Hawthorn season preview 2018: Alastair Clarkson’s genius moves that make club a contender

HAWTHORN is one of the great unknowns heading into 2018.

After dropping its first four games last season, Alastair Clarkson’s side decided to undergo a renovation on the run, instead of chasing its tail for the rest of the year in pursuit of September, like Sydney did.

The four-time premiership coach spun the magnets, out of necessity more than anything else, but with devastating effect. And it might be the decision that transforms Hawthorn into a finals contender again, perhaps as early as this year.

Highly-rated underage forwards James Sicily and Blake Hardwick were moved into defence. So was triple premiership forward Jack Gunston.

Round 1Brought to you by sportsbet

Despite being recruited to the club as a forward 12 months earlier, Ryan Burton was deployed in defence last season where he showed why he is so highly rated, finishing fourth in the Peter Crimmins Medal and runner-up in the Rising Star Award.