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George Hewett has swapped Moore Park to Princes Park, arriving at Carlton as a Restricted Free Agent signing. Picture: @sydneyswans on Twitter

George Hewett has swapped Moore Park to Princes Park. Known as uncompromising and reliable midfielder, what will Hewett bring to Carlton?

Carlton has made its first addition to the playing list under the tutelage of Michael Voss, securing Sydney Swan George Hewett. Hewett will swap Moore Park to Princes Park, arriving as a restricted free agent on a 4-year deal.

Taken in the 2013 national draft, Hewett has played 132 games for the Swans, including the 2016 Grand Final. Known for his steadfast reliability, Hewett has forged a career at the Swans as both an uncompromising tagger and a consistent ball hunter.

Carlton ranked 16th in clearances per game in 2021, the third-lowest in the league, so the acquisition of Hewett will provide much-needed depth to a skinny midfield at Princes Park.

Exactly what role will he be playing in the Blues line-up in 2022?

What role does Hewett play at Carlton? The Blanketer

Hewett has received widespread admiration from the media, his peers, and coaches alike for his sacrificial role in blanketing and tagging the opposition’s best ball winners. Dustin Martin, Patrick Cripps, Travis Boak, Touk Miller, and Jack Macrae are just some of the gun midfielders that Hewett has shut down in his career as a Swan.

With Ed Curnow entering the twilight of his career and looking set to move out of the midfield group in 2022, Hewett at 25 years old is ready-made to step in and fill that tagging role in the Carlton midfield.

It’s a role that Carlton has lacked in recent seasons.

Hewett’s inclusion to the Carlton midfield should take the weight off the likes of Patrick Cripps and Sam Walsh as he will be that option who can nullify the opposition’s most damaging midfielder.

An elite tackler, Hewett averaged 3.4 tackles per game in 2021 finishing with 71 for the season, including 13 in the Elimination Final.

Only three Carlton players laid more than Hewett in 2021.

One of the Blues’ biggest flaws in 2021 was their inability to defend the corridor and with the extra tackling pressure, grunt, and uncompromising nature of Hewett, his acquisition will be a welcome one at Princes Park.

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What role does Hewett play at Carlton? Not a one trick pony

While Hewett has made his name as an unheralded midfield brute who matches up on the opposition’s best player, he has proved over his career that he has multiple strings to his bow.

Hewett started his career at the Swans as a medium forward in 2016, kicking 18 goals in 24 games, and was part of the team all the way through to the Grand Final.

In 2021, Hewett filled a role in defence in the first half of the year and a medium-sized defender as Sydney made room to accommodate the move of Callum Mills into the Swans on-ball brigade.

Hewett was up to the slight change of role, averaging 3.4 intercept possessions and 0.6 intercept marks in the 11 games he was deployed as strictly a defender before going back into the centre of the ground when Mills was on the sidelines.

Who is Hewett fighting for a spot with?

Adam Cerra is widely tipped to join the Blues to further bolster the midfield stocks, so it would appear a certainty based on his accountability that Hewett is a starter in Carlton’s best-selected team in 2022.

The question for new coach Michael Voss and the match committee is how do they get the balance right between having enough inside and outside players in the midfield rotation.

Sam Walsh, Patrick Cripps, and likely Cerra will be walk-up starters in the Carlton midfield every week and the Blues will no doubt try again with Zac Williams in the centre of the ground as they recruited him to be a midfielder.

The Blues will also be looking to allocate midfield time to Paddy Dow, Matthew Kennedy, and Liam Stocker as they continue to build and develop their games in a new midfield and system.

Despite all the options, Hewett comes to Princes Park with a reputation of being accountable and unconditional. Two traits that the Carlton midfield has been lacking for a long time.

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