They've certainly improved since then!In 1943, Hawthorn had their only winning season in their first 32 seasons in the VFL, finishing fifth with a 9-6 record in a war shortened season.
The Hawks had a chance of their first finals appearance that year; all they had to do was defeat lowly North Melbourne in the last round (Round 16) and they would be in the Top 4. Unfortunately for the Hawks, they blew it by losing to the Kangaroos by 1 point, 8.11-59 to 7.16-58, but it was the Hawks' strange scoring pattern that cost them victory that afternoon which was most unusual.
In the first quarter, Hawthorn kicked 0.4, then another 0.4 in the second term, to have a score of 0.8 to half time, trailing the Kangaroos by 25 points at the long break. Then Hawthorn found their radar, and slammed on 6.0 in the third quarter, to trail North by 3 points at three quarter time and looking a strong chance to over-run the Kangaroos and enter the finals. Inexplicably, Hawthorn lost their accuracy again, adding 1.8 in the final quarter to the accurate North's 2.0, falling an agonizing point short and missing their shot at the finals.
Much to the frustration of the Hawthorn players, officials and supporters the Hawks slipped back the next year, winning only 2 games in 1944 and mainly struggling until they reached the finals for the first time in 1957.