Main content

Letter to members: Thank you

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Jeff Kennett the president of Hawthorn celebrates with players after Hawthorn won the VFLW Grand Final match between Hawthorn and Geelong at Etihad Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images/AFL Media)
Jeff Kennett celebrates Hawthorn's VFLW premiership.

President Jeff Kennett has penned the following letter to members...

Hi Hawkers, wherever you may live.

Yesterday you had every reason to be terribly proud of your club, its values and what it stands for!

Not only because your VFLW and VFL teams won their grand finals, but because of the way they won and how both teams represented our colours.

While the efforts of our teams made me incredibly proud, it was something else that made me most proud of our great club. It was the large number of members who attended the game to support our players.

I have no doubt your large presence and loud voices encouraged our teams to victory.

At the end of the VFL game, before going to the players to congratulate them, their coaches and staff, I went to our cheersquad and supporters to thank them for their attendance and support.

While all our players and coaches are important, they’re not as important as the 81,000 members who stick with us through thick and thin, loss and victory!

As your President I was proud of the effort so many members made to attend the game.

So again, on behalf of the Board my sincere thanks, not just for yesterday but for your support across the entire year.

We sometimes forget that while players, presidents and coaches come and go, members stay forever!

While our players, coaches and board members are few, we as a club are many, and spread all around Australia.

From November 1st a new football year starts and I am sure we are all excited about our prospects.

Our women’s team, which came under the Hawthorn banner last October, delivered us our first Premiership yesterday.

Hawthorn is committed to women’s football. While the AFL have not yet given us an entry date, I trust after this year’s performance we have earnt the right to be elevated into the AFLW competition in 2020.

That said, the VFLW is as strong a competition as the AFLW.

The VFLW is played over 16 rounds including three byes and then finals, while AFLW is only over seven rounds plus finals.

If we are serious about the growth of women’s football, then the AFLW needs to be played over a proper season, of similar length to the VFLW season.

I would also like to suggest, that should the AFLW be played over a longer or proper length season, then the games should be played each week as curtain raisers to the AFL games.

Right now, VFLW is an incredibly professional competition. The players train and play over a longer period than those in the AFLW. This ensure players’ bodies are well prepared for the rigours of the season.

Our women’s team under coach Paddy Hill have developed into a wonderful team of players. They relish the opportunity to play their sport, to learn and to develop as individuals.

Read: VFLW Hawks make history

That commitment resulted in a complete team effort and victorious outcome yesterday.

We thank the sponsors of our VFLW team who have helped our girls to success in 2018. The Board’s objective is now to establish a group of successful women to provide leadership and guidance to all our female players. We hope to have this group established by the beginning of next season.

To the VFLW team, their coaches and administrators, congratulations! You have not only achieved for yourselves, but you have written a new chapter in Hawthorn Football Club’s history. You have done us proud!

As have our VFL men’s team.

They had to play four finals games on their journey to yesterday’s premiership. And in three of those, including yesterday’s victory, they have come from behind.

To Chris Newman and his team, our sincere congratulations. You have melded a team that performed in true Hawthorn style. They never give up!

After a desultory first quarter, that saw just one goal to our name, our Box Hill team started to find its mojo.

But it was not until half way through the last quarter that we hit the front on the scoreboard. To their credit Casey played an attractive hard-fought game of football, but it was our boys in the last quarter who went in harder, kept their cool and delivered our second Premiership for the day.

I don’t want to single out any player, because teams win premierships, individuals don’t. Our players were a wonderful team yesterday.

However, there is one player who it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge. That player is Brendan Whitecross, because he epitomises the Kennedy spirit.

Brendan missed two Premierships with our senior team because of injury. He never complained, in fact quite the reverse - while injured he played an important role in lifting the morale of his teammates.

This year he has mainly played at Box Hill. Again, never doing anything but his utmost to encourage his teammates. Many senior players would see playing in the VFL as a relegation, not Brendan, he sees every game as an opportunity. His maturity, experience and leadership has played a vital role in the Box Hill Hawks success this season. Brendan’s values, professionalism and humility set a high example for all of us, on and off the field.

So, to our VFL team, hearty congratulations. Well done, you have done us proud!

And let’s not forget our AFL side. Alastair Clarkson and his team got us into the top four. An incredible achievement from where we finished last year.

So, our playing year is over. A top four finish and three Premierships. VFLW, VFL and our netball team.

Walk tall members, we all have every reason to be terribly proud of our club. Cheersquad, members, administrators, coaches and players, well done.

The Board, thank you all.

Now tonight - the Brownlow! Keep your fingers crossed.

Hopefully I will see many of you at the Peter Crimmins Medal on Saturday 6th October and the AGM on Tuesday 11th December at the Hawthorn Town Hall and of course next year.

Enjoy the moment!

Cheers

Jeff Kennett
President

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs