AFTER two years of stoutly defending Ryan Schoenmakers and its troublesome defence, Hawthorn has moved to shore up its back line by recruiting Brian Lake.
Hawthorn yesterday secured the two-time All-Australian full-back from the Western Bulldogs for the Hawks' first two picks in the national draft - selections 21 and 41.
The Hawks will get Lake and the Bulldogs' second-round pick (No. 27) as part of the deal.
Effectively, Hawthorn gets Lake for pick 41 while sliding six places in the draft, which may not seem to be extravagant compensation to the Bulldogs for a player of Lake's ability.
But he is 30 and would be a free agent at the end of next season, when the Bulldogs could have lost him for minimal compensation.
It's understood that given Lake will be walking out on the final year of a lucrative contract at the Bulldogs, he could be sacrificing as much as $200,000 to switch to the Hawks.
Even still, the Hawks' salary cap will be tight — but Chance Bateman and Cameron Bruce have retired, meaning their money comes out of the cap. They also have Stephen Gilham out of contract, so it seems unlikely that the tall defender would now be offered a deal with Lake coming.
Clinton Young is a unrestricted free agent who is yet to decide whether to remain at the Hawks, where he has been offered a new contract, albeit on what are believed to be slightly reduced terms. It is understood he toured the Westpac Centre with Collingwood officials last night.
Hawk Tom Murphy is also out of contract.
The Hawks had some interest in recruiting free agent Jared Rivers, but the Lake deal has overtaken that.
The Western Bulldogs have made their plans to rebuild very clear by moving on the veteran in exchange for the hope and promise of teenagers. As it stands, the Bulldogs will have three first-round picks in the national draft - five, six and 21.
The Bulldogs had explored an option of trading their first two draft picks as part of a deal with Greater Western Sydney for a 17-year-old in the mini-draft, but that deal foundered when GWS would not also return them a draft pick inside the top 10.
''The accumulation of six picks inside 50 presents the opportunity the likes of which this club has not seen before to recruit the core list around which we will build the future of this football club,'' Bulldogs list manager Jason McCartney said.
The Dogs remain interested in Collingwood forward Chris Dawes, having met the forward in recent days to present their case for a move to Whitten Oval.
Dawes, who is contracted to the Magpies for two more years, has yet to decide whether he wants to move. He is understood to be considering offers from three clubs - the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne and Carlton. When and if Dawes nominates a club, it would be up to Collingwood to negotiate a suitable trade. He is still a chance to remain at Collingwood.
Lake's move after 197 games at the Dogs adds depth and versatility to the Hawks.
''Brian is a fantastic addition to our list, and will complement our defensive unit extremely well,'' Hawthorn football manager Mark Evans said.