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David King’s takeaways from Hawthorn training in January


David King has continued analysing pre-season training at a number of AFL clubs this summer and on Thursday morning he attended Hawthorn’s session at Waverley Park.

The Hawks undertook a match simulation during the session, allowing King to get an idea about how their best side looks and how they’re set to structure up in 2024.

King’s first note was a couple of positional shifts, with Changkuoth Jiath moving from defence to a wing and Connor Macdonald and Cam Mackenzie shifting into full-time midfield roles.

He also noted that Bailey Macdonald - who has played just two AFL games so far - looked terrific off half-back.

“Jiath moves to a wing, which I love,” King posted on X.

“Connor MacDonald and Cam Mackenzie looked terrific as true mids. Bailey MacDonald looks a ripper at half-back.”

Most of all though, King was taken aback by how potent the Hawks can be when the ball hits the ground inside 50.

That potency comes on the back of off-season arrivals Jack Ginnivan and Nick Watson who add to a small forward group that already included Luke Breust and Dylan Moore.

On top of that group, King noted that Blake Hardwick could also feature up forward despite spending all of his 147 AFL games as a defender, while free agency recruit Mabior Chol adds some creativity heading inside 50.

“Breust, Hardwick, Watson, Ginny, Moore etc…..wouldn’t want to be an oppo defender denying loose ball gets - plus get your tackle technique right!!,” King posted on X.

“Chol up the field looks creative given his kicking skills.”

Down back, King was impressed by captain James Sicily who he feels is again Hawthorn’s best player.

Despite the promise, King still views the Hawks as a young developing team while also providing an update on two players that have been spoken about at length this off-season - Jack Gunston and Josh Weddle.

“Sicily awesome today and he’s again their most important player in ’24,” King posted on X.

“Still very young and lots of unanswered questions.

“Not sure how many games Gunston plays, not that it’s a massive issue.

“Josh Weddle’s run is terrific but just finds too many dead ends….still a work in progress.

“Excited for the future, but still plenty of time required.”

Hawthorn begin their 2024 campaign with a Round 1 clash against Essendon at the MCG on Saturday, March 16.

Photo: @HawthornFC Twitter.


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