Hawthorn’s incredible competitiveness in finals (when we get there)

Remove this Banner Ad

BuddyHawk

Senior List
Mar 17, 2006
262
250
Melbourne
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Watching the two preliminary final blowouts this weekend got me reflecting on how rare it has been - historically speaking - for the Hawks to get thrashed in a final.

So I did a bit of research (thanks AFL Tables), and my initial impression was confirmed. Since we were smashed in the 85 GF, we’ve played in 22 finals series and our biggest losing margin has been 33 points - against the Blues in the 87 GF, North in the 07 semi and in our most recent final, against the Dees in the 2018 semi.

In other words, across a 35-year span where we’ve won 7 flags, but also endured some down times (and some
finals disappointments) we’ve never lost a final by more than 5-and-a-bit goals. That’s pretty remarkable, especially when you consider the high number of beltings dished out during this timeframe. The other 16 sides who have played finals (everyone but Gold Coast) have all lost at least one final by more than 33 points. Most have experienced multiple 10-goal plus hidings.

Looking back earlier than 85, we had a few bigger losses - the Blues touched us up in the 82 qualifying final, North thrashed us twice in the 70s, Geelong comfortably won the 63 GF in the end. And going way back to our first finals appearance in 1957, the all-conquering Dees owned us in the prelim on the way to their threepeat. But still,
for the most part we’ve acquitted ourselves well when we’ve reached September from the get go.

There’s bound to have been a range of factors at play, and it’s always fraught to make generalisations that span generations of players, coaches, rule changes, etc. But something Clarko said earlier this year has resonated with me - I’m paraphrasing, but he essentially made the point that we’ve been a club that historically has had our share of struggles, yet when we’ve made the finals we’ve been, more often than not, right in the premiership mix.

The stats back him up. We’ve qualified for 35 finals series since 1925 - 35 in 97 years, which is ordinary. Yet from those 35 appearances, we’ve won 13 flags (better than 1 in 3 conversion), and made 19 grand finals (better than 1 in 2). I haven’t done the comparisons, but surely we have the best ratio of premierships-to-finals appearances in the comp.

To come back to my original point, the main reason why I think we’ve suffered so few finals humiliations is that when we’ve made it to September, we have - usually - been a seriously good footy team. The Bombers post-2004 have shown, for example, how it’s possible to get stuck in a cycle of scraping into finals and getting belted in week 1. But that’s never been our story.

Anyway, some food for through as we (impatiently) wait for our next finals appearance!! Interested to hear what other posters think.
 
Last edited:

stemline

Club Legend
Nov 26, 2001
2,890
3,970
AFL Club
Hawthorn
When we make the finals, we don't mess around. We've turned 35 finals campaigns into 13 Premierships = 37.1%

Won flag when making finals -
Haw 37.1%
Rich 31.7%
Melb 30.8%
Fitz 27.6%
Ess 23.9%
Carl 23.5%
Coll 17.6%
WC 16.0%
Geel 14.5%
Adel 13.3%
Nth 12.5%
Syd 11.1%
Port 8.3%
WB 7.1%
StK 3.7%
Frem, GWS 0.0%
GC, Uni -
 

Log in to remove this ad.

BuddyHawk

Senior List
Mar 17, 2006
262
250
Melbourne
AFL Club
Hawthorn
When we make the finals, we don't mess around. We've turned 35 finals campaigns into 13 Premierships = 37.1%

Won flag when making finals -
Haw 37.1%
Rich 31.7%
Melb 30.8%
Fitz 27.6%
Ess 23.9%
Carl 23.5%
Coll 17.6%
WC 16.0%
Geel 14.5%
Adel 13.3%
Nth 12.5%
Syd 11.1%
Port 8.3%
WB 7.1%
StK 3.7%
Frem, GWS 0.0%
GC, Uni -
Thanks stemline - I was assuming we came out on top when using this metric, but you've actually done the work!
 

HODGEYROAD

Brownlow Medallist
May 10, 2007
20,614
25,015
Bonbeach
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Other Teams
Arsenal Fc Portland Trailblazers
Yeah the Hawthorn football club are traditionally big time performers.
Really interesting thread this one, makes for some happy reading those numbers.
 

Remove this Banner Ad

Remove this Banner Ad