AFL games: 19
Disposals per game: 14.4
Total goals: 0
After making his debut in a single senior appearance in 2016, Blake Hardwick took his game to another level this year.
Hardwick played 19 senior games this season, thriving in his new role as a small defender.
The 20-year old proved a reliable option down back, gaining valuable experience as he went up against some of the league’s leading small forwards.
One of the features of Hardwick’s year was his ability to use the ball out of the back half.
His 85% disposal efficiency was clearly the highest of any Hawk who had more than 100 disposals in season 2017.
Hardwick’s strong year was recognised when he received the Round 15 NAB Rising Star nomination.
A word from: Adem Yze
“He came to the footy club as a forward but in preseason we saw an opportunity to try him as a back. We saw some attributes that we thought he could play there and on some of the best small forwards in the comp. He did that and he did it at a high standard.
“He played on Eddie Betts as well as some of the other best small forward in the competition. So, we think he is a player that we can rely on down back.
“He has massive upside, which you would only have to look as far as the (Round 23) Bulldogs game to see a few of his efforts when the game was tight to save them scoring.
“So, he had a pretty solid year.”