Hardwick picks up Hawk gongs
HAWTHORN’S decision to hand Luke Hodge’s famous No.15 jumper to Blake Hardwick this year has been justified after the 21-year-old capped a breakout season with a second-place finish in the club’s best-andfairest count.
Midfielder Tom Mitchell won the award for a second year running — no surprise after his Brownlow Medal win.
Fellow All-Australians Luke Breust and Jack Gunston also featured in the top six.
But Hardwick’s result turned heads with the hardnosed defender having not polled a Brownlow Medal vote in 44 career games and not placing in the top 10 in last year’s best-and-fairest count.
Known for his flowing mullet, Hardwick also collected the club’s most promising player award, averaging 16.4 disposals and 4.5 marks.
Midfielder Jaeger O’Meara finished fifth in his second season at the club, having played 21 games after managing just six in 2017 due to injury.
Defender Ben Stratton, who was considered unlucky to miss the All-Australian squad of 40, was seventh. Captain Jarryd Roughead and Shaun Burgoyne did not make the top 10.