XAVIER Ellis is a premiership player at the Hawks after playing a vital role in 2008. He’s a hard-at-it midfielder who has since struggled, however, to have any influence on the team given he has perhaps lost pace from niggling injuries that have threatened his career.
His latest injury – a medial ligament – is likely to all but end his season. It has been a horror season with injuries for Ellis who has been close to playing his first game of the season after being named emergency on occasions. Yet injuries have struck and derailed his career once more.
There’s no doubt he has been overtaken on the Hawks list by the more speeder Isaac Smith and Paul Puopolo, who shows plenty of grunt. Liam Shiels is about to become a household name at the club and also overtakes Ellis.
Ellis is a premiership player but he was taken at No.3 in the 2005 AFL draft. He is in the seventh season of his career. In the same draft and behind Ellis was West Coast’s Josh Kennedy, who was selected by Carlton, at 4, Collingwood’s Scott Pendlebury at 5 and Essendon’s Paddy Ryder at 7.
With any one of those players, the Hawks would be almost a shoe-in for this year’s flag.
Certainly Ellis is beginning to turn into another blunder from the Hawks’ recruiting staff.
2005 was a horror year for the Hawks where it claimed the now delisted Beau Dowler at No.6 and Beau Muston at 22. Certainly Grant Birchall was the saving grace at No.14. But what was supposed to be a bonafide year to top up its stocks has ended in a near disaster.
Certainly Ellis will be trade bait for the Hawks at the end of the season and may well thrive at another club. But his seven years at the Hawks – where he has shown more potential than worth – is beginning to wane.
It is just fortunate that the Hawks got it right in the 2004 draft where it snared Lance Franklin and Jarryd Roughead in the top five picks or maybe those critics may well be putting the Hawks recruiting staff in the same bracket as Richmond, who had also been a walking disaster at the table during the Terry Wallace regime.
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