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“It won’t go away”: Five experienced Hawks in rivals' sights


Hawthorn could still be tempted to trade a handful of experienced players, AFL Media’s Mitch Cleary believes.

Having taken just one player in the first round between 2011 and 2018, the Hawks have added Will Day and Denver Grainger-Barras with their first-round selections consecutive National Drafts.

Cleary suggested the club will listen to offers for five players, two of whom played in the Hawks’ three-peat of premierships from 2013 to 2015, and three from Alastair Clarkson’s final tilt.

“It won’t go away,” he told AFL Trade Radio.

“Until the last day of the trade period comes, I won’t stop talking about these Hawthorn guys, given their need to fast track at the draft.

“They have one first round pick right now at 5, a couple of early second-round picks but I think ideally Hawthorn would like another first-rounder to help Sam Mitchell and his rebuild.

“As to who that is, well, we’re all working that out. There’s every chance they all stay, but I think clubs will definitely be enquiring on those guys.”

Five players were pinpointed as potential targets for other clubs.

29-year-old Jack Gunston kicked 31 goals in his last full season and can pinch hit in defence, while 30-year-old small forward Luke Breust kicked 33 goals over 19 games in 2021.

Onballers Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara, for whom the Hawks parted with first round selections at the end of 2016, are among the names Cleary confirmed.

The final piece is Chad Wingard, who arrived at Waverley at the end of 2018 in a swap involving first and second round selections, and 2017 Rising Star runner-up Ryan Burton.

“The Hawks don’t want to be seen to be pushing these guys out, because you lose leverage at the trade table,” Cleary went on.

“Look at last year with Adam Treloar, everyone knew (Collingwood) needed to get Treloar out and it hurt the Pies in terms of what they were going to get in return.

“The Hawks are just staying firm at the moment, but I would be surprised if all of those guys are at the Hawks next year, still, but there’s still a long way to go.”

Cleary believes the salary cap room cleared by the repositioning of the list could help the Hawks secure greater draft capital in exchange for providing salary relief to rivals.

“The other factor is Hawthorn has so much room in its salary cap, with Jon Patton and Tom Scully retiring,” he explained.

“I can see a scenario where a club comes to Hawthorn and says ‘we’ll give you a good pick for one of these guys, but you pay a portion of their wage.’

“It could be a win-win.”


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