Despite starting their season promisingly with a brave 40-point comeback win against the Bombers, Hawthorn have lost their last three to sit second last only to North Melbourne.
Ahead of a tough four-game stretch against the Demons, Crows, Saints and Eagles before the relief of playing North Melbourne in Round 9, Alastair Clarkson's side face the likely possibility of starting their 2021 campaign 1-7.
With no question toward the teams effort over the course of the opening rounds, it is becoming hard to ignore the lack of A-grade talent for the struggling Hawks outfit.
Striking similarities have been made between the current Hawks side and the Kangaroos in recent times.
With a middling side that were lost in between legitimate finals contention and rebuild, the Kangaroos under rookie coach David Noble have been forced into an accelerated rebuild that sees them winless after four rounds with a percentage of just 43.
Former Port Adelaide legend Kane Cornes has made the connection between the two sides, expressing his concern for the Hawks who find themselves in a similar position.
“Hawthorn are going to fly under the radar this week, but I want to put them on the radar. Are Hawthorn in danger of being North Melbourne in three years?” Cornes asked on SEN Breakfast.
“They are well coached, they give serious effort, I watched them yesterday and you can’t question their effort, you can’t question the coaching, you fight back when you’re under the pump, but they have more B-graders in their side than any team."
There is no doubting that Hawthorn have pivoted slightly away from their brand of building teams, with a number of young players coming into the system like Jacob Koschitzke and Tyler Brockman.
But they have still struggled to shake off their past mode of list building luring talent from other teams in the pursuit of remaining relevant.
With arrivals of B-grade players like Kyle Hartigan and Sam Frost in back to back seasons, as well as re-signing 38-year old veteran Shaun Burgoyne, Hawthorn's list is still plagued with players that provide short term competitiveness, rather than the long term success that comes with blooding in new talent.
"… it’s Kyle Hartigan, it’s Sam Frost, it’s Jaeger O’Meara, they are B-grade players coming into a side that is desperate.” Kane Cornes proclaimed.
“I reckon they’re so similar to North Melbourne (three years ago). They have the least amount of A-grade talent under 25 in the competition, the Hawks.”
The Hawks face the undefeated Demons in their upcoming Round 5 clash at the MCG on Sunday.