Chris Newman reviews every forward’s season

Assistant Coach Chris Newman has provided his review for every Hawks forward’s 2023 season.

Luke Breust

“Punky played 21 out of 23 games this year and his season was rewarded with a selection in the All Australian squad. He’s ultra-consistent in front of goal, averaging 2.2 goals a game which is second only to fellow small forwards Charlie Cameron and Toby Greene. He has got a high work ethic and he really put a focus on honing his craft this year. The thing about Punky is he is always constantly trying to get better. He is one of the best, if not the best crumbing small forward in the competition, and puts in a lot of work to that. Not only that, but a lot of our other small forwards have joined in with him in trying to improve their craft too, which is a credit to Punky with the leadership he has shown. He had a really good year and hopefully he can build on that next year as well.”

Mitch Lewis

“Mitch played 15 games this year after missing the first six due to injury, but he had an immediate impact when he came back into the team. He straightens us up, he is a big target for us inside 50, and he found a very good balance between contested marking and marks on the lead. He averaged 2.5 goals per game, and was slightly higher with his disposals, inside 50s and goal assists, so he was getting up the ground a little bit more and enjoying that role later on in the season. Hopefully we see him have a full pre-season and then hit the ground running from Round 1 next year.”

Dylan Moore

“Moorey had a really consistent year. He played every game, averaging just over 20 disposals, which is a higher than last year. He was slightly higher with his goal assists too. He had a little bit of a dip with his scoreboard impact, but he was able to set up others which is what we really admire about him. He has a high work rate and played a few different roles as a small forward – he played higher up the ground to help generate some really potent offense, but also tried to stay around goal and get to the feet of the talls. He did play a little bit on the wing too, and his running power was able to help us defensively and offensively. I think one thing that he really has improved on this year is his leadership. He’s a natural leader, but he put a bit of time and effort into developing that further this year, and he’ll look to build on that as he progresses throughout his career.”

Chad Wingard

“It was really disappointing that Chad finished his year with an injury because he was having the best patch of footy that I’ve seen him play at the club. He was having a real impact between the arc in setting up scores for us which is his main weapon. His goal assists have gone up on average this year, but also, he was really dangerous around goals himself. His effort and intent around the contest was outstanding and he provided another target for us going inside 50. He’s got a bit of a stint on the sidelines now to try and get his achilles right, but I was really impressed with what he was able to produce later in the year.”

Connor Macdonald

“Connor had a really consistent year. He played 21 out of a possible 23 games predominately as a high half forward. He provided us with some great run, he has a really elite engine. He showed that he can play multiple positions, he played a little bit in the midfield and learnt a lot about that side of his craft. He also played a fair bit on the wing for us as well. It was great to see him add another string to his bow in just his second year. He averaged 17 disposals, which is up a fair bit from last year. His scoreboard impact jumped as well. I was really happy with Connor’s year, he has got a lot to build on coming into his third pre-season.”

Jacob Koschitzke

“Kosi played the 12 games for us this year in a couple of roles. He was our second ruck at times and did that fairly well considering it was his first go at that. The other role he played was being our only real genuine key forward. So, when we played a smaller front half, Kosi was our target going inside 50. When Mitch Lewis, Lloyd Meek, Brandon Ryan and Denver Grainger-Barras joined him, they worked really hard on creating some chemistry together. Kosi averaged 1.5 contested marks which was one area he really put a lot of work into in the off-season and saw the benefit of that particularly later in the year.”

Brandon Ryan

“Brandon was able to have an immediate impact straight away after arriving to the club following the mid-season draft. He was able to hit the scoreboard at VFL level and wasn’t overly accurate early, but then turned that around to string some really good performances together at Box Hill. He then put his hand up to play at the senior level and showed something straight away, he averaged two contested marks a game and ended up kicking four goals in only three games of footy. He’s another one that shows a lot of raw talent and always tries to absorb as much information as possible. I was really impressed with what he was able to produce so far early in his career, so hopefully he can continue to build on that and again have a strong finals campaign for Box Hill.”

Fergus Greene

“Fergus really took his opportunity early in the year and he provided a real target for us. He knows where the goals are and leading patterns, providing an option for us is something he is really good at. He played 11 games for the year, and averaged 1.5 goals and 1.5 score assists a game. He has a high work rate, he put in a really strong pre-season and set himself up well. He worked a fair bit on his physique, power and speed and we saw a fair bit of that on display throughout the year. He’s another one who will play Box Hill finals now and I’m looking forward to the scoreboard impact he can bring there.”

Denver Grainger-Barras

“Denver was pretty new to the role, but really thrived at the opportunity of playing forward. He started his craft at Box Hill and kicked multiple goals, so continually he just kept putting his hand up to be selected. He had a real learning block and tried to work on his weapons which is his run and jump at the ball, and contested marking. Not only that, but he’s got quite good speed too. We saw him utilise his defensive pressure when the ball hit the ground and was very rarely beaten in a contest one-on-one. Still new in the tall forward role, I’m really keen to see how he goes in the VFL finals.”

Sam Butler

“Butsy played eight games this year and had a slightly higher disposal rate. He averaged two disposals and three marks more per game than last year. I love the pressure that he brings and the intent that he plays with. He’s blessed with speed and agility, which are really good traits to have as a small forward. He’s working really hard on his small forward craft alongside Breust and a group of the other younger forwards. His tackle pressure and scoreboard impact are the things that he’ll be working on. Hopefully he is another who has a good finals campaign at Box Hill.”

Tyler Brockman

“Brocky played the 15 games this year, up from his 11 last year. He had a few little setbacks with some niggles, but particularly early in the year he had a real impact for us, running and jumping at the ball. But with ball in hand he was able to take a few bounces and create between the arc as well. We love what Brocky is able to bring around goal. He is a natural crumbing forward and is an aerial threat also. His disposal rate went up slightly and he was able to kick a few more goals for us this year too. I’m happy with the improvement he showed throughout the season.”

Josh Bennetts

“I love the improvement Josh has shown from day one, he is ultra-reliable. Ever since he walked into the building, he has always had a really strong work ethic. He is one of those kids that wants to learn and absorb as much as possible. He is building on his game and output each week, always running the right patterns, but also being really clean with the footy and becoming a scoreboard threat when he gets around goal. It was a really good first year for him – a year full of learning – and hopefully he can have some strong impact in the VFL finals going into his second pre-season.”

Jack O’Sullivan

“I was really impressed with Sul’s small forward craft. He loves to ask questions and loves to absorb all the information that you throw at him. He’s got a really high work ethic and he is really tough. He loves to get front and square and always turns up at the drop of the ball. Unfortunately, an injury set him back in the back half of the season, but he should be really proud of what he was able to achieve in the front half. He is one of those small forwards who can build on his craft really quickly and hopefully he progresses strongly in the pre-season to set him up for his second year.”

Chris Newman reviews every forward’s season

Similar Posts