Hawthorn’s stalwarts followed the script and the side’s young recruits showed all the right signs.
That’s what stand-in coach Adem Yze took away from Thursday’s 21-point win over Carlton in game one of the pre-season competition.
In a contest lacking intensity the Hawks were victorious 8.5 (53) to 4.8 (32) at Launceston’s Aurora Stadium for the NAB Challenge curtain raiser.
As they prepare to chase down a fourth consecutive premiership in 2016 the Hawks got the job done on Thursday, including solid performances by experienced players such as Sam Mitchell who finished with 29 disposals.
“They know what they need to get out of the game and they’re competitive beasts that just want to perform,” Yze said of the large contingent of premiership players who crossed Bass Strait for the fixture.
“(Luke Hodge) was on limited game time but Mitchell needed to get minutes into his body which he did, and he likes getting early-season form.
“Our older guys know how to prepare for the season proper and we got exactly what we wanted out of them.”
Yze was impressed by new recruits Dan Howe, Jonathan O’Rourke, Tim O’Brien and James Sicily.
“Our younger boys showed some really good signs for the first game,” he said.
“Our forward line was pretty young, so it would be nice for them to play alongside Jack Gunston and see what the synergy is like alongside some older guys as well.”
The Hawks take on Richmond next in the round-robin formula competition and Yze said the plan is to reintroduce players like Gunston and James Frawley.
For the Blues, who came out firing on Thursday and took a seven-point lead to the first break, the hard work of rebuilding the side continues for new head coach Brendon Bolton.
“Part of the NAB Challenge is really being able to condition our players and we got that from them,” the coach said.
Carlton’s much-anticipated No.1 draft pick Jacob Weitering didn’t have a run on Thursday and nor did fellow signing Harry McKay, with Bolton sure they will inject energy into the side when they run on.
Back from their last season injury woes, Nick Graham kicked two goals and Dale Thomas had 20 disposals.
Sam Kerridge finished with 28 disposals.
“(It is) good that Daisy (Dale Thomas) got through a game after a big pre-season and Kerridge adds a bit of run for us as well,” Bolton said.
“There were lots of little sprouts but we’ve got to keep building on our consistency, there’s no doubt.”
The Blues next meet Essendon.