The nuts and bolts
Hawthorn have landed their first player from the trade season, bringing in young Port Adelaide speedster Jarman Impey. For the Hawks, this adds much-needed speed and run to their squad, and for Impey, the trade means he moves back home to Victoria. In return, Port Adelaide get Hawthorn’s first pick for 2017, which is pick 32. They have also swapped later picks, and will claim Hawthorn’s 2018 fourth round pick.
Impey was picked at pick 23 in the 2013 NAB AFL draft by Port Adelaide. The versatile youngster debuted in 2014, and started off in defence, playing in shutdown roles against quick small forwards. He was successful in going head to head with some of the league’s best, including Eddie Betts. He continued this form in 2015, continuing to ply his trade in defence. In 2016, he was moved forward, and displayed good pace and goal smarts to kick 15 goals for the season. This saw him continue to play forward in 2017, where he added another 15 goals to his tally.
At his best, Impey provides line-breaking pace and run, evades tackles and demonstrates great footy smarts. He is also a good kick, and finds targets in space regularly. The key areas he needs to work on are disposal efficiency and goal kicking efficiency, with the former statistic in particular being a very important part of the Hawthorn game plan. He will also need to be a lot more consistent.
How does he fit within Hawthorn’s structure?
I think Hawthorn have done well in recruiting Impey, with the caveat that they will need him to be a lot more consistent that he has been for Port Adelaide. Hawthorn have missed the pace and run, and much of the load in 2017 was left to Isaac Smith. Billy Hartung’s future at the Hawks looks uncertain by the club’s own admission, and they cannot afford to go another year playing the style they played in 2017 without having a running game.
Hawthorn evidently moved away from their uncontested football game style in 2017, partly due to need and partly by design. What worked well was the fact that the playing group adapted to the new plan, and focussed on contested ball and playing a scrappier style of footy. Their launch into attack was measured and not as frequent as we have been used to. What would take Hawthorn to the next level would certainly be the addition of some pace on the wings and through the middle, which will complement the extraction skills of Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara. Impey fits the bill, and will be able to feed off the contested ball and provide the run and carry required to deliver the ball consistently into the attacking 50. I see Hawthorn using him as a quick running midfielder and a having him pinch hit small forward. Impey will benefit from Hawthorn’s leadership structure and the mentorship he will get being around the likes of Mitchell, Rioli, Burgoyne and Shiels amongst others.
On the surface, this is a win for all concerned. Port Adelaide get a decent draft pick, Hawthorn get their player, and Impey gets to move back home. However, it will take two seasons to assess the true worth of this trade. The prospect of Impey in a side with Smith and Rioli should excite Hawthorn fans. The caveat would be to not expect miracles, and certainly not expect him to be a contested ball player.
Verdict: A good pick up for Hawthorn, as Impey is a diamond in the rough. He will take some time, but can become a vital part of this Hawthorn side given time and opportunity.
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