Sicily leading the way for more physical Hawks

Hawthorn want to be a more physical side in the AFL and it's no surprise potential captain James Sicily is leading the way.

The fiery Hawks defender was involved in a scuffle with forward Sam Butler during Thursday's training session at Morwell in Gippsland.

Teammate Changkuoth Jiath said it's no accident there was some feeling in their intense match simulation training.

"It's just the competitive nature here at the Hawks -- it's something we're really trying to develop ... being physical.

"We're not going to take it outside of training, obviously, but it's something we're starting to bring into our game a lot more.

"It's good to have a little punch-on every now again ... in a good way."

Jiath says Sicily "used to be a fiery head", adding he is showing strong leadership as the Hawks near a decision on who will be their next captain, with Ben McEvoy now retired.

"I do see him (potentially as captain), but there are a lot of guys who can step up and fill that role as well ... Dylan Moore, Frosty (Sam Frost), Jarman Impey, (Luke) Breust," he said.

"It's a nice, good spread at the Hawks."

Sicily won last year's club best-and-fairest award ahead of midfielder Jai Newcombe, who announced himself as a new star in his second AFL season.

With Tom Mitchell gone to Collingwood, the Hawks have given Newcombe the No.3 made famous by club icon Leigh Matthews.

"I'm pretty happy with how it looks on my back. Hopefully I can do it justice," Newcombe said.

He added there was still plenty of scope for improvement.

"It's pretty easy to re-set, only being in the system for two years," Newcome said.

"There's still a lot of upside and what's capable for me. There's no ceiling on what I will be trying to achieve and it's all about striving for what's next.

"It's not really settling with the good year last year, but there's so much more growth and potential there."

With Mitchell and Jaeger O'Meara (Fremantle) leaving a big hole in the Hawthorn midfield, they will need youngsters such as Newcombe to step up quickly.

"It sits pretty comfortably with me. There are a bunch of guys in there who will step up with me as well - Worps (James Worpel) and Nashy (Conor Nash) have been around for a few years now and know what it's like.

"We will share it around."