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Changing of the guard

R23: Hardwick on the final win Blake Hardwick spoke to HawksTV following the final win of the season.

Since locking down his post in Hawthorn’s defence early in the 2017 season, Blake Hardwick has been touted as one of the Rising Stars of the competition.

His final game for the year did his reputation no damage, with the 20-year-old collecting 20 disposals (including five score involvements) at 95 percent efficiency against the Bulldogs. 

Though he now looks like a natural when rebounding off the half back line, the position is still relatively new for the former small forward.

“At the start of the season, I didn’t know I’d be playing in the backline,” said Hardwick.

“But it was a really nice change, and has helped me put together a consistent season.

“I’ve been happy to string some games together, and I really don’t mind at which end of the ground I play.” 

While the Hawks have fielded a relatively young backline for much of the season, there was still one particular ‘General’ down there who has helped Hardwick perfect his trade.

Read: Schoenmakers re-signs

“Hodgey never shuts up,” he joked.

“Sometimes it can get a bit annoying, but it has helped me so much. 

“You always know if you’re doing the right thing or the wrong thing, whether you’re in the right positions, because he’s happy to tell you.”

“He’s done a lot for all of us, so it was awesome to send him off with a win.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs