After being overlooked by three of this year's biggest off-contract commodities, Hawthorn is reportedly preparing to push for one of next year's out-of-contract star forward assets.
Amid a targeted rebuilding period, the Hawks capped a promising 2023 campaign that included toppling grand finalists Collingwood and the Brisbane Lions.
Key-position defender Ratugolea seems destined to wind up a Port Adelaide player this October, while fellow stopper McKay is understood to have chosen Essendon over Hawthorn, with the pacy, outside-running Henry also passing up the chance to nominate the Hawks in favour of St Kilda.
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While this year's recruitment drive has proven largely unsuccessful to this point and shapes as disheartening for the Hawks faithful, it seems the Waverley occupants are preparing a more substantial effort next year, when a host of big-name goalkickers come out of contract.
The Age journalist Marc McGowan has reported that the Hawks are 'forward-thinking' after missing on backmen Ratugolea and McKay this year.
Gold Coast's Ben King, Western Bulldogs pair Jamarra Ugle-Hagan and Aaron Naughton, and Port Adelaide spearhead Todd Marshall are all bound to contracts that expire in 2024, as McGowan surfaced the quartet as potential future options for Hawthorn, led by list manager Mark McKenzie.
King, the brother of burgeoning Saint Max, has continually been linked to a move home to Victoria, though remains in the Suns' grasp for the time being.
The Bulldogs should be desperate to retain Ugle-Hagan and Naughton for the long term, though Naughton, who originates from Western Australia, has been touted for an eventual homecoming after having played junior football for Peel Thunder.
Marshall, meanwhile, a less-speculated goalscoring commodity among this crop, hails from New South Wales but played in the TAC Cup for the Murray Bushrangers prior to his drafting in 2016.
McGowan added the Hawks were intrigued by North Melbourne's Nick Larkey before the deadeye recommitted at Arden Street midyear.
While there's still plenty of time for Hawthorn to plot moves for the 2023 exchange window, it seems increasingly likely their attention has shifted to next year's crop of potentially available talent.
However, the Hawks will go into this November's draft planning to come away with multiple promising youngsters; currently holding picks 3, 30, 49, and 78.
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This year's player movement space is just around the corner, with free agency kicking off on October 6 before the trade period commences on October 9.
The first round of the 2023 National Draft is scheduled for November 20.