Ins: Ben McEvoy from St Kilda.
Outs: Lance Franklin to Sydney, Shane Savage to St Kilda, Brent Guerra (retired), Max Bailey (retired).
2013 Record – 1st on ladder – 76 points – 19 wins – 3 losses.
Stat Rankings –
Positive: 1st in points scored, 2nd in kicks against, 3rd in disposals.
The biggest story of the off-season – although St Kilda’s Clinton Jones setting a dwarf on fire pushed it close for me – was Buddy Franklin’s switch from Hawthorn to the Sydney Swans on a 9 year deal but with Jarryd Roughead kicking a table topping 68 goals in the 2013 regular season I don’t think the Hawks will miss Buddy too much.
The absence of Buddy, and the media circus which tends to follow him, may well spur their forwards Roughead, Gunston, Breust and Rioli onto even greater things as a group in 2014, while the midfielders contributed their fair share of goals in 2013 and there’s little reason to think that trend is likely to change.
The Hawks’ draw is predictably tough but they should be used to that by now and a possibly even tougher looking draw in 2013 did not stop them going all the way.
With Buddy strengthening the forward line at the Swans and Fremantle looking forward to a greater contribution from Pavlich and Sandilands, the Hawks are 3rd favourites to win the Grand Final in 2014. Sportingbet and Centrebet are a best-priced $5.25