2020 Team Preview – Hawthorn

Written by Thommo on February 10 2020

Sorry, how did this get here?

In the last decade, CREATIVITY has been the key word for the Hawks. When injury or poor form struck, Clarko worked himself into a zen state and went to work shifting the magnets on the white board or completely overhauling the game plan.

Up became down, left became right, back became forward.

As a fan, I love this trait as it means we are always competitive.

As a Supercoach, it annoys the hell out of me!

There are few things worse than selecting a player in a position where they score well only to have Clarko swing them to a new, less SC friendly role.

Just keep that in mind and be cautious when selecting any Hawks players!


Lock and Load: Last season I said that  James Sicily (Def $509,900) had turned over a new leaf and was seeking to put the d*ckhead tag behind him. While everybody in the footy community still thinks he’s a flog (except Hawks fans who see him as the swaggering messiah), he did avoid suspension in 2019 so I am claiming that as an accurate prediction!

What’s not to love?

What I didn’t accurately predict was that Clarko was going to get creative.

For the first eight games of 2019 Sicily averaged 103ppg from 24 disposals and 8 marks per game, exactly the same stats as his stellar 2018 and only just shy of his 105ppg Supercoach average. I was pretty smug and giving a bit of the “I told you so” treatment to everyone who had doubted Sicily.

Naturally, that was when Clarko struck.

Firstly he dropped Roughead and Mitch Lewis creating an undersized forward line. Clarko was then forced to shift Sicily forward where he proceeded to really stink it up. It seemed that Clarko was the only person unaware that Sicily kicks more goals as a defender than a forward.

Then when injuries to key defenders meant our backline was undersized he made Sic play tall and man-up even though he’s just over 6 foot tall and we had tall defenders in the reserves.

All of that stuffing around with Sicily’s role dropped his average to 93.8ppg. Frickin’ annoying, right?

Well, this season I predict that Clarko has realized the errors of his ways! He has drafted Jon Patton to play with Mitch Lewis up forward and Sam Frost and Michael Hartley to play as tall defenders down back, freeing up Sicily to return to his loose defender role.

Sic WILL return to his swaggering best in 2020 and average 100-105ppg.

Feeling LuckyI have always rated Daniel Howe (Def-Mid $399,300) as either a good loose defender or tall midfielder but Clarko has refused to consistently play him in those roles. When he has played in those roles he has recorded the odd Supercoach tonne but too often he has been used as a tagger or lock down mid-sized defender. In addition, Howe fell out of favour in 2019 (possibly relating to his preseason hip injury) and was dropped between rounds 7 and 15.

As we have seen so often before, having the ability to score in Supercoach means nothing if you are used in the wrong role. With the return of Tom Mitchell and emergence of Worpel, there is no room in the Hawthorn midfield for Howe to do anything but tag so you’d have to be feeling really lucky to start Howe in 2020.

Money Makers: Will Day (Def $153,300), is an athletic rebounding defender with good skills who the Hawks selected at #13 in the 2019 draft. That they selected him so early indicates they rate him so he is a chance to play games in 2020, but given the Hawks’ tendency to blood kids in the VFL, don’t hold your breath. Considering the younger brother of Sam Day from the Gold Coast is only listed as 70kg (and 187cm) you’d think he needs to hit the weight room before he earns a debut!

A key position player, Jacob Koschitzke (Def $123,900) was selected in the 2018 draft at pick 52 so he has the advantage of being in the system for 12 months. 2019 was a development year where he was used at both ends of the ground, but whichever end he plays at, he will face an uphill battle to debut with Frawley, Frost, McEvoy, Patton and Lewis ahead of him in the key position stakes. And even if he does play, it’s unlikely he’ll score well enough to increase in value substantially.


Lock and Load: Last year Tom Mitchell cost  $700,800 and many of us were considering starting him. Yes, he recorded 3 scores in the 70s and one 90 when he was tagged in 2018, but the rest of his scores were juicy tonnes with a season high of 192 points.

Well, now we get him for $630,900!  The only concern is whether he will be fit for Round 1. Recent media reports indicate that he won’t be ready for Round 1, so watch the Marsh Cup. The usual rule applies: No preaseason, No Tom!

We’ve missed you Tommy!

