Hawthorn Hawks AFL Football Club

The journey from Mayblooms to September Hawks is a remarkable transition from ridicule to respect, from derision to AFL dominance.

The Hawthorn Football Club is the most successful in the last 64 years winning 10 premierships, gaining and retaining a membership of over 50,000 and establishing itself as a financial powerhouse, an exceptional achievement from such humble beginnings.

Doubt exists over the official date of the formation of the club. Some claim 1902, others 1873 when 20 interested persons met at the Hawthorne (sic) Hotel. Christened the Mayblooms with a uniform of a white cap bearing a Maltese Cross, this quickly expanding to blue knickerbockers, a light blue and white striped guernsey, hose and cap. Over the next 51 years, players wore numerous combinations of blue, white, red, black, and yellow.

In 1914, Hawthorn joined the Victorian Football association and chose brown with a yellow V as it’s guernsey. Performances were mediocre, only once making the VFA finals.

Hawthorn entered the Victorian Football League in 1925. Again, on field success was rare. A myriad of quality coaches and exceptional players such as Bert Hyde, Ted Pool, Stan Spinks, Bert Mills and Brownlow Medallist Col Austin failed to improve the clubs standings.

1950 saw the introduction of brown and gold stripes. Hawthorn’s ascendancy began with coaches Bob McCaskill and Jock Hale, plus an influx of determined players such as John Kennedy, Roy Simmons and John Peck. The Mayblooms became the Hawks. The leadership of President Doc Ferguson, Kennedy, and Captain Graeme Arthur, to the great joy of all, delivered the club’s first premiership in 1961.

The 1970s built on the breakthrough of 1961. Playing in four grand finals for three Premierships – 1971, 1976 coached by John Kennedy, and 1978 by David Parkin. This era produced many of Hawthorn’s greatest players; Leigh Matthews, winner of eight club best and fairest. Peter Hudson, a record equalling four Coleman medals and most goals in a season with 150, Don Scott, Peter Knights, Peter Crimmins and Kelvin Moore.

The 1980s ushered in an historic decade of which all supporters dream. This golden era, beginning in 1983, created records that still exist today.

Hawthorn appeared in 13 straight finals, seven straight grand finals – all records - and four Premierships 1983, 1986, 1988, and 1989, Alan Jeans coached in 1983, 1986, and 1989, Alan Joyce 1988.

Champions were abundant. Jason Dunstall, winner of three Coleman Medals . Chris Mew and Chris Langford hold the record of most consecutive finals (11). John Platten, Robert Dipierdominico (both Brownlow medallists) and Dermott Brereton are Hall of Fame inductees. Gary Ayres won 2 Norm Smith Medals. Michael Tuck, winner of a record seven premierships from 11 grand finals and 39 finals and holds the games record at 426.

1991 was Alan Joyce’s second Premiership as coach, Hawthorn’s 9th. Paul Dear won the Norm Smith medal. Emerging stars were Darrin Pritchard and Darren Jarman.

The nineties were troubling times for the Hawks. The club almost folded in 1996 and a merger with Melbourne was proposed. It was defeated at a rowdy meeting at the Hawthorn Town Hall. New President Ian Dicker’s business plan was the beginning of a long road back to financial stability.

2008 ended a 17 year AFL premiership drought. Led by Coach Alistair Clarkson and captained by Sam Mitchell, a new wave of champions delivered the tenth Premiership. Luke Hodge was the Norm Smith Medallist; Lance Franklin kicked over 100 goals winning the Coleman Medal, Brownlow medallist Shane Crawford played his last game.

The tradition continued into 2011. Franklin won another Coleman Medal and Sam Mitchell won his third Peter Crimmins medal.

The Journey began at Glenferrie oval - Hawthorn’s spiritual home, moving to Princes Park in 1974, Waverley in 1992 and finally the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 2000. Along the way, Tasmania became a home away from home hosting four Hawthorn AFL games a year.