Blake Hardwick continued to prove himself as a vital piece of Hawthorn’s defensive line in 2020. One of the club’s most trusted ball-users out of the back half, Hardwick operated at a highly impressive 84.1% disposal efficiency this year. The 23-year-old combines this class with ball in hand with a hard-edged defence. Hardwick averaged 8.6 pressure acts through his 16 appearances this year.The defender was one of the game’s greatest beneficiaries from the two-and-a-half month suspension between Rounds 1 and 2. Injuring his pectoral muscle in a pre-season game against the Saints, he was slated to miss three months on the sidelines and likely the first 10 games of the season. But, as it panned out, Hardwick missed just one game, making his return in Round 2. Though his stats were strong, his impact was arguably slightly down on year’s gone by, though given his fast rise it’s easy to forget Hardwick is only 23 years old. Look out for him to take another step forward in season 2021.
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Draft History: Pick 44 2015 AFL Draft (Hawthorn)