It’s been almost a year since our first crop of 2018 draftees arrived at Waverley.

Jacob Koschitzke (Pick 52) and Mat Walker (Pick 63) were nabbed during the National Draft on the 22nd of November, with rookie selections Damon Greaves (Pick 14) and Will Golds (Pick 30) arriving later that day. Ned Reeves was the last of our current class of first years to sign on, joining the club via the Supplementary Selection Period late in the pre-season.

Before our first-year players hand over the reigns to a new crop of draftees, it’s time they imparted some of the wisdom they’ve gained from their maiden year as AFL-listed footballers.

So, after almost one rotation around the sun, what lessons have our youngest Hawks learned?

Read: Mitch's recipe for success

Jacob Koschitzke

1. “I’ve learned not to go flat out with everything I do. Sometimes you need to take a step back, listen to your body and adjust your training accordingly.”

2. “You quickly realise the importance of recovery. To be able to get up every week, you need to make the most of things like the ice baths, the saunas and the spas. They all help.”

3. “Celebrating the little things along the way is important. Whether that be a PB in the gym, or getting in a good session out on the track."

Mat Walker

1. “Make sure you’re on time to every meeting. If you’re not, you might get a little talking to.”

2. “You shouldn’t be trying to do absolutely everything all the time. It’s important to figure out what suits you, your body and your recovery the best, and then stick to that.”

3. “Eating a whole block of chocolate at night doesn’t help with the skin folds, as Jacob (Koschitzke) learned.”

Damon Greaves

1. “The first thing I learned was the importance of recovery and a good diet. This is really drilled in early, and is critical in helping you get up for games and training each week.

2. “I’ve also learned great time management skills. It’s so important to sort out your days, your weeks, and ensure you’re always at training on time.

3. “The most important thing is to just enjoy it all. To embrace all the challenges, all the up and and downs, and just have a good time.”

Will Golds

1. “I now understand how professional you need to be. Particularly in terms of your recovery, and making sure you’ve put yourself in the best possible position to get up for the next training session and the next game.”

2. “You need to look to the players around you for inspiration. Guys like Tom Mitchell, Luke Breust, all those guys that are really good AFL players. It’s important to look to them, see what they’re doing and learn from it.”

3. “It’s important to keep being yourself around the club. The boys love you for who you are so you shouldn’t try to be anyone else.”

Ned Reeves

“It’s important to make the most of your time off so you can return feeling really refreshed and ready to go.”

“Join in. Do as much with the group as you can to make yourself feel comfortable.”

“Always be ready for training early. You can never be too prepared.”