Panther poached by proactive Lions

Zach RelphSouth Western Times

Former prized Carey Park recruit James Hawksley has opted to leave last season’s wooden spooners and sign with Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault for the 2017 SWFL campaign.

The crafty midfielder joined the Panthers at the start of last season, but enjoyed little success as the club won just two games following its 2015 grand final appearance.

Hawksley played 32 games for the Brisbane Lions from 2007 to 2012 after being selected with the 38th pick in the 2006 AFL National Draft.

Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault defender David Newman said Hawksley’s experience would bolster the side’s youthful squad.

“James is a great player who has played footy at the highest level,” Newman said.

“He is a very easy-going guy and he is going to fit in well with the club.

“He has great experience and a lot of knowledge of the game – he is a very handy pick-up.”

Hawksley booted 21 majors in 16 games for Carey Park last season, including a seven-goal haul against Busselton in Round 16.

Newman said Hawksley’s raw talent and ability to play forward, as a midfielder or a defender would prove beneficial for the Lions.

Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault has retained most of its squad for 2017, with Jay Walton and Braddon Kazakoff the only two of last season’s five recruits not returning.

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