Jai Newcombe’s fairy tale is set for another huge chapter this weekend, with the mid-season draftee to make his AFL debut against the Swans on Friday night.
Newcombe was selected with Pick 2 in last Wednesday’s NAB Mid-Season Draft, having caught the eye of recruiters after building an impressive campaign with the Box Hill Hawks across the first half of the 2021 season.
A hard-nosed midfielder who relishes the contest and isn’t afraid of putting his body on the line, Newcombe looms as a tantalising prospect for fans of the brown and gold.
After missing his draft season with Gippsland Power due to the 2020 cancellation of the NAB League, Newcombe joined the Hawks' VFL affiliate ahead of the 2021 pre-season and has enjoyed a steady and impressive rise since.
Under the watchful eye of Coach Sam Mitchell, Newcombe has plied his midfield trade, averaging 23 disposals and seven tackles across his six appearances – an effort deemed worthy of a senior call up at first opportunity.
“We’re pretty excited that we’re going to have our sixth debutant for season 2021,” Head of Football Rob McCartney said.
“We’ve seen a lot of Jai at Box Hill, and there’s been plenty to like.
“Before this weekend we weren’t able to promote him into our senior side, but he’s been in the sort of form that had he been on our list, he probably would have played earlier.
“He’s definitely earned his opportunity through strong form at VFL level, and we’re excited to see what he can bring to this young, developing group.”
Newcombe will travel with the Hawks up to Sydney this evening, ready to make his debut under Friday night lights at the SCG.
The Hawks’ full Round 13 team will be released at 6.20pm tonight via hawthornfc.com.au.