Despite being less than a month until the start of the AFL Draft, almost all of the league's 18 clubs will believe their starting line-ups are close to complete

But irrespective of this confidence, every roster still has holes.

Due to the nature of the league, it is almost impossible for two sides to be in exactly the same place, so some of these gaps may be chasmic, whilst others may be wafer-thin.

However, if left unattended, those of any magnitude could lead a side to ruin.

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If you weren’t aware ahead of the trade period, you certainly are now – this rebuilding Hawthorn team is Sam Mitchell’s.

Make no bones about it.

After breathing down Alastair Clarkson’s neck before the Hawks’ squawking president removed the impasse, the car keys are now in the 39-year-old’s hands, and he isn’t looking to stick to any speed limits.

While the brown and gold’s brightest stars once again shone during a mostly dim year, Mitchell’s desire to ruffle feathers during the exchange period saw four of the club’s top 10 in the best and fairest offered up to rival clubs.

Although the proven names of O’Meara, Wingard, Breust, Gunston, and Tom Mitchell will remain amongst the youth that the Brownlow Medallist has prioritized fostering, will the same be able to be said this time next year?

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 03: Tom Mitchell of the Hawks recovers after a sprint during a Hawthorn Hawks AFL training session at Xavier College on December 03, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Despite the method of trying to shift so much experience from the roster appearing shrouded in madness, the decision was undertaken in as an unsubtle announcement that Hawthorn prioritized draft picks over veterans.

Given this stance, if offers actually arise for any of this quintet next season, you can bet your bottom dollar that Mitchell will be keen to sign on the dotted line to see them depart.

Add in the fact that the Hawks are likely to remain around the lower rungs of the ladder so as to claim an integral insurance selection, and a shift away from Waverley Park starts to look as though it may be a mutually beneficial option for all parties involved.

As it stands, Hawthorn’s list is in the commencement stages of a renovation.

The materials have been bought and dumped. The foreman is in place. A smattering of luxury appliances are ready for installation, but the framework is still open to the elements.

Several slots in the back 50 have been sewn up by names like Day, Jiath, Hardwick, Grainger-Barras. Their forward line looks to have found a focal point in Koschitzke. The recruitment of Max Lynch provides them with a rucking option for the future.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 14: Blake Hardwick of the Hawks and Alex Neal-Bullen of the Demons in action during the 2018 AFL First Semi Final match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the Melbourne Demons at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 14, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Still, with Mitchell and his list management team yet to truly tackle the refurbishment of the midfield, the Hawks’ house is still some time away from being hospitable.

While Hawthorn’s future skipper, James Worpel, is already key figure within their stoppage team, the next level of on-ballers such as Newcombe, Cousins and Howe are yet to truly entrench themselves in the engine room.

Even if it’s a position that many within their fanbase aren’t accustomed to, 2022 is set to be a holding year at Hawthorn.

As the modus operandi is, without doubt, a view for sustained success well into the 20s, expect to see several untested name rolled through the middle of the ground in an attempt to fill the voids that are almost certain to be created by Mitchell one way or another.

 

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