Inheriting Lance Franklin's guernsey was always going to be a big ask.
But the recent form of Tim O'Brien suggests a generation is finally coming where young Hawthorn fans donning the no. 23 will genuinely ask 'Buddy who?'
Drafted with pick 28 in the 2012 national draft, O'Brien's 58-game career has largely come in spurts of promise and inconsistency until this season, where he has strung together a career-high 12 consecutive appearances.
Most of these came in defence, but the 192cm utility has enjoyed his best form in the past few weeks playing as a marking forward.
"Playing in the backline was good to play more consistently," the 25-year-old said ahead of his side's clash with Brisbane in Launceston on Saturday.
"I found that I was able to play good footy down there, but then I also knew that I've played a lot of footy as a forward as well so I always had that possibility I could swing forward.
"We came across that from a need in that (round 16) Collingwood game, we needed to change things for us to try and win the game and that was myself to go forward and it worked well for us."
Dovetailing in a three-pronged forward line with Mitch Lewis and Conor Nash, O'Brien was prominent in the Hawks' most recent Launceston win over Fremantle.
Few moments in the game received as big a cheer as two leaping marks over Lewis and Michael Walters that came within 30 seconds of each other in the first term.
"That's my role in the side, to be flying at the footy and the last couple of weeks I've found the opportunity to have a go at it," O'Brien said.
"It's obviously pretty enjoyable once you get up there and take a big mark, that's my plan to create contests for the side.
"Sometimes I do get up pretty high and come down pretty hard but I enjoy doing it - it's been a part of my game ever since I was a junior so to get those opportunities is good and it's what the team requires."
The Dockers match was followed by O'Brien's best performance in brown and gold, a match-winning three-goal effort in a win over Geelong last weekend.
The performance saw O'Brien poll four votes in the coaches' player of the year award, while Lewis came away with the rising star award for his three goals.
O'Brien said chemistry had been the key to the Hawks' success with three talls, which has become a rarity in the modern game.
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
"There were the three of us and Jack Gunston also who is a reasonably tall forward, it's worked well in the last couple of weeks to have that system going," he said.
"We haven't been getting in each other's way, we've been playing well and it also helps that all three of us get along really well off the field so it translates onto the field and I think we're all benefiting from it."
- R11, 2019: Lions 12.13 (85) d Hawks 10.6 (66)
- R17, 2018: Lions 15.8 (98) d Hawks 9.11 (65)
- R9, 2018: Lions 20.9 (129) d Hawks 11.7 (73)
- WHAT: AFL round 19, Hawthorn v Brisbane
- WHERE: UTAS Stadium, Launceston
- WHEN: Saturday, 1.45pm
- TICKETS: Available from www.ticketmaster.com.au