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Hawks hand ‘Worpedo’ two more years after strong debut

HAWTHORN has secured one of its priority signings, with second-year midfielder James Worpel committing for a further two seasons.

Clubs are typically keen to re-sign their highly rated draftees ahead of their second season and the ‘Worpedo’ entered that territory with an impressive rookie campaign.

The 20-year-old midfielder played 11 matches, including both of Hawthorn’s finals, averaging 17.5 disposals (7.2 contested), 3.9 tackles, 3.5 inside 50s and 2.4 clearances.

Only Brownlow medallist Tom Mitchell, Liam Shiels, Jaeger O’Meara, Dan Howe and Shaun Burgoyne had more centre-bounce attendances than Worpel among Hawks onballers.

He quickly earned coach Alastair Clarkson’s trust and is set to assume even more responsibility with Mitchell (broken leg) set to miss most and potentially all of the season.

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Worpel, who is now contracted until the end of 2021, also has a big fan in Hawthorn football boss Graham Wright.

“James is a talented young player with an exciting future ahead of him,” Wright said.

“He’s a great person to have around the club, and obviously he’s become pretty popular with our fans, too.

“He had some big moments in 2018. He demonstrated his ability to perform at the elite level and he certainly doesn’t shy away from the contest.

“We’re looking forward to watching his development over the coming years.”

The boy from Bannockburn, near Geelong, had two highlight-reel moments in particular in consecutive weeks last year.

The first came when the former Geelong Falcons co-captain kicked the sealing goal against Essendon, after keeping his feet in a contest with dual All Australian Michael Hurley.

Then, in round 21, he snatched the Sherrin from Cats champion Joel Selwood’s grasp as they charged like bulls from opposite directions, then set up a goal only seconds later.

The Worpedo attacked it with ferocity and set up Jack Gunston! #AFLHawksCats pic.twitter.com/siU47lXbYH

— AFL (@AFL) August 11, 2018

Worpel was the Hawks’ best first-year player in 2018 and his standing at Waverley Park was evidenced in him switching from No.38 to the club’s famous No.5 in December.

Source: AFL FOOTBALL NEWS