This week Jai Newcombe will become the Hawk with the outright third most games played wearing number 44.

Newcombe’s 20 games currently has him in equal third place with Cameron Stokes, who played his 20 games from 2008 to 2010.

After this Friday night’s game against the Bulldogs, Newcombe will only be behind Mark Turner, who played 35 games in number 44 from 1979 to 1983, and the record holder for the number, John Platten, with 258 games from 1986 to 1997.

With 22 goals already in 2022, Luke Breust has become just the fifth Hawthorn player to kick 20 or more goals in 11 different seasons. Breust has reached the milestone in every season from his debut in 2011 until now, except for the shortened 2020 season, when he recorded 16 goals.

Leigh Matthews kicked at least 20 goals in an incredible 16 seasons, only missing in his debut season of 1969. Jason Dunstall reached 20 in all 14 of his seasons from 1985 to 1998, while both John Peck and Michael Moncrieff managed to do so in 11 of their 13 seasons.

Hawks’ fans should get to Friday night’s game for a chance to see a slice of history, with the club still poised on the verge of its 1,000th VFL-AFL win. Having failed to reach the milestone at Marrara, MCG and Optus Stadium, could Docklands be the lucky venue?

Sad news with the passing of 1976 Premiership player Bernie Jones at the age of just 69. Ruckman Jones played 73 games and kicked 52 goals for Hawthorn in two spells, 1973-77 and 1979-80. In between, he played 13 games at Essendon in 1978, and and his return to the brown and gold him on the list of of just four players to have left Hawthorn for another League club and then returned, the others being Lew Gough, George Bennett and Trent Croad.

Hawthorn has not lost a game on 24 June since 1967. However, it must be noted that remarkably the Hawks have only played two games on the date in that time, beating Melbourne on a Saturday in 1978 and Essendon on a Friday night in 2011. The date 24 June is also the birthdate of seven-time Premiership Hawk, Michael Tuck, for whom the 1978 game was the only one of his 426 appearances to occur on his birthday.

Hawthorn has won 11 of its last 14 games against the Western Bulldogs, with the blemishes being the 2016 Semi Final and games in 2019 and 2020. Hawthorn won eight consecutive games against the Bulldogs from 2010 to 2016, the winning sequence started and ended with thrilling three-point victories, at the MCG in 2010 and at Docklands in 2016. Last season, the Hawks defeated the Bulldogs by 27 points at University of Tasmania Stadium in Round 22.

Overall, the Hawks hold a narrow lead in the head-to-head history between the two clubs, with 84 victories, 78 defeats and two draws.

Round 15 has historically been one of Hawthorn’s best rounds, producing 50 wins, 44 defeats, two draws (in 1944 and 1956) and one bye. In the 27 seasons from 1970 to 1996, Hawthorn’s Round 15 return was remarkably good, with 24 wins and only three losses.

10 years ago, in Round 15 2012, Hawthorn played GWS Giants for the first time, and won 28.25.193 to 4.7.31. Jarryd Roughead kicked six goals and Lance Franklin four, before leaving the field injured. Franklin’s second goal was his 500th career goal. Four Hawks had over 30 disposals, headed by Matthew Suckling with a career-high 35.

20 years ago, in Round 15 2002, Hawthorn had the same fixture as this season – away to the Western Bulldogs on a Friday night at Docklands. The Hawks were behind by nine points at three-quarter time, but a 7.3 to 2.1 final term secured a 23-point win – 17.14.116 to 14.9.93. Richie Vandenberg got the three Brownlow votes, Adrian Cox two and the one vote was awarded to Luke Hodge, the first Brownlow vote of his career.

30 years ago, in Round 15 1992, Hawthorn also had a come-from-behind win. Half-way through the last quarter, in front of 7,573 at Carrara, Hawthorn trailed the Brisbane Bears by 21 points, but ended up kicking the last four goals, including the winner from a Tony Hall set shot from 40 metres out. Hall’s final goal was his fourth while Jason Dunstall also booted four. Dean Anderson and Scott Maginness were the leading possession-getters with 29 each.

40 years ago, in Round 15 1982, Hawthorn beat top team Richmond by five goals at the MCG. A crowd of 48,338 saw Hawthorn begin poorly, trailing by 25 points early in the second quarter, but then gradually take control to win 22.14.146 to 17.14.116. Michael Byrne kicked five goals, while the best players were Richard Loveridge, Terry Wallace and Geoff Ablett.

50 years ago, in Round 15 1972, a stunning 8.6 to 1.1 opening quarter put Hawthorn on track to a 30-point win versus Geelong – 19.14.128 to 15.8.98. Bob Keddie kicked five goals and Alan Martello three, while the following week’s Football Record listed the best players as Crimmins, Martello, Rice, Matthews, Beck, Meagher and Heath.

Jason Dunstall holds the Hawthorn individual goal-kicking record against the Bulldogs with 14 goals in Round 19 1996. The best individual return for a Hawthorn player in Round 15 is 12 goals, recorded by Peter Hudson in a 23-point win against eventual Grand Final opponent St Kilda at Glenferrie in 1971.