When assessing the state of Hawthorn’s list recently, Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said one development the club had not planned for was the premature retirement of Cyril Rioli this time last year.
It explained why the Hawks identified and then successfully pursued Chad Wingard as a trade target. But the former Port Adelaide star has had a disrupted start to his career at the Hawks, managing just seven games due to a series of soft-tissue injuries.
But the Hawks might have found a handy replacement, at least in the short term with Ollie Hanrahan stepping in over the last fortnight, and playing the small forward role to perfection.
“Good tackling, pressure and speed,” Hanrahan told SEN.com.au after Friday night’s four-point win over Collingwood, when asked what he brings to the side.
The 20-year-old’s game against the Pies was borrowed straight from the Rioli playbook. He had 16 disposals, took three marks and laid three tackles, and most significantly, he chimed in with two goals in the final term as the Hawks stormed home for their first win in a month.
The second came from a pass from Tim O’Brien about 30 metres from goals when the Pies elected not to man him up. “I couldn’t believe anyone wasn't on me, so I decided to stay in the hole and see what happened,” he said.
“At the last second he picked it out and kicked it to me.”
The Hawks selected Hanrahan with the 14th pick in the 2007 rookie draft straight out of St. Kevin’s College, where he had concentrated on cricket and not taken part in the traditional AFL pathway programs.
Hanrahan runs out for his third AFL game against when the Hawks take on Fremantle in Launceston today.