21/04/2024

Nick Watson to make his AFL debut on Saturday. (Photo: Matthew Haug)

Hawthorn has announced that first-round draft pick Nick Watson will make his AFL debut when the team faces Essendon in what will be a new look-forward line for the Hawks. 

Hawthorn’s first-round draft pick Nick Watson will make his AFL debut when the team faces Essendon in what will be a new look-forward line for the Hawks. 

Watson was taken at pick five in last year’s draft and has been on track for a round-one debut for a while after an impressive pre-season. 

Watson is known for his pressure inside forward 50 and has been given the nickname ‘The Wizard’ due to his ability to create special things in attack. Coach Sam Mitchell isn’t going to be putting any high expectations on the 19-year-old but is excited to see Watson don the brown and gold. 

“He has just turned 19,” Mitchell said. 

“I think if you look at every other first-year players there are some ups and downs in their journey. Nick is going to play some really good footy, I don’t think anyone doubts that, but is he going to play well every single week and be a 50-goal first-year player? I hope so, but I wouldn’t put that sort of expectation on him. 

“I think what he has been able to do on the training track has been nice and consistent and it’s just not goals, it’s pressure and other things he does around the ground. He is an exciting player for us.”

Nick Watson at Hawthorn training (Photo: Hawthorn/supplied)

General Manager of Football Rob McCartney said Watson had put his best foot forward over the pre-season to earn a Round 1 selection.

“Nick has had a really strong pre-season and through match-play and practice matches he has been able to transfer some of his special skills in training into games,” McCartney said.

“At just 19 years of age, we understand he is still a young and developing player, but he’s got some attributes that are going to be really exciting.

“I think our members and fans are going to get a lot of joy out of watching him in the brown and gold over a long period of time.”

Hawthorn fans will be excited to see small forward duo in Watson and new recruit Jack Ginnivan who many have wreaking havoc in the Hawthorn forward line in 2024 and many years to come. With the pair set to team up with Luke Breust and fellow new recruit Mabior Chol up front for the Hawks. 

Hawthorn will begin the season against Essendon on Saturday afternoon in what is set to be in front of a blockbuster crowd.

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