Feeling lucky:  James Worpel ($527,000) has lost his forward eligibility, but that means he could be a decent pod in 2020. Priced at 97ppg, Worpel needs to score 108-110ppg to be a good midfield selection, but he has shown he can achieve that with his rampaging finish to 2019. After averaging 88ppg from Round 1 until Round 16, Worps suddenly cut loose at the end of 2019, averaging 115.7ppg over the final 7 matches of the season. He was so dominant, the Suns even tried tagging him with George Horlin-Smith in Round 22, to which he replied with 149 points!

Given he has only played 33 games in his career and is entering his third season, Worpel could step up again in season 2020. The Hawks aren’t a huge Supercoach scoring team so the return of Mitchell shouldn’t stunt his scoring: There are plenty of points to go around!

 Money MakerThe rumor mill is buzzing about Finn Maginness (Mid $117,300). A father-son selection in last year’s draft, Maginness has a great body size, elite endurance and an impressive burst of speed that could allow him to have an impact early in his career. As mentioned earlier, the Hawks don’t play many rookies, but don’t be surprised to see Maginness feature early. The only question will be where he fits into the Hawthorn midfield with O’Meara, Shiels, Worpel and Mitchell ahead of him in his preferred inside-midfield role.


Lock and Load: Move along! With Clarko pushing Ben McEvoy ($503,600) into the backline to finish 2020, you just can’t select him in your starting team, or even in your Draft teams in 2020.

Feeling Lucky: Jonathan Ceglar (Ruck-Fwd $417,000) has never set the Supercoach world on fire with a career high average of 77ppg in 2019. His mediocre average is mostly due to a lack of impact around the ground combined with sharing the ruck role with Pittonet and McEvoy.

However, to finish 2019 Ceglar played as a sole ruck in round 21-23 and averaged 96.7ppg from 16 disposals and 36 hit-outs per match. With Pittonet leaving for Bluer pastures and Big Boy McEvoy possibly spending more time in defence, Ceglar may continue at this elevated scoring rate. Add his new Ruck-Forward dual position eligibility and Ceglar could be an inspired, but crazy-risky strategy.

If he was $100k cheaper I’d consider it!


Feeling Lucky: I won’t lie to you: I hate Chad Wingard (Fwd-Mid $412,300). The only reason I am writing about him is to tell you I detest him because every season he tantalizes us with a few good matches as an inside midfielder.

In 2019 he had a limited preseason and debuted for the Hawks in Round 3. He showed glimpses of talent but was generally crap as he fumbled his way to a 68ppg average from 6 games between rounds 3 and 10. He then injured his tissue-paper hamstring in Round 11 on a superb 43 points.

When he returned in Round 17 he had almost reached an AFL standard of fitness because Clarko injected him into the midfield. It took him until Round 20 to get going but from Round 20-23 he averaged 26.5 disposals per games and 90.75 ppg. Despite that decent patch of form, he only averaged 75.9ppg!

The question in 2020 will be whether he remains in the Hawks midfield with the return of Mitchell.

Either way it’s a hard pass for Thommo’s Tribe who have no room for men who care too much about their hairstyles!

And they call Sicily a flog…

Money Maker:  The Hawks have quite a few forward rookies from the 2017 and 2018 drafts who are yet to debut. Of them, I rate Jackson Ross ($123,900) as the best chance of getting a game in 2019. He will need injuries or form issues to befall some key players, but after finishing second in total goals in the VFL in 2019 (35 total), Ross has the ability to play that medium height forward role.  Given he plays a Jack Gunston-type role and Gunston is currently injured, watch his preseason closely.

In direct competition to Ross is Mathew Walker ($123,900). A strong overhead mark, Walker wasn’t as proficient in goal scoring (14 disposals per match and 23 goals) in the VFL as Ross but he has the skills and ability to also play that third tall role. Considering the Hawks moved up the 2018 draft order to ensure they selected him, they will want to blood him soon.


Leave a comment / Scroll to bottom

19 thoughts on “2020 Team Preview – Hawthorn”

  1. Sensational, Thommo!

    “The Chad” hasn’t missed a session this pre-season I’m hearing, I’ve got a feeling he’s ready to have that breakout year!

    Impey running around without discomfort, hopefully we see him pre-bye as we really missed his run off half back

    Well overdue for a flag mate, what it’s been 5 years now 🙁


    1. It’s getting desperate Catta; It’s been so long since my 9 yr daughter has seen a Hawks Premiership!


  2. Nice work Thommo, starting Sicily expecting him to return to that juicy SC scoring role in defense. If a decent rookie shows up I’ll jump on. Aside from that I think you guys can wait a while for another flag.


    1. Cheers Luke. I wrote this piece a while ago but I am still likely Sicily. And I still think we are overdue for a flag…
      I think the Pies team review will posted soon.


  3. Very keen to get Worpel into my team this year, finished last year so strongly and has improved so quickly thus far in his career. I didn’t own him last year but I seem to remember people complaining he was 80-90 at 3QT and then struggling to ton up early in the year. I’ve seen reports he’s come back super fit and has had a completely uninterrupted preseason, so that alone has me thinking the 90s of last season could be 105s this year, even without improvement in other areas.
    The big question is how he goes with Titch back in the team, but as Thommo says, there’s plenty of points to go around and you just have to look at the doggies last season where Macrae, Dunkley and Bont all averaged well over 110.


    1. Some players take a while to mature but Worpel was mature at age 18. Obviously there is risk in selecting youngsters but Worpel should improve his average on 2019, perhaps not enough to be a top 8 mid to though…


    2. I have this niggling feeling that Worpel will be a good pick this year but still having a very tough time picking him at that awkward price. What you mentioned above Pinball about him fading out of games early in the season last year I believe was about his fitness base. He also butchered the ball terribly early in the year but seemed to perform better on that front as the year went on. Just my perception on things, I haven’t checked any efficiency data but I think both of these things improved as his running power improved.

      I feel like Sam Mitchell’s return to Hawthorn has been pivotal to Worpel accelerated development. Between Sam and Tom Mitchell, you couldn’t really have better role models when it comes to professionalism and getting the most out of your body. Worps seems to have the right attitude to me and I can see him increasing his average this year even with Tom back in the guts. Just don’t have the guts to pick him when you can get the likes of Oliver for about an extra 60K .


  4. Thommo, great work. I reckon Patton might be a great pod at F6. Hawks have done really well in recruiting recycled talls over the years, and he wasn’t recruited to make up the numbers. If fit and selected, he looks to have good js with roughy gone, and lewis no lock. R/f could be invaluable allowing Gawn to be carried early if need be (via Comden) and saving a trade, and he has the non GG bye. If big boy does play in defence, Patton also likely to get more time on the ball.


    1. The only thing I don’t like about my side at the moment is a lack of a R/F swing to cover a missing ruck…
      Kinda has to be Patton or Ceglar if I’m inclined to go that way.
      The last two years of Rucks barely missing a game has been quite the anomaly.


    2. Great call Wighty. I am embarrassed to admit I missed that Patton had ruck-forward status. #ShouldHaveGoneToSpecsavers

      I think Tim O’Brien will back up the ruck if McEvoy plays back, but Patton could still average ok if he plays a high forward role. Preseason watch!


    3. I read somewhere, maybe a track watcher report, that the Hawks medical staff suggested that Patton be moved up the ground from time to time to prevent him from going cold. Sounds a bit bizarre so take it with a grain of salt. Any Hawks fan heard similar?


  5. Great write-up Thommo.
    Sicily is currently floating between D1 and D2 for me. But ANY sign of Clarko displaying his PS antics (he did it last year) and he’ll be gone. Surely HAW’s off-season trading has put paid to that? We’ll see.

    HAW rookies tend to score well, but that again is tempered by Clarko’s innate ability to drop ‘em like a hat.

    I too like Worpel. Yes, Titch might be back but he won’t have had a full pre-season, seems to be struggling more mentally than physically after that horrible ‘break’ and as Thommo says, there are plenty of point to go around. Also think Worpedo’s age, another pre-season and that I’m expecting some improvement in HAW’s fortunes in 2020, all lead me to think he’s got big improvement ahead. And as soon as this year. His end to 2019 reads similar to Dunkley’s 2018 and we all know how that panned out after the magnets were shifted at the kennel. Will be watching the Marsh Series like a hawk!

    Thanks again Thommo.


  6. I’m keeping a close eye on ceglar this preseason, I really rate the big fella. If he gets that number 1 ruck role I’m confident he has the ability to be a top 10 forward this year


  7. Great to see you writing posts regularly during the pre-season, Thommo!
    Mitchell is a Top8 MID if fit…. he’s the only Hawk I’m considering atm……



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *