Being handed the brown and gold number five guernsey is a huge honour, and the significance is certainly not lost on its new custodian, James Worpel.

He understands the greats that have gone before him, those that have won premierships, best and fairest awards and become favourite sons of the club.

But, having made such a resounding impression in his debut season for the Hawks, Worpel is now determined to make the number his own.

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“Ultimately it is just a number on your back, but you like to try and make each number your own,” the 19-year-old said.

“The number five has obviously had some big-name players play in it in the past, but hopefully I can make my own name for myself in it.”

One of those big-name players is, of course, Sam Mitchell who has returned to Hawthorn this pre-season as midfield coach.

Having already completed Kokoda alongside Mitchell, Worpel said he has already built a strong relationship with the four-time premiership Hawk.

“Mitch has been great for me already,” Worpel said.

“We’ve only been together for four weeks now, but he’s been huge and I can’t wait for the rest of the year with him.”

Returning to pre-season training in impressive condition, Worpel is looking to improve on his first campaign by surrounding himself with experienced, senior players.

At Mooloolaba camp, the young midfielder is sharing a room with former captain Jarryd Roughead.

“I’ve been getting nice and tight with Roughy over the last couple of days, which has been good.

“He has been super for my development over the last year.

“Both him and people like Luke Breust, who housed me for my first six months, and Jaeger O’Meara as well – he is really coming out of his shell in a leadership perspective which is great.”