This round marks the 50th anniversary of Hawthorn’s first home game at Princes Park.

In Round 2 1974, the Hawks started an 18-season period where Princes Park was the club’s home ground, years in which the club won a staggering seven premierships.

However, the first home game away from Glenferrie was not a happy occasion as, in wet and miserable conditions, Hawthorn managed only 6.12.48 to Collingwood’s 10.11.71. Peter Hudson was held goalless for just the second time in his career and did not play again until 1977.

Massimo D’Ambrosio’s six votes in the Coaches’ Award are the most ever awarded to a player in his first Hawthorn game. The previous record was five, which was awarded to Beau Muston (on his AFL debut) in Round 9 2009 and to Tom Mitchell in Round 1 2017. Others to receive Coaches’ votes in their first Hawthorn games include Stuart Dew, Josh Gibson, and Rhan Hooper.

This Saturday, the Hawks will be desperately trying to avoid becoming the first Hawthorn team for more than 70 years to lose its opening two matches in consecutive seasons. Hawthorn lost the first two games in eight consecutive seasons from 1946 to 1953 but, since then, while Hawthorn has lost its first two games on 15 separate occasions, it has never happened in consecutive seasons.

Nick Watson has become just the second Hawthorn player to be born on 24 February. Remarkably, the one other player born on the date was also a Nick W. He was Nick Wilton, born in 1958, who played 13 games from 1978 to 1981.

When Jack Ginnivan kicked Hawthorn’s first major at the 12-minute mark of the first quarter last Saturday, it became the second consecutive year a club debutant had kicked Hawthorn’s first goal of the season, following Fergus Greene in 2023. Prior to that, the most recent new player to kick the opening goal of a campaign was Tim O’Brien in 2014.

Other current players to kick the first goal of a season have been Luke Breust (2016) and Mitch Lewis (2022).

Mabior Chol has become the ninth Queenslander to play for Hawthorn. After playing his junior football at local Brisbane clubs Yeronga and Aspley, Chol began his AFL career with Richmond before returning to his home state for a stint with the Suns.

Five of the eight previous Hawthorn Queenslanders have played in Premierships for the Hawks – Jason Dunstall, Stephen Lawrence, Michael Osborne, Brent Renouf and David Hale, with another, Brendan Whitecross, extremely unlucky not to also be a part of that group.

Last Saturday’s crowd of 73,805 was the third highest attendance ever for a home and away game between Hawthorn and Essendon, only exceeded by 78,294 in Round 1 2017; 77,278 in Round 22 2009.

Hawthorn has had several significant winning sequences against Melbourne, highlighted by 23 consecutive wins from 1973 to 1984 and 13 from 2007 to 2016. Overall, the two clubs have played 170 times, with Hawthorn winning 87, Melbourne 82 and one draw.

Hawthorn has played three previous games on 23 March, starting with a loss in 1985, but securing outstanding wins in 2008 and 2019. The Hawks defeated this week’s opponent, Melbourne, by 104 points at the MCG on 23 March 2008, and five years ago, in 2019, Hawthorn scored an upset 32-point victory at the Adelaide Oval against the Crows.

Hawthorn has played 99 games in Round 2 for 40 wins, 58 losses and one draw (in 1968).

10 years ago, in Round 2 2014, Hawthorn snatched a dramatic late Friday night win against Essendon at Docklands. Trailing by nine points at the 25-minute mark of the last quarter, the Hawks responded with goals to Luke Breust and Cyril Rioli to win by four points – 13.12.90 to 12.14.86. Shaun Burgoyne had 30 disposals and secured the three Brownlow votes.

40 years ago, in Round 2 1984, Hawthorn