Hawks list manager Mark McKenzie stands behind trade period strategies

Hawks list manager Mark McKenzie is pleased with the club's business over the trade period. (Image: Hawthorn Football Club)

Hawthorn Football Club list manager Mark McKenzie is confident with the moves the club made during the trade period.

Despite just managing to bring in out of favour Collingwood ruckman Max Lynch to the club, McKenzie is pleased with the position the Hawks are in heading to the draft and was pleased with how the trade period panned out.

“We had some strategies going in with what we wanted to do, obviously that started with looking to bring a younger ruck coming into the footy club which we were able to get through with Max Lynch and improve our draft hand overall,” McKenzie told media on Thursday.

“The good thing is we already had a good strong draft hand from our point of view, we were looking to increase that. That could’ve been through picks, it could’ve been through players, but in the end we still have that ability to do that in the next month or so.

“But in the end we’re pretty comfortable where we sit with bringing in Max and also still having that strong draft hand.”

During the trade period, experienced Hawks were rumoured to be linked with a move away from the club with Jaeger O’Meara reported to have garnered interest from Port Adelaide, while Chad Wingard and Luke Breust were approached by GWS.

With all of them ultimately staying at Waverley, McKenzie has knocked back notions that relationships need to be repaired between the players and Hawks coach Sam Mitchell who was reported to have been open to moving players on during the trade period.

McKenzie says the the club has been open with its players throughout the trade period and that Bruest, O’Meara and Wingard are all on board and want to be part of the new regime under Mitchell.

“I think the best thing, especially the past couple of weeks is that we’ve been pretty open,” McKenzie said.

“Sam has been pretty open with the playing group, as a club we’ve been pretty open with managers, other clubs and the players who have been involved.

“I think it might be a strength in our group that we are open and honest with those players. I think they have appreciated that, and I think the biggest thing for us [is] they’re an excited, engaged and committed group and look forward to being under Sam for the next few years.”

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An offer from GWS for experienced goalscorer Luke Breust didn’t eventuate. (Photo: AFL)

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McKenzie also knocked back criticism that the club didn’t achieve what it set out to do during the trade period.

Though they were looking to improve their draft hand, the Hawks are still in a good position heading into the upcoming draft. The club currently holds picks 5, 21, 24, 59, 65, and 81.

“We’ve still got a pretty strong hand, that’s the way we see it,” he said.

“We’ve had eight picks over the last over the last 10 years in the top 30, and now we’ve got three [in the upcoming draft].

“Yes we wanted a better hand and explored that, [but] our strategy is not for one year, our strategy is over a three to four year period.

“So if it remains three picks inside the top 25 and then we’re able to get that over the next two years. That’s a strong development for our footy club, and a strong part of our list management strategy.”

McKenzie also commented on the Hawks new acquisition Max Lynch, believing the ruckman will have an important role to play in the side in 2022.

“It was just good to get in a younger ruck at 23 years of age combined with our list management strategy with what we want to do over the next few years,” he said.

“He can cover the ground really well, obviously he’s been sitting behind Brodie Grundy so we reckon he’s developed quiet nicely over the last 18 months.

“So obviously [he’ll] fight out with Ned [Reeves] and Benny McEvoy who we’ve obviously still got going around in that ruck space.

“Max’s ability to cover the ground for a big man is very impressive but he’s also very durable. I don’t think he’s missed any games at all during the last five years, he’s always been available.

“That development what he’s shown over the last 18 months has been really important and we think he can add a lot to our football club going forward.”

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