Launceston will get first look at Hawthorn's biggest positional experiment of the season in Friday's pre-season clash with Melbourne.
Injured in the first two minutes of the Hawks' pre-season opener against St Kilda, ruckman-turned defender Ben McEvoy also sat out the two clubs' repeat bushfire relief fixture last weekend.
McEvoy is expected to return to the fold in the 7.40pm clash at UTAS Stadium and Hawks assistant coach Chris Newman believes the 30-year-old ex-Saint will have a big impact.
"In the back half we've been relatively settled throughout the summer and trying to find what our ideal mix is," Newman said.
"Obviously Ben McEvoy playing back for us - he finished the last two games [last season] playing in the back half and we really liked what he was able to bring behind the ball.
"So he's had this summer training as a defender and he's still learning the craft but has been really impressive.
"He's only had two minutes of exposure the last two weeks but every hit-out we've had he's played down back and he's looked good."
Ninth-placed finishers last season, the Hawks went 1-1 from their two match-ups with St Kilda and are expected to name a near full-strength side for what will be their first of five matches in Launceston this year.
The Demons clash - which should see ex-Northern Bomber Jay Lockhart play at UTAS Stadium for the first time since becoming an AFL player - will be the Hawks' final hit-out before round one's MCG meeting with Brisbane.
"It's been good from a learning perspective," Newman said of the Hawks' pre-season to date.
"The first couple of hit-outs there's always some real room for improvement, but there's also some great opportunities for some of the younger guys so playing St Kilda in that second round was great.
"We got access to play virtually anyone that was available and give them some exposure and some game time and we were really pleased with some of the things the younger guys showed even though they had limited game time.
"We've learned a lot about ourselves the last couple of weeks and also about St Kilda, they're playing some really good football and they've been pretty impressive so far."
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
The Hawks have several injury worries down back, with reliable young gun Blake Hardwick joining fellow small-medium defenders Dan Howe and Jarman Impey on the sidelines.
Newman said the efforts of first and second-year players - including 2019 draft picks Will Day and Finn Maginness - meant his side was not short on depth.
"Will Day was one that played a little bit over a quarter but showed some really good sings, he's going to be potentially one of those rebounding half-backs that can read the play and he's fairly brave in the air," Newman said.
"He's developed quite a bit in this pre-season and Harry Pepper was the other one that played in the back half and only had the last quarter but he had some real impact.
"Through the midfield Maginness had his opportunity and looked really clean. Working with some more of those more experienced mids, he's only going to see the benefits of that."
- WHAT: Hawthorn v Melbourne pre-season game
- WHEN: 7.40pm, Friday
- WHERE: UTAS Stadium, Launceston
- TICKETS: Available at ticketmaster.com.au