if that goes well we'll progress to training on Friday.

"We'll have more information later in the week."

After being forced on the sidelines following the Hawks Easter Monday game with groin soreness, veteran forward Luke Breust will also be a test to play for Sunday's game. 

"Last week was a really good week in terms of training and his progression, and on the weekend he had a really good session," Burge said. 

"Wednesday he'll do a little bit of training as well, with all going well, we'll progress to some more training later week and then we'll make a decision about his availability closer to the weekend."

A late withdrawal from last week's game against Sydney, Mitch Lewis is managing a patellar issue with his knee which has seen him ruled out of this Sunday's match. 

"It was a frustrating one as he trained Wednesday and Friday in our main session," Burge explained.

"During our Barras Yama (Captain's Run) he just didn't feel comfortable, so we gave it the 24 hours and then made the decision on game day that he wouldn't play.

"He just hasn't pulled up well from training twice during the week, so we do need to take a step back with his training, get him back to straight-line running.

"It's certainly not a setback - but we aren't able to take steps forward either, so we're in a holding pattern, we need to consolidate and make sure we do the right thing by the player."

Defender Changkuoth Jiath is also taking some positive strides forward as he looks towards his first appearance for the season after dealing with multiple injury niggles this year.

"He's going really well, he's back kicking the footy," Burge added. 

"He actually did most of our main training session last Friday, he just kicked on his left foot.

"He has done all the competitive drills, so he's building a nice block of footy training at the moment which was the aim.

"This week we'll build the kicking up on his right leg, and then next week full training and then back into some match play."

Meanwhile, Denver Grainger-Barras is moving towards the end of his rehabilitation phase after injuring his toe in February. 

"He's returning to some training Wednesday, he'll progress through this week and have a really solid session over the next weekend and then we're aiming for him to get some match play next weekend."

As previously reported by the club, Sam Butler underwent a successful surgery on Monday after he broke his leg during Box Hill's game on Sunday.

"We're feeling it for Sam, but he's in great spirits," Burge said.

"He's such a great character and much-loved around the club, he'll attack his rehab 100 per cent, he'll do everything right, that's the sort of player and person he is."

Listen to the full injury update with Burge below.


Injury List




Nick Watson



Luke Breust Groin Test
Josh Bennetts  Concussion Test
Clay Tucker  Ankle  Test
Cooper Stephens  Achilles  Test
Changkuoth Jiath Quadricep 1 week 
Mitch Lewis Knee TBC

Denver Grainger-Barras


1-2 weeks

Will McCabe


6-8 weeks

James Blanck



Sam Butler