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Hawthorn Hawks: Dream Team Preview

The latest of the Club by Club Dream Team Previews comes from Thommo. He looks at the Hawks. Who are you looking at picking up?

This is the next of our submitted Club Dream Team Previews. Thanks to Thommo for sending this one in! You will receive a stubby holder and if your article is one of the two that gets the most Facebook “Likes’ (just above this blurb), you’ll get yourself an AFL Prospectus! Read on!

Hawthorn, the team constantly expected to do great things, has reached the crossroads. So too have many of the players now reaching their early to mid-twenties. 2011 is the year which will either showcase how good Hawthorn really is, or condemn the club as grand final pretenders. High draft picks – Xavier Ellis, Grant Birchall and Schoenmakers – and the stars of the 2008 – Jarryd Roughead, Jordan Lewis, Clinton Young and Rick Ladson – will carry the fortune of a team that has relied for too long on the hard work of a few core players such as Hodge and Mitchell. If these second tier players recapture the brilliance they have displayed fleetingly, Hawthorn will finish top four. If they don’t, the Hawks will stagnate at the wrong end of the eight until the Gold Coast juggernaut overhauls all above them in 2013/14. Word from the inner sanctum tells of a team embarrassed with their fall from prominence through injury, poor form and a bad game plan, not to mention the dismal loss to Fremantle in last year’s elimination final. Judging by the latter half of the 2010 season, expect a fast start to 2011 from Hawthorn and plenty more Dreamteam points.


The Hawks are part of the multibye in Round 6, and have their second private bye in Round 17.  If you ignore the away game against Adelaide in Round 1, Hawthorn has an easy run early so should start strong.


Last year Hawthorn had several undervalued players due to an injury riddled 2009 season with Luke Hodge the pick of the bunch. This year however, Hawthorn doesn’t seem to have much obvious Dreamteam value.


There is little to like about Hawthorn’s backline in Dreamteam. Few people will chose defenders from Hawthorn, with the following possible exceptions. Cameron Bruce is a proven Dreamteam scorer at Melbourne, but it is hard to judge how age and the move to Hawthorn will effect his scores. Considering the number of small backline players Hawthorn has, it is possible Bruce may be used in the forward line with short forays into the midfield this year, so check his preseason role before committing. Xavier Ellis is a high draft pick that has always threatened to have a break-out season, but injuries have held him back. As a junior he was a ball magnet and in the 2008 grand final he amassed 28 possessions so we know he is capable of big scores. After a relatively injury free 2010, and entering his fifth season he is sure to improve this year, but there is probably safer selections out there. Grant Birchall is a consistent scorer who should improve slightly in his sixth season, although he is unlikely to amass huge totals. He has indicated he wants a spot in the midfield, but is unlikely to ever achieve that goal. Kyle Cheney was targeted by Hawthorn in 09 and 10 so they seem to rate him highly. He is viewed as a Campbell Brown replacement, but scores better than Brown ever did. It’s hard to know how he will respond to the transfer to Hawthorn, but he’s a strong chance to improve so track his role in the preseason.

The only bench option is Jordan Lisle. Schoenmakers has trained in the forward line this summer, so a tall backman is needed to help Gilham stand the big men, and Gibson, Stratton and Murphy are too short. Lisle is a good chance to fill this role so he could be a good bench option. He is also a dual position player (D/F) to add to his appeal.


Hawthorn midfield appears to have some Dreamteam value this year. If you want consistency consider Luke Hodge and Sam Mitchell. First impressions of Luke Hodge indicate he probably won’t improve and you should look elsewhere for a premium midfielder. However he is a proud player and with the mantle of captain, he may explode, or die trying much like Boyd at the Bulldogs. Just watch him for injury; he would rather play with two broken legs than admit to an injury. Sam Mitchell dropped slightly last year and at worst he will hold his value this year. Relinquishing the captaincy will relieve the pressure caused by constant criticism from idiots like Brereton in 2010 and may rejuvenate Sammy in 2011.

The inclusion of Burgoyne and Hodge into the midfield changed the role of some players causing them to drop in value. Jordan Lewis spent more time forward last year, so his possession count dropped while his goal scoring increased, and overall he dropped in DT value. He’s a good chance to improve this year whether he plays midfield or forward and score between 90 and 100 weekly. Like Lewis, Brad Sewell was almost dropped last year and his possession numbers also dropped significantly. He’s on track this preseason to return to his best. Just watch his preseason as he has an uncanny knack for getting injured just before the season starts. After injury in 2010, Liam Shiels struggled to find his way back into the team. He loves to tackle and has dropped significantly in price, so he should improve if he can force his way into the best 22. He is a unique pick, but probably not as good value as some of the first year mature age recruits.

The best bench option at Hawthorn is Isaac Smith. Probably the most talked about mature age recruit of the 2010 draft, Smith is a certainty to play senior footy this year. The only question is how well he accumulates possessions, but he is definitely a player you should consider as your sixth midfielder or first bench player.

A smoky for your bench is Shane Savage. He is a bit of an unknown, but he has survived Hawthorn’s multitude of delistings so should play some senior footy this year.


There is little to like about Hawthorn’s ruckmen in Dreamteam, but perhaps consider David Hale. Hawthorn probably ‘overspent’ on Hale last year, so they must have grand plans for him to relieve Renouf in the ruck and spend a lot of time in the forward line. However he wins few possessions at ground level so he has little Dreamteam value unless he kicks a lot of goals, something unlikely in the same forward line as Buddy and Roughead.

If his body holds up a good bench option is Max Bailey, although it is hard to see how he fits in the team with Hale and Renouf, especially given the new interchange rules.


With all of the delistings last year, it is hard to know who is actually going to play forward for Hawthorn this year with only three players listed as forwards (ignoring DPP). Now that he wins possession up the ground, Lance Franklin has become a valuable Dreamteam addition to any forward line. If you pick him he will score well, but you will spend 22 rounds praying he doesn’t hit anyone in the head. Jarryd Roughead has shown glimpses of his talent, but he is capable of more and may produce it in his sixth year. Or maybe not. It’s hard to know with the big fella. Cyril Rioli struggled with fitness and taggers early last year, but excelled later in the year. However he is a risky choice this year, as Hawthorn’s lack of a crumbing forward may force Cyril to spend more time inside 50.

A possible bench option is Luke Breust. This guy is a gun, but he is only rookie listed and was unable to win a game with the seniors last year. If he is elevated, jump on as Hawthorn needs small forwards.


As a diehard Hawks man, I want to include two Hawks players in my team, but I am struggling to find value picks. There seem to be better options from other teams in every position on the ground. The safest selections seem to be Buddy up forward, providing he avoids suspension, and Smith on the midfield bench. Hodgey is a safe bet to stay consistent, although that may be my man-love speaking. The smoky is Cheney in the backline, although a poor preseason will rule him out.



  1. Avatar

    Big Lance

    February 6, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Paul Puopolo is an option for your backs bench.

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      February 6, 2011 at 10:25 am

      Yep, missing Paul is either a mistake or just Thommo trying to keep the lid on him to try and make him a unique pick!

      Think Hale is an interesting one seeing as we are going to have to have a backup for our rucks this year. Even if he isn’t a high scorer, could allow you to Multi-position him with Tippet or Petrie if you have them. It will also be interesting to see if his scoring goes up with more ruck work, something he hasn’t done in recent years! From looking at his stats over at Fanfooty in previous years, his average is like 20pts better when he plays some in the ruck. Its just a matter of him holding his spot. I have a feeling that he is going to be worth the money to have that support.

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      February 6, 2011 at 10:26 am

      Just having a look, the negative on Hale is that he has a bye the same week as 211! I guess though with the MP, if you have Petrie, slip him across to cover for you!

    • Warnie


      February 6, 2011 at 10:38 am

      Sorry, all of these articles were written before Feb.

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        February 6, 2011 at 10:45 am

        Fair enough. Paul was an outside hope after draft day, but still has to fight for a spot.

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    February 6, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Great write up, very unbiased. Although have a strange feeling Bailey could come into the side later in the season once he has a few games in the two’s. He isn’t up against much, lets be honest.

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    February 6, 2011 at 9:39 am

    which one do you reckon out of buddy, sylvia, goodes and pav?

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      Black Klaw

      February 6, 2011 at 11:16 am

      Col or Buddy, personally I am going Col.

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        February 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm

        Junior Boy. enough said

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      February 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm

      Col Sylvia would be elite by now if not for injuries. If he played 20+ games every year, everyone would pick him. Buddy is far more reliable (surely the Match Review Panel can’t screw him two years in a row) and picks up cheap possessions upfield. I think his worst score last year was approx 75 against the doggies, not bad for a key position forward.

      Goodes is fine, but starts slow so is an upgrade target for me. Pav is solid, but I prefer to err on the side of youth when deciding between gun players.

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    bingo bango

    February 6, 2011 at 11:35 am

    good write up, im tossing up between bruce and enright as a back premium at the moment. Rather have bruce as Geelong have round 22 bye. Will be hoping bruce can play that half back/forward role with some midfield time, will be watching NAB cup closely!

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    February 6, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Luke (punky) breust starred in the intra club Match on Friday so hopefully he gets some chances this year. Not sure if it’s enough to warrant selection in any dt but definitely looking good for hawks fans.

    I think max Bailey would be ahead of hale for a spot in the rucks because hawthorn must see a lot in him and have showed faith in him after years of injuries (3 knee reconstructions) and they have kept faith in him. He’s taken my 4th bench spot, along with zac smith from gc and I can see bails playing plenty of games this year considering he was ready to go late last year and the hawks kept him in cotton wool for this year. The best thing is he played the whole intra club match the other day and was looking good.
    Cheney and puopolo are also competing for a spot on my bench so I can’t wait for nab cup to see these guys in action.

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      February 6, 2011 at 1:44 pm

      Bailey is a genuine potential superstar. IF he stays fit, will be hawthorns #1 ruckmen and take a mountain of urine. Hale will have a huge season down at boxhill this year

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      February 6, 2011 at 10:34 pm

      The new interchange rule works against Bailey. Hale can go forward so he’s safe, but won’t score highly as he seems unable to bend down and pick the ball up; it’s either a mark or nothing in his case. Clarko would have to be pretty ruthless to dump Renouf after the good work he did for the Hawks last year (although he did delist Skipper). He is currently my fourth ruck, but wait and see his role in the NAB cup – and if the unlucky guy stays fit.

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        February 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm

        Clarkson will do anything to win another premiorship in his last season (i think by memory). He brought in Dew from retirement, he’ll dump Renouf.

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    February 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    please pick a combination from below:

    a) Def: GIlbert, Ruck: Sandi + Petrie
    b) Def: Connors, Ruck: Sandi + Petrie
    c) Def: Adcock, Ruck: Sandi + Cox

    other defenders are Goddard, Gibbs, Deledio, Duffield, Otten and Hepell

    • Avatar


      February 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm


  7. Avatar


    February 6, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Guys, I just want to know if a midfield that looks like this may work.

    Swan, Montagna, D Swallow, Gaff, Krakouer, D Heppel.
    (subs) Harris, Jacobs, Callinan.

    My forwards rucks and defenders are obviously all very strong
    and i still have 200 odd k left over.
    There are just so many decent cash cows in the mids,
    I’m really considering this format.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    • Avatar


      February 6, 2011 at 2:40 pm

      jacobs is under an “illness cloud” and probably a good idea to track all those rooks in the nab cup, it will give you a much clear indication to whether this “structure/tactic” will work.

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        February 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm

        cheers mate, will do.

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      February 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm

      I think the problem with really strong forward and backlines is that they still don’t score as much consistently as really strong mids.

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      February 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm

      Yeah i went for that format last year to start off with and i finished in the 600’s overall. So yeah obviously worked alright for me last year and i’ll be going for it again, just because of all the good midfield rookies this year.

      Also ive had a bit of trouble with donuts from my backs and forwards because of the not so good players not getting named for one reason or another. So I thought i would try and bolster up those areas this year…

      • Avatar


        February 6, 2011 at 10:10 pm

        exactly my thoughts,
        cheers for the input fellas

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    February 6, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Bit off topic here but…

    Served Matthew Boyd at work today.

    Taking it as a sign from the DT Gods to lock him in.

    • Avatar


      February 6, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      Well? We want details! Where do you work? What did he buy? If it was a food/beverage item was it nutritionally sufficient?

      • Avatar


        February 7, 2011 at 6:17 pm

        well I work at Carnegie North (Melbourne) Safeway.

        he bought a few veggies and a bit of mince. I remember thinking, “yep good stufff boydy, eat up your meat a veg so you will score me lots of points this year’.

        yeah he was with his missus, but i didnt say anything coz he didnt look like he was in a very good mood.

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    February 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Who would? Buddwould!

    Lock and load that bad boy fellas.

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    February 6, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Severe assessment of the Hawks here. He’s a bit less unbiased one.

    Forward: With the change in interchange rules, Rioli looks set to spend heaps more time in the middle and resting forward. His 3rd year break-out was curtailed by injury and he is certainly capable of big scores when he’s fit with seven scores over 100 from 20 games last year including a 130 and a 147. Tossing up between him and Buddy who will spend heaps more time up the ground this year and will be one of the top 5 forwards in the comp.

    Midfield if Hodge plays a few pre-season games and proves he’s starting at 100% I am locking him in. The “Spiritual One” (I hate that crap) is is over now, he is Captain and will wear that proud. Isaac Smith looks a possible lock if his pre-season is good mid or forward bench but he will probably be another Kayler-Thompson story. Mitchell not for me or any of the others much at all.

    Ruck : Bailey ruck bench maybe but I haven’t really considered that much (who cares about ruck bench anyway right). I hope he’ll and be number 1 ruck because Renouf is only average and I hope Bailey is better than him. Watch preseason. David Hale, I didn’t think about him much. He could find himself the substitute. At the moment I’m getting on Frazer.

    Backs: Puopolo possible bench if he is good pre-season. Bruce could be an elite dt defender this year (there’s no way he would have made my midfield) but he is 32 and fitting into a new side. I am biased and will probably take him. Forget the rest, unless you think Xavier Ellis is going to finally explode in his 5th year you probably can’t see him finishing in the top 10 backs in the comp and if you do you probably got burned by him last year like me.

    Hodge, Rioli or Franklin (I don’t want them both for the round 6 multi-bye) and Bailey locked, Bruce, Puopolo, Smith (his DPP is the carrot) possible depending on what looks to be the best 22 (is that 21 now?) and preseason.

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      February 6, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      JKT is a rude word in my house! I never want to hear his name uttered ever again. DT c*ck tease.

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      February 6, 2011 at 10:58 pm

      Yes, I can feel your love for the Mighty Hawkers, Tooves – are you a member too? I thought I would skip the biased approach or I may have made the DT talk readers sick with my love of Hodgeyyyyyy. By saying I don’t rate their DT value, I am not saying I don’t rate the team. Picking your squad is about value for money compared to last year and whether they are part of a group bye, not whether the players are good. I have a suspicion that the Hawks will start fast this year and end top 6, perhaps top 4.

      Players like Cyril, Hodge and Buddy are a marketing department’s dream, but will they improve? Despite the press, is their any room in the midfield for Cyril? At last count, Hodge, Sewell, Mitchell, Young, Burgoyne, Lewis, Bateman, Ellis and perhaps even Bruce spend time in the midfield, so Cyril is unlikely to spend heaps of time there, especially with the loss of so many small crumbing forwards. I reckon Clarko will have him play forward with forays into the midfield like last year, although the Hawthorn forward structure is a mystery at present.

      You’re right about Buddy; he’s cherry ripe, as is Roughie. Don’t know about Bruce; have to wait for preseason for him and Puopolo. Intraclubs are often misleading with many stars rested.

      • Avatar

        totes magotes

        February 6, 2011 at 11:46 pm

        I would rate Cyril above all of those midfield players you listed bar hodge and mitchell. Very similar situation to Ablett before he exploded.

        • Avatar

          Black Klaw

          February 7, 2011 at 6:11 am

          Good call

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    February 6, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    @lions_23 how about instead of opting for gilbert or connors you get someone who is actually good like broughton or grimes

    • Avatar

      Black Klaw

      February 7, 2011 at 6:12 am

      Mark my words – Frothies Conners won’t be far from averaging 100+ this year.

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    February 6, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Anyone else see the article about hawthorn on the afl website? Makes rioli a lot more tempting..

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    February 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Will Hale play 22 games if fit???

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    February 8, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I have Cyril in my side. To Buddy or not to Buddy… that is the question!

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    February 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Roughead 288k I think i might make the same mistake I did last year with Barry Hall, same situation (underpriced potentially high scoring power forward), different player, different result? More than likely will do nothing special and stay in my side all season with high expectaions and pump out 1 100+ score so when I think of trading him I will think back on that game and keep him. Is it worth it Barry I mean Jarryd. the first score he gets under 50 he’s gone.

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      February 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm

      He’s gone better options in that price range i’ve gone Zaha instead for the moment I have Fyfe thinking about Davis, still waiting to see Neon Leon pre season. Zaha or Davis dont do well pre season I will bring in a gun with that $180k i have left over.

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