Since their 2015 completion of a historic three-peat, Alastair Clarkson’s Hawks have been pretty ordinary for the most part.
Hawthorn started the year strong, with a Round 3 domination of the Tigers leading many to believe that the Hawks wouldn’t take long at all to rebuild.
However, going from a 3-1 record to 5-12 by seasons end is simply calamitous, and Clarkson would be questioning where it all went downhill for his playing group.
Round 3 vs Richmond: After coming off a ten-goal shellacking at the hands of the Cats in Round 2, the Hawks put in a commanding performance as they held the reigning premiers to five goals for the entire match.
Round 15 vs Adelaide: Adelaide hadn’t won a game for 14 rounds of the home-and-away season, so for any team who gifted them their first win, it would likely be their worst loss.
Enter Alastair Clarkson’s side, who were insipid on that Tuesday evening in Adelaide, and looked an absolute shadow of their former selves.
Jack Gunston: There is no question that the standout performer for the Hawks this year was their star forward. Playing as the lone main target in their attacking fifty for pretty much the whole year, the 29-year-old managed 31 goals in 16 matches and averaged 4.3 marks per game.
Will Day: Looks to be a fantastic prospect for the Hawks, with the 19-year-old making his debut in defence in season 2020. He is able to move up to the wing and be an influence too. An all-around athlete who is yet to fully develop.
NEEDS TO LIFT
Mitch Lewis: A breakout 2019 had the 22-year-old on track to improve even more in season 2020. However, a pre-season injury put the key forward on the back foot from the start.
Lewis only managed five goals in eight appearances for the Hawks, and will be hoping to have a better 2021.
INS AND OUTS
Kyle Hartigan (Adelaide)
Pick 42 (compensation)
Isaac Smith (Geelong)
Pick 65 (Collingwood)
2021 CRYSTAL BALL
The departure of Isaac Smith will definitely leave a gap in the Hawks midfield, and it’ll be interesting to see how Alastair Clarkson patches it up.
The addition of Phillips and Hartigan will do more good than bad, however it could be a while before the Hawks are featuring again in September, perhaps a 9th or 10th placed finish at best.