Despite a winless JLT Series campaign, Hawks supporters will be buoyed by the emergence of several young talents coming through the club’s ranks.
One such youngster is Oliver Hanrahan.
The 20-year-old is heading into his third season at the Hawks, and is the only member of his draft class still chasing that elusive debut.
But, when watching Hanrahan’s agility, creativity and footy smarts on display over the past fortnight, one could only assume his breakthrough is not too far away, and he knows what he needs to do to get there.
“I’m working on my communication, getting my talk up out on the field, and I’m putting a lot of focus into the defensive side of my game,” he said following the JLT2 clash on Saturday night.
“Speed and pressure on the ball are the attributes I’ve got to bring in order to break into the side.
“If I can just keep improving on my speed and ability, I think that will put me in a good position in the season ahead.”
After a solid showing against the Lions (19 disposals), Hanrahan was rewarded with a spot in a the Hawks’ experienced JLT2 line up. He entered the contest in the second half, registering nine disposals and three inside 50s.
“It was tough early, coming on in the third quarter when Richmond had all the momentum,” Hanrahan said.
“But once it got into the last quarter I found my feet a bit more and worked my way into the game.”
Hanrahan was a key contributor in Box Hill’s 2018 flag-winning side, famously booting a clutch goal in the elimination final to send the game into overtime and keep the premiership dream alive.
Since then, the crafty forward has taken several steps forward in his development.
“I feel in good condition and I’ve completed a bigger training block this pre-season,” he said.
“I’ve obviously done Kokoda, and a good chunk of pre-season training, so I feel like I’m in better shape than last year.”
Looking ahead to the home and away season, Hanrahan’s ambitions are clear:
“My number one goal is to try and get my debut, and just see what happens from there.”
Note to Hawks fans: watch this space.