During Hawthorn's bye, we caught up with Assistant Coach Kade Simpson who provided a mid-season review on Hawthorn’s backline.

Jarman Impey

Games: 14
Average disposals: 18.4
Average intercept possessions: 6

“Jars has been really good. I think the big area that he’s really improved in is his leadership, and not just off the back of captaining through the Sir Doug Nicholls Rounds. He’s always a shoulder for me to lean on, always asking what I need or what he needs to tell the boys to get them up. I think his leadership growth over the last couple of years that I’ve been involved in has been massive. And just his form, he has just become so reliable, ultra consistent and then we get to see the glimpses of him showcasing his speed and his kicking ability. For me it’s always about balance with Jars, defend well but also let’s showcase your offence and make teams have to worry about the way he attacks because he’s so damaging in that space.”

James Sicily

Games: 12
Average disposals: 21.7
Average intercept possessions: 8.2

“Sis probably had some struggles. Teams were putting quite a bit of work into him at the start of the year, so he has been working really hard at ways to counteract that. He’s such an important player and arguably the best defender in the game, so the opposition sees him as a real threat and they put a lot of work into him. But since he came back from his shoulder injury he’s just looked like he hasn’t missed a beat. To miss a couple of weeks and then step back straight in, averaging mid-20s and double figures in intercept possessions, I think we’re starting to see him get back to his best and make the opposition really have to worry about him.”

Sam Frost

Games: 14
Average disposals: 10.2
Average intercept possessions: 5.6

“Frosty has been ultra-consistent and he’s become ultra-reliable defensively. Most weeks he gets the big, dangerous key forward and just gets the job done. As a coach, you always think who’s going to play on them but each week it’s just like yep, Frosty's there and most weeks he’s been able to nullify their impact. We’ve also seen him take some intercept marks and probably use the ball better than he has as well which is really pleasing, because we speak about it. I really like the relationship we have, it’s so honest and he's the first one to put his hand up when he makes a mistake, but he’s been putting in the work and we’re seeing the results of that on game day.”

Karl Amon

Games: 14
Average disposals: 22.4
Average intercept possessions: 3.3

“Karl is still so new to the backline, he moved down with the backs midway through last year so he’s sort of 12 months into it. The best thing about Karl is how damaging he is with the football, so again we really want to make the opposition worry about him so trying to put him in positions to get the footy and be damaging, he’s got such a beautiful left foot, to really hurt the opposition. I think, especially his last month, he’s managing high 20s (disposals) and really damaging opposition on the counterattack.”

Jack Scrimshaw 

Games: 13
Average disposals: 17.2
Average intercept possessions: 8.2

"Scrim's had a really consistent first half of the year. I think the pleasing thing for Jack was that he came back in really good condition so at the start of pre-season, he was in really good shape and didn't miss a beat throughout the summer. He has then continued on that form throughout the season. We all know when he's at his best, he can intercept, he's a beautiful kick of the footy and showcases all of his weapons but the thing that I've been really pleased with is his effort to save a goal, as well as his defensive acts like smothers, chases and tackles. I think the first half against Adelaide, it was quite recent but it really sticks out in my mind - he intercepted the ball really well, I think he had three or four intercept marks in the first half. When he does that and when he positions himself well, he's a beautiful user of the footy so it actually sets us up offensively as well."

Josh Weddle

Games: 14
Average disposals: 14.9
Average intercept possessions: 4.4

“Weds is a pleasure to coach, he’s always looking to get better, and there’s not much he can’t do on a footy field, so just trying to help him impact games how he wants to. He can intercept mark, he can run all day, he can run down the wing and take four bounces and pump it inside 50, so we’ve seen some glimpses of what he’s capable of, some pretty unbelievable goals throughout the first half of the year. But he also gets big jobs on dangerous forwards and he relishes those challenges, Toby Greene, Jeremy Cameron, he's played on all these genuine superstars of the competition and he actually almost puts his hand up and comes to me and asks and wants that challenge. He’s going really well and we're really excited about what he could potentially do in the future.”

Denver Grainger-Barras

Games: 0

“Denver’s had an interrupted start, turf toe in the preseason and missed a big chunk of footy, unfortunately. He’s just come back, he’s five games in now (in the VFL), so it's really about trying to build a bit of continuity with his body and then get some consistency in his form. He had a really good game two weeks ago in the VFL and then was a bit quieter the next week. I think as he builds his fitness, we’ll see the best of Denver come and I think we all know the intercept marks, crashing the packs and big spoils is what we love.”

Bodie Ryan

Games: 0

“Bodie Ryan in his first year at the club, he’s really solid and can play on smalls, talls and mediums. He has really good composure with the footy, has had some really good games where he’s pressed the game and impacted in really big moments. The game in Wonthaggi really sticks out against Sandringham. It was back and forth for the lead change and he had two really big moments in the last five minutes that almost saved the game for Box Hill. I’m really pleased with how he’s developing and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a taste of AFL footy in the back half of the year.”

Will McCabe

Games: 0

“Unfortunately for Will, he was struck down with a back issue and has missed a big chunk of footy. He’s now building up his training and I think we’ll see him just after the bye, he’ll debut for Box Hill. You just get a smile on your face when you see him do some of the stuff at training, he’s mid-190s in height and moves like Jarman Impey sometimes. I think Hawks fans should be really excited but for Will because he’s missed a big chunk of footy but if he can get some continuity in the back half of the year and play some good footy, that’d be really pleasing.”

Jai Serong

Games: 4
Average disposals: 8.5
Average intercept possessions: 3.5

“Jai’s another one who shifted down back mid-way through last year so he’s another one who’s 12 months into being a defender. His growth has been unbelievable and that’s why we’ve seen him in the AFL team at stages throughout the first half of the year. He’s playing ultra-consistent footy at VFL level, now just for him it’s about trying to transfer that into AFL. He’s knocking down the door so I think whenever there’s a possibility to get someone in, he’ll be right at the front of the queue.”

James Blanck

Games: 0

“Blancky unfortunately did his knee in intraclub. It's amazing the way he’s one, dealt with the injury but now two, how he’s attacking his rehab, so no doubt he’ll come back bigger and stronger. The pleasing thing is he’s helping out at Box Hill, but still looking for ways to get better so watching vision on opposition forwards, he’s trying to help out the likes of Sam Frost and Scrimma (Jack Scrimshaw) on guys that he’s played on and give them advice on what worked, what didn’t work. The plan for the rest of the year is to try and get along, watch a game live together and just watch key defenders. The way he’s attacking it is first class and he’ll definitely come back bigger and better.”

Ethan Phillips

Games: 1
Average disposals: 10
Average intercept possessions: 8

“Ethan’s hungry to play and play AFL. So he’s always knocking at my door, looking at what he can do, watching vision and didn’t put a foot wrong against Port Adelaide. It was just unfortunate that we had James Sicily the captain coming back and Jack Scrimshaw who’d been in unbelievable form as well to come back in. He’s done himself no harm in showing that he’s capable at the level but he’s just had a little clean out on his knee, which has gone great and he’ll be back playing footy the week after the bye. Similar to Jai Serong, he’s banging down the door and when an opportunity presents, they’ll both be at the front of the queue.”

Seamus Mitchell

Games: 9
Average disposals: 8.2
Average intercept possessions: 2.4

“Little bit of a new role for Seamus, I think with Dimma (Blake Hardwick) going forward it opened up a spot for a bit more of a defensive half-back. He’s had some really good results, played on guys like Bobby Hill, Willie Rioli, all those dangerous small forwards, who might only need five or six touches but can kick four goals and really hurt you. He had some really good results on those guys in a pretty unfamiliar position for Seamus to play. He’s got such a natural offensive flair, but to add that defensive mindset to his game is only going to help him in the long run.”

Bailey Macdonald

Games: 0

“Bailey was flying in the preseason, he came back in really good shape and improved so much in his aerobic capacity. We all know he’s lighting fast but he has actually built an engine over the summer as well so I was really excited about what he was going to do. He had a bit of an injury setback, but now he’s just building consistency at VFL level. Similar to Seamus, the defensive stuff is going well but how can we get him a bit more of the footy and show off his weapons because he’s so dangerous when he gets the footy at VFL level. He’s been close a couple of times to coming in. Unfortunately for Baz, guys like Impey and Amon have been just ahead of him at the moment. But I’m pretty confident he’ll get a taste of AFL footy in the back half of the year."

Watch Simpson's full mid-season review below.