Well that rebuild did not take long. After a one year hiatus from the finals last year, the Hawks will be back in 2018.
Alastair Clarkson is a genius. No doubt about it. And the four time Premiership coach has overseen a revival that has the Hawks currently sitting fourth on the table, and as good a chance as any to challenge Richmond for the Premiership.
There have been plenty of on-field success stories for Hawthorn this year. And the form of the unheralded Ricky Henderson is certainly one that should be acknowledged.
The 29-year old arrived at the Hawks as a delisted free agent at the end of 2016 on a two year-deal.
Out of contract at the end of the season, it would be fair to say the former Crow has done more than enough to warrant a contract extension.
The Ricky Henderson impact
At the time of his arrival, Hawthorn list manager Graham Wright was confident the utility had plenty to offer to AFL level. Despite only playing nine games for the Crows in 2016.
“Ricky is a terrific addition to our list and has the versatility to play both in the midfield and across half-back. We look forward to welcoming him to the club and seeing what he can produce in the brown and gold.”
Any notion the Victorian was only going to be a depth player was quickly dismissed. Henderson played 18 games in 2017 and 19 games thus far in 2018.
Statistically the numbers are good for the second year Hawk. Averaging 20.2 disposals and 3 tackles per game this year. He was recruited for his versatility and the Hawks have certainly got value for money.
Not surprisingly Ricky Henderson is enjoying his football. Back in June he talked about his AFL journey in an article on Players Voice.
“I think my performances have been more consistent at Hawthorn than they were at Adelaide — the gap between my best and worst is narrowing. I’m enjoying my footy a lot more. That probably has something to do with having a clear role week-to-week, managing my body better, stringing more games together.”
He might not be a superstar name, but Ricky Henderson will have an important role to play in the Hawks finals campaign. And he has shown more than enough to go around again in 2019.