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2007 preview: Hawthorn

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2007 CLUB DETAILS

Coach: Alastair Clarkson
Captain: Richie Vandenberg
2006 season: 11th - Won 9, Lost 13
2006 best-and-fairest: Sam Mitchell
Games Record Holder: Michael Tuck (426)
Goals Record Holder: Jason Dunstall (1254)
Brownlow Medallists: 4 - Col Austen (1949 tied), Robert DiPierdomenico (1986 tied), John Platten (1987 tied), Shane Crawford (1999)
Premierships: 9 - 1961, 1971, 1976, 1978, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991
Home Ground: MCG
Website: hawthornfc.com.au

2007 PREVIEW

Hawthorn's past five seasons might not have produced the results fans had hoped for, yet ever since Alastair Clarkson was appointed coach at the end of the 2004 season and Chris Pelchen (general manager – player personnel and strategy) returned to help revamp the club’s playing list, the club has undergone a significant transformation. The results haven't been immediate – nor can they be expected to – but Hawthorn's long-term future seems bright. The past three NAB AFL Drafts have netted some outstanding young talent, including Lance Franklin, Jarryd Roughead, Jordan Lewis, Xavier Ellis, Beau Dowler, Grant Birchall, Max Bailey, Beau Muston, Mitchell Thorp and Brent Renouf. This group will form the nucleus of a powerful team in the future, one which will ultimately aim for premiership glory. Patience is a must for this plan to bear fruit. Cool, calm and calculated decision-making must continue, which means the board must remain firm and focused on the job at hand and ignore calls for quick results. As for 2007, the Hawks have the ability to play in the finals, no question, but to suggest they must make the eight "or else" would be folly. Hawthorn could still get a passing grade without making the eight as long as its emerging players continue to develop strongly. What the brown and gold faithful can demand this year is progress; anything more will be a bonus.

2007 PLAYING LIST - COMINGS AND GOINGS

Additions:
Exchange period - received: -
Rookie elevation: Stephen Gilham, Ben McGlynn
Father/son selection: Josh Kennedy (Sandringham Dragons)
NAB AFL Draft: Jarryd Morton (Claremont), Garry Moss (East Perth), Brent Renouf (Southport), Mitchell Thorp (Tassie Mariners)
NAB AFL Pre-Season Draft: Josh Thurgood (Hawthorn)
NAB AFL Rookie Draft: Brett Collins (St Bedes), Sam Gibson (Box Hill Hawks), Matthew Suckling (Wagga Tigers)

Deletions:
Retired: John Barker
Exchange period - traded: Peter Everitt (Sydney)
Delisted: Matthew Ball, Luke Brennan, Harry Miller, Nick Ries, Josh Thurgood, Ben Kane (rookie), Lukas Markovic (rookie)

2007 BEST 22

B: Sewell, Gilham, Jacobs
HB: Brown, Croad, Guerra
C: Bateman, Mitchell, Birchall
HF: Crawford, Franklin, Vandenberg
F: Williams, Roughead, Dixon
FOLL: Campbell, Hodge, Lewis
I/C: Ellis, Clarke, Smith, Taylor
EMG: Ladson, Muston, Thorp

2007 PLAYER PROFILES

Max Bailey – Unfortunately, the second-year ruckman will miss the season after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in January. A big future.

Chance Bateman – Firmly entrenched in the club's best 22, his tenacity can be infectious. The speedy, skillful midfielder represented Australia in 2006.

Grant Birchall – Tall midfielder/defender who played 16 matches in his first season. By the end of 2006, he was playing super football. Massive future and will continue to blossom.

Tim Boyle – Now in his fifth AFL-listed season, he played just two matches in 2006 after 2004-05 were injury-riddled years. This is an important year for the key defender/forward.

Campbell Brown – Courageous and leads by example, Brown's versatility is a trump card for the Hawks – he can play down back, in the midfield and up forward. Represented Australia in 2006.

Robert Campbell – Set to emerge as the club's No.1 ruckman after serving a strong apprenticeship behind Peter Everitt. Can also man the key defensive posts.

Tim Clarke – Now firmly established as a member of Hawthorn's best 22, the midfielder/run-with player is also a fine leader. Expect another consistent season.

Shane Crawford (veteran - outside list) – One of the club's greats. Turns 33 in September yet remains a vital part of the midfield.

Trent Croad – Either at centre half-back or centre half-forward, he continues to be critical to the side's structure. Has matured into a fine player and at 27, still has plenty of footy ahead of him.

Zac Dawson – Put under the microscope for his performances at full-back in 2006, despite the faith of the coach. Only 21, he will be looking to take a step forward.

Ben Dixon (veteran - outside list) – The talented veteran forward will continue to play an important role after kicking a career-best 39 goals in 2006.

Beau Dowler – The outstanding key forward prospect broke his pelvis in a car accident before being drafted in 2005, yet still managed to play most of 2006, albeit in the VFL.

