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2012 Review: Whitecross

2012 Highlight: Whitecross' journey Learn more about Brendan Whitecross's journey to play AFL.
There’s always a young player to emerge and take the next step at AFL level in any year, and in season 2012 that player was Brendan Whitecross.

Of course, his season was cut short by the anterior cruciate injury sustained in the Qualifying Final against Collingwood, but it wasn’t before he made a name for himself, and cemented his place in Hawthorn’s best 22.

With 50 games to his name at the beginning of the year and at 22 years of age, it seemed on paper it could be Whitecross’ year to shine, to cement his place in the Hawthorn side.

It was his ability to apply pressure, to find the ball, present as a link up option going forward and uncanny goal sense that immediately made him a dangerous player.

But it was also his maturity, another year older, another pre-season under his belt and another year adjusting to what’s expected at AFL level that finally clicked.

Standing at 183cm, Whitecross is a unique player. He is built like a midfielder, but can take a mark like players of 190cm or more. He also has great balance and rarely loses his feet in a contest. It makes him one of Hawthorn’s most reliable players.

When the season kicked off, Whitecross gathered 21 disposals, laid six tackles and kicked two goals in the opener against Collingwood and backed it up with an even better performance against 2011 premiers, Geelong.

In Round 2, he gathered 28 disposals, took seven marks, laid three tackles and kicked two goals to be named in Hawthorn’s best players.

Then, another 25 disposals, 12 marks, four tackles and a goal against Adelaide in Round 3 had fans talking about a player who had, for his first four years at the Club been a quiet achiever, in and out of the Hawthorn side.

He was now a regular, and making his spot at half forward his own, and impossible to shift.

He played 11 consecutive matches before a hip injury had him sidelined for a week in Round 12. But, he was back the next week (Hawthorn had a bye in Round 13), there would be no return via the VFL for the ever improving 22 year old.

From there, he continued his good form with 29, 26 and 25 possession efforts in the next five matches.

Hawthorn were a better side when Whitecross was playing and, as the season rolled on he also emerged as another midfield option, providing the Hawks with more depth in one of its already biggest strengths.

For him though, his improvement in 2012 was no surprise as he spoke candidly to in July.

“Being able to string consecutive games together has been a big contributor to the form I’ve been in this year,” he said.

“Since I’ve been at the Club, players have been very strong in encouraging me to play the way I play, in my own way because they knew what I could do.

“The coaches have played a massive role in that as well because they knew what I was capable of and they’ve been very strong in encouraging me to bring it out.”

With his knee rehabilitation already in full swing, Whitecross has been working hard to get back to playing football as soon as possible in 2013.

2012 averages
22 13.3
19.9 77 6.2 13.8 6.1 2.3 2.6 3.2
0.4 84
*PCM denotes votes awarded for the Peter Crimmins Medal.

One of Whitecross' best games for the year was against Geelong in Round 2.

Whitecross in the news in 2012
Confident Whitecross has belief
Hawthorn's dream run
Traditional reco for Whitecross

Videos featuring Whitecross in 2012
Rnd17 Report: Whitecross
Whitecross finds a way

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2012 Player Review