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Hawthorn Hawks: AFL Dream Team Picks

Dunny gives us his 5 Hawks that he has on his watchlist. With a massive chance to win the flag this year, there aren’t too many rookies to look at but there are a couple of ripper blokes that are a huge chance to be top 5 in their respective positions. Which Hawthorn Hawks are currently on your AFL Dream Team watchlist?

This series of ‘club preview’ posts are written by DT TALK regular contributors choosing their 5 players they have on their watchlist from the respective club. These aren’t who we think will be the top 5 highest scoring players… and are not necessarily in order. They are just our opinions of the 5 players who we have on our watchlist heading into the 2012 season.

Dunny’s Five from the Hawks

1. Lance Franklin (FWD), $503,000

You can’t look at the Hawks and not have Buddy at the top of the list.  Buddy is the main target up forward for the Hawks who will stray up to the midfield if he isn’t getting the ball.  So he is prepared to go and chase points!  He should average over 100 yet again this year and with Gunston up forward who is a fairly solid guy who will demand a bit of respect from defenders, Buddy may not get double teamed quite so often.  Just watch out for the Free’s Against.  Buddy has never met a head he didn’t want to elbow (well not entirely true) but white line fever is something he catches often, so if you can put up with a few lost points and the odd game to suspension, Buddy should be one of your first forwards picked.

2. Sam Mitchell (MID), $554,000

The Extractor just racks up the possessions and the points.  He averaged 112 last year and I can’t see this changing at all this year.  He is the main focus of the midfield for the Hawks and is often used as a link up guy across the middle when they are coming out of defence.  The other thing about Sam is his consistency, he played almost every game last year (only missed one) which is critical when you are selecting a premium priced midfielder.

3. Grant Birchall (DEF), $443,500

Grant really shot to prominence last year and was one of the higer scoring defenders.  This was partly due to the role that he played and the high possession style of game the Hawks often employed when bringing the ball out of defence.  He averaged just over 7 marks a game which tells me he is getting plenty of it!  You will often see Birch streaming out of defence or down the wing looking to hit a target up forward.  I can’t see this changing this season and I expect him to at least keep his average of 89.7 from last year.  For many it is a toss up between Birchall and Suckling, but for me it is Birchall.

 4. Luke Hodge (MID), $467,300

Hodgey is a known scorer.  He was hobbled at the start of last year with an Achillies injury which really affected his time on ground and his scoring (6 of his 8 tons for the year came in the back half of the season).  Yet he still managed to average a nice 94.5.  His price is reflective of his scoring having been affected during the start of the year and this represents an opportunity for us to pick him up a bit cheaper this year.  The hard part is being sure that his body is right and the fact that there are so many options in the midfield that you need to be sure that he is going to get back to that 100+ average that he has had in the past.

5. Cyril Rioli (FWD), $429,700

The boy can play.  Let’s get that straight up from the start, and we all love to watch him.  Cyril has exquisite skills and often will have the ball on a string and the opposition mesmorised.  However, there is one thing that lets him down and that is his body.  Two hammy injuries last year slowed him, but if you look at the last few seasons, he tends to average no more than high 80’s yet we see him in a lot of teams because of his potential.  If he can break free in the midfield, have his body stay right for him all year, then we could see his average go up.  It all comes down to when the stars will align for him.

Others on the radar.

Last year we saw the breakout of Isaac Smith but at $408k and as a mid only, he is just too awkwardly priced for me.  Liam Shiels is another that is worth a keen eye, at $508k though as a mid, once again I think there are safer and better options out there.  Another name that I have seen floating about in a few blogs and I am not sure that I could pick him is Shaun Burgoyne.  Whilst he does have Mid/Def eligibility this year and is only priced at $354k, I think his best days are behind him and he has had troubles getting his body right some weeks, but he just doesn’t score enough for me and I don’t think you should be considering him for your team.


Hawks DT TALK League: 438347



  1. giants

    March 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Hawthorn’s team is pretty settled at the moment, so there aren’t going to be any bargains on offer this year. They’ll probably be the highest scoring DT side this year though, so their premiums are definitely worth considering.

    Franklin and Birchall for me.

    • Blazinup

      March 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      Bouman looks like he may hold down full back. Has good skills too.

      • Kevin

        March 15, 2012 at 8:23 pm

        He will keep his spot until Gilham comes back. Then it’s off to Box Hill. He was fantastic against Melb but barring any more injuries to key defenders there isn’t any room for him.

        • leathermad

          March 15, 2012 at 11:03 pm

          What round is Gilham due back?

  2. John lawrence

    March 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Gunstan is a lock in my fwd line, i think he will play well this year.

    • Dunny

      March 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm

      Yeah I reckon he could be good, just wait and see how things go this week. Hasn’t made it into my team yet though.

  3. Phil Fisher

    March 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Thanks Dunny….thoughts on Boumann!

    • Dunny

      March 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      Would be a bit risky for me, he has played well in a couple of NAB games, but I think there are guys out there with more Job Security. Having said that, he is getting a run this week in the squad so will be worth watching. I just think he may get squeezed out or be a vest candidate.

      • Lex

        March 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm

        He will play full back all year! Won’t score that highly though

  4. Pettiger

    March 15, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Good picks Dunny. I have Buddy only at this stage.

  5. madhawk

    March 15, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Thanks for the write up dunny. I think with the whole max Bailey injury and rough coming back David hale may be one to watch. Go the (mad)hawks!!!!

    • Dunny

      March 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      Yeah Hale may jump up the order a bit for some people. I had written this before the injury was fully known, would have put him in the Others to consider section. I will be having a close watch on him this week.

      • Hill End

        March 15, 2012 at 12:38 pm

        Agree – A fit Hale at $340k with DPP now becoming the No.1 Ruckman I would think worth a punt for at least the first half of the year

        • madhawk

          March 15, 2012 at 1:24 pm

          He will be rested forward and with all the attention on buddy and roughie he will find some space and kick a few. Not in my team at the moment but the hawks v dockers will be studied by a few people this week including myself.

          • Magpie28

            March 15, 2012 at 11:35 pm

            What about the likes of Macauley and Pattinson… surely one of them will get the call up and be a steal at their price? Could be a good R4 and POD from cookie cutters Stephenson and Redden.

  6. imofm

    March 15, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Thanks Dunny. Agree with everything BUT i am a believer in Burgoyne. He’s not yet 30 and has been performing well in the NAB.

  7. Genghis Khan

    March 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Good write up Dunny. Franklin locked in for me and at the moment the only other I would consider is Birch. WIll come down to him and Lids.

    • redcan

      March 15, 2012 at 12:31 pm

      Yeah currently have lids but thinking about the birch train now

  8. Totto's Immortals

    March 15, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    Only Hawk I have is Jordan Lewis in the forward line… They’re just so expensive ever since they played their slutty style last year!

    • Totto's Immortals

      March 15, 2012 at 12:38 pm

      Oh and I do have Burgoyne in my backline aswell

    • Hill End

      March 15, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      Agree – the slutty possessional style is what wins DT, cant see that changing therefore why not get onboard?

    • madhawk

      March 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      Fatty can I borrow your crystal ball? I want to know what week/s swan will go to arizona this year? Imagine if he had a week off on either side of his bye…

      • madhawk

        March 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm

        Oops sorry wrong thread
        Please refer one post down*

  9. Fatty McButterpants

    March 15, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    only problem with birchall is he will be rested during the dt finals, when we’re all low on trades and need a win / high score

    • Goaled Finger

      March 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm

      I don’t know that Birch will be rested at all. The major reason so many Hawks were rested in rd 24 last year was the trip to QLD, plus their position on the ladder was set.

    • tuppy

      March 15, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      well that would go for all the top dters from hawthorn..ill worry about that when it comes,its hard enough to get to the finals (for me) in our league lately

    • Kiwiii

      March 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      Any player from any club could be rested at any time for any reason! I think that while it is a reasonable concern, we can complicate things a bit much and trying to predict such an outcome is impossible. DT requires enough luck as it is. It makes it even more important to keep trades up your sleeve, it’s always been that way.

    • Fatty McButterpants

      March 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      all true, boys, but with the hawks playing port and gc during the dt finals, would it not be better to have suckling instead? i doubt he’ll be rested.
      re guns from other clubs also being rested, i think clarkson is the worst offender. buddy is hawthorns only must have player but he is compulsory because he will rip your guts out if you dont have him. (mitchell in a champion but there are plenty other mids that can score similar to him that wont get rested)

      • Kiwiii

        March 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm

        Hawks last 4 rounds

        Port (Aurora)
        GC (MCG)
        Sydney (SCG/ANZ)
        West Coast (MCG)

        After seeing that, the Hawks are every chance to rest players v Port and GC

        Even so, you don’t know who will be rested! For me it’s a toss up between Birch and Deledio anyway and I would like to see how Lids is travelling after this weekend

        • Kiwiii

          March 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm

          … If Birch DOES play those games, or any other hawk for that metter, expect 100+. That’s the ol’ flipside

      • Goaled Finger

        March 15, 2012 at 4:02 pm

        How is Clarkson possibly the ‘worst offender’ when it comes to resting guns? Last year’s Gold Coast game is the only one I can remember where he’s gone with the philosophy.
        As I said, much of that came from not wanting the trip to QLD a week before finals.
        The previous year they used a full strength side against Freo and Collingwood in their last 2 rounds, while their opposition were resting.

        • kelonwheels

          March 15, 2012 at 10:05 pm

          was that the year that they sent the twos to play freo in launceston?

          • Goaled Finger

            March 17, 2012 at 10:02 am

            That was the year Freo sent their twos to Launny and the Hawks smashed them by 100+

    • Antipasto

      March 16, 2012 at 1:00 am

      Too many variables to predict that.. They might need the wins/percentage to seal top 2/4/8. Suckling might do his ACL in round 2. Buddy might be out of form and dropped.

      Jump on the Birch train!

  10. Fudgey

    March 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Hey there

    I know this post doesn’t really belong here, but time is getting a bit short. Hopefully Calvin, Roy or Warnie (being teachers) read this ….. I am trying to get my home group to start up a league and enter the schools competition as well so…..
    I can’t find the link where you set up as a school, or even enter the schools comp…..?
    Also there are 24 in my home group so they can’t fit in an 18 team league..

    If anyone knows the answer please let me know asap?

    Cheers Fudgey

    • Warnie


      March 15, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Hey mate (happy lunch break… way to find 5 minutes – it’s tough!)… anyway, if the kids log in with their DOB, DT detects it and they can then select their school. The thing that sucks is that we can’t see it unless we lie about our age… and then we would probably get put on some register and never be allowed to teach again! ;) haha… I wish there was a better way!

      • Fudgey

        March 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm

        Cheers Warnie,

        P.S. will lie about age


        • Fudgey

          March 15, 2012 at 3:18 pm

          Actually Warnie

          When they log in, a kid had a go, do they select public or private league??

          • Warnie


            March 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm

            Click on the schools thing on the side… (it’s not in leagues).

  11. radar

    March 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    The Freako notes Mitchell has only played 1 NAB game so far? I did watch and he was all over it as usual 93 Dt pts but appears sub or bench for the other 2.

    Any news – Is Sammy hiding something or just taking it reeeeally easy in the lead up…

    • Dunny

      March 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm

      Just taking it easy I think.

  12. Kiwiii

    March 15, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Just read an article on and as expected Roughy won’t be in the ruck for a while yet, Hale looks tasty but I don’t want to jump on him from one game.

    In saying that I have him as my #2 ruck for now with Cox giles redden. $234k in the bank though and if Jacobs plays well in the NAB GF he could be my #2.

    Depends on Masto too though as he’s my mid4 right now! If he stinks it up this weekend he’s out.

    • Kiwiii

      March 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      Actually no Jacobs because I don’t want three rucks out rd 11 unless i upgrade giles but theres no point in three premo rucks

  13. RossFC

    March 15, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    If you look at Burgoynes DT history. He aves about 80-85 most years. Last years 71 is nothing but a down year. He should improve a bit.

  14. Bullets

    March 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Hay, First time responder, long time reader,

    thanks for the article, just confirmed what i had suspected. i have 4 of the 5 mentioned names in Franklin, Mitchell, Birchall, and Rioli, and am even contenplating getting Suckling. The way i see it is the Hawks are the biggest sluts in DT, they make the girls who work Kings Cross look like virgins!. so i say why not load up on the sluts!!! What are your thoughts Dunny, is 4-5 sluts to many??

    • Genghis Khan

      March 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      You have such a beautiful mind….

      • Bullets

        March 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm


    • Dunny

      March 16, 2012 at 8:11 am

      You can never have enough of them!

  15. This Is Smelly Pete

    March 15, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Buddy is a lock, and looking at Boumann and Burgoyne in Supercoach only.

    – Smelly Pete –

  16. Bandicoot

    March 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Hawthorn are one of those tough teams to pick from this year. Unlikely to see a Smith/Puopulo pop up this year and the fact that they scored so well in DT last year, you are going to pay full price for Hawthorn players picked this year.
    Buddy is the only lock my squad in my team at the moment although I am considering replacing Deledio with Suckling. Want to see how Dids goes this week.

  17. Kiwiii

    March 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Just saw the new AFL ad – it is shit.

    Judge for yourself

    • Warnie


      March 15, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      I think they must have overspent on the awesome one with the Dropkick Murphy song playing in it.

    • redvest

      March 17, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      That ad is excellent.

      Please explain why you think its shit.

  18. Vishnu27

    March 15, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Nice one Dunny & shouts-out to all the other hard working DTTalk crew for giving us plenty of worthy, free food-for-thought. Only Franky for me at this stage. Although, Deledio could easily become Birchall before the 2nd lockout. Sam Mitchell will be an upgrade target again for me this year.

  19. Big Lance

    March 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Any spots left in Hawks league?

  20. Bilby

    March 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Great article (better not say anything else)

    Birchall still in the mix for my team, but other premiums too expensive. Can’t see how Buddy improves greatly on last year, no matter where he plays. As for mid-priced players, Burgoyne and Rioli I don’t trust due to injury, Lewis ditto for suspension (and there’s a plethora of FWD DPP’s not to risk it).

  21. Birdy

    March 15, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Hawks play sydney round 22 and west coast 23 so i doubt they will be resting players then considering the WC game could be for 1st or 2nd spot on the ladder, they could rest a couple against gold coast round 21 but hopefully you get a week off leagues then and it shouldn’t be a problem :) just something to keep in mind

  22. Kevin

    March 15, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Great write up Dunny! Love your work champ. I’ve locked in Birch and Buddy. Suckers might be an upgrade target. I know he had his first uninterrupted preseason last year. With two preseasons in a row it should really improve his fitness. All good for his handball receives!
    Unfortunately Gunston is at too much an awkward price for my liking.
    You are spot on about Rioli IF he could just get his body right!
    If I had the balls I’d look at Hale. He takes marks, kicks goals and now will be spending a lot more time in the ruck. I wouldn’t be surprised if he averaged in the high 80s to low 90s.
    Anyway thanks for your write up!

  23. Rossjc

    March 15, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    My dilema is who to pick out of Birchall or Suckling. Any ideas out there?

  24. rainman

    March 15, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Just realized not one hawk in my team… Birch has been in and out and because of that R13 bye will probably stays out but I think he will have a good year.

    Yes that means I don’t have Buddy…gotta take a chance to wear the winners pants!

    • Antipasto

      March 16, 2012 at 1:03 am

      Take a punt on Lecca, certainly unique!

      • Rossjc

        March 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm

        Who is Lecca????

  25. Mick

    March 15, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    what about suckling?

    • hawkers2012!!

      March 17, 2012 at 8:03 am

      The only thing is he hasn’t got the job security like a player like, say, Birchall.
      If you wanted a Hawks defender Birch would be your first pick. He is expensive but is most likely to improve this year.

  26. Rossjc

    March 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Im leaning towards Suckling for improvement.

    Also ideas on Lewis in mids.

  27. hawkers2012!!

    March 17, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Got Buddy, Mitchell, Birchall — all keeps.
    Just a question mark over Gunston. With Roughy coming back, Hale in great form and obviously Buddy… what happens to Gunston?

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