Xavier Ellis – Super midfielder-in-the-making. Combined his first AFL-listed season with school and VFL appearances. Expect him to make an early debut in 2007. Potentially a 10-year player.

Lance Franklin – A potential superstar, the athletic key forward has incredible skills for a big man. Could make a significant jump this year but is still young and needs time.

Stephen Gilham – Ex-Port Adelaide defender played four matches after being elevated from the rookie list in 2006. Likely to step up further in 2007, his fifth AFL-listed season.

Brent Guerra – Despite two suspensions in 2006, 'Goo' became an important half-back sweeper in his first year at the club.

Luke Hodge – Arguably the club's best player, the classy midfielder/half-back strung together two super seasons in 2005 and 2006. The newly appointed co-vice-captain is pivotal to club's fortunes.

Danny Jacobs – Sorely missed in the backline through the second half of 2006 because of a hamstring injury. The ex-Don will be a welcome return to the line-up this year.

Josh Kennedy – The Kennedy name lives on at Hawthorn following the recruitment of the versatile midfielder/flanker. Set to develop in the VFL with Box Hill.

Rick Ladson – After three injury-riddled years, the midfielder impressed by playing every match in 2006. Should continue to develop this season.

Jordan Lewis – Already an established member of Hawthorn's midfield, despite entering just his third season. A 10-year prospect who will continue to progress.

Matt Little – A forward who was an emergency three times in 2006, he is set to make his debut in this third AFL-listed season. A cousin of James Hird.

Ben McGlynn – Played four matches in 2006 and was elevated from the rookie list at the end of last season. The midfielder is likely to be given further opportunities this year.

Sam Mitchell – An expert at clearing the ball from stoppages, he is integral to the club's engine room. Last year's best-and-fairest winner has been named co-vice-captain for 2007.

Jarryd Morton – The younger brother of West Coast's Mitchell enters his first AFL-listed season. Midfielder/forward could debut in 2007 but more likely to develop in the VFL.

Garry Moss – Midfielder/forward drafted in last year's NAB AFL Draft. Captain of the Western Australia Under-18 team in 2006. Set to hone his craft for Box Hill.

Tom Murphy – Enters his third AFL season with eight matches under his belt. The tall defender is likely to gain further game time.

Beau Muston – Two knee reconstructions forced the midfielder to miss 2006. Needs time but will look to debut in 2007. If he can remain healthy, he has a bright future.

Michael Osborne – Played the opening four matches in 2006 before a foot injury ended his season. Small defender/midfielder who will be eager to bounce back strongly.

Brent Renouf – One of the leading ruckmen in last year's draft pool. Likely to debut given Bailey's injury leaves the club a ruckman short.

Jarryd Roughead – A key position player in the making either down back or up forward. Important to Hawthorn's structure, he is set to go up another notch.

Brad Sewell – Clearly one of Hawthorn's best 22, the underrated run-with midfielder played every match in 2006. Expect his consistency to continue this year.

Joel Smith – The 30-year-old defender adds experience to the line-up and will continue to be a leader in the backline. Now in his 13th AFL season.

Simon Taylor – A great opportunity looms for Taylor, with Everitt now at Sydney and Bailey injured. Set to be the No 2 ruckman behind Campbell.

Mitchell Thorp – Key forward taken with Hawthorn's first pick (No 6) in last year's draft. Set to debut this year and could play a good number of matches in first AFL season.

Josh Thurgood – Redrafted in December, the defender is courageous and hard at it, but adding weight to his lightly built frame remains a priority. An important year for him.

Travis Tuck – Entering his second AFL-listed season, the son of Michael had a year of development in the VFL in 2006, which is likely to continue this year.

Richard Vandenberg – Now in his third year as skipper, the veteran midfielder is highly regarded at the club and will continue to play a key role in the middle.

Mark Williams – Sharpshooting small forward topped Hawthorn's goalkicking in 2005-06. Again will be pivotal in attack, where his accuracy in front of goal is outstanding.

Clinton Young – Neat left-footer played 14 matches in his first senior-listed season in 2006. The winger is likely to take another step forward in his development.

Rookie List

Brett Collins – Half-forward/midfielder taken at No 6 in December's rookie draft. Set to develop with Box Hill in the VFL. Fine kicking skills.

Sam Gibson – Yet another Box Hill Hawk drafted by Hawthorn, the run-with midfielder possesses strong athletic ability. May press for selection at some point.

Luke McEntee – The only remaining rookie from last year, the ruckman suffered groin, ankle and back injuries in 2006. If injury-free, not without a chance to debut.

Matthew Suckling – Possessing excellent foot skills, the midfielder/half-back from Wagga Tigers is set to hone his craft in the VFL this season.

The views in this story are those of the author and not necessarily those of the clubs or the AFL
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