Tim Watson suggesting Hawks should trade Gunston. Is the best 3rd tall in the game alongside Crows Tom Lynch. That position is not really a priority for us given our need for midfielders and attacking HB flankers but is only 25 and has family links.
TRADING Jack Gunston would allow Hawthorn to land early draft picks and start to rebuild in earnest, says Essendon great Tim Watson.
Triple premiership player Gunston is one of a number of Hawthorn players struggling for form in 2017.
On Thursday night against Port Adelaide, he accumulated a miserly seven disposals and failed to impact the scoreboard. The fault wasn’t purely Gunston’s, however, with Port racking up 37 more inside 50s than Hawthorn.
Despite this, the half forward’s performance was symptomatic of his season thus far, where all of his numbers — particularly in front of goal — have been down.
“If you look at Hawthorn and where they’re at, they need to get into the draft. They need to get in the early part of the draft,” Watson told SEN.
“Jack Gunston is an interesting conversation because he’s one player that I think Hawthorn would be looking at saying, ‘okay, of the players on our list who has got some real currency? If we’re going to shake up our list, which players on our list have currency?’
“Jack Gunston would be one of those players.”
At only 25, the 193cm forward would be a tantalising prospect for almost every club, particularly given his pedigree as a student of Alastair Clarkson’s.
And with Hawthorn trading away its first draft pick to St Kilda in order to secure Jaeger O’Meara, he could hold the key to helping the Hawks hustle up the draft order.
The only complicating factor is that Gunston is contracted until the end of 2019, at which time he’ll become a restricted free agent.
While Hawthorn has had great success in landing trades to help top up its list, the most recent instalment has faltered.
While the recruitment of Tom Mitchell has proved a masterstroke, O’Meara’s knee remains problematic and fellow top up player Tyrone Vickery hasn’t yet worked out.
Unless the Hawks take a ruthless approach at the trade table, Melbourne legend Garry Lyon suggested the club would struggle to play finals any time soon — rebuking Clarkson’s comments that Hawthorn were in a similar position to 2009.
“I don’t think they’ve got the pillars in place that they did back then,” Lyon said.
“The pillars of success that drive you are the young hungry fit midfield, big key position forwards that are going to get the job done and a solid defence. I don’t think they’re there.
“And the challenge is that they’ve given away their first round draft pick and their second one won’t come until the mid 30s.”
Lyon echoed Watson’s sentiments regarding Gunston, singling him out as one of Hawthorn’s struggling stars.
“I’m staggered at where Jack Gunston is at,” Lyon said.
“He’s not even treading water. He’s a forward playing in a team that got belted in the first half and didn’t score a goal so I get all that. But I’m not even basing it on last night.”
Both Lyon and Watson agreed Clarkson was up for the challenge of rebuilding his list, even if the club was circumspect to use the dreaded ‘r’ word.
“I get the sense he’s up for the challenge of being part of all of this,” Watson said.
“He understands where they’re at, he understands what it takes to get back where they want to be. There’s nothing in his demeanour, nothing in the way he’s going about his job, that suggests he’s not up to the fight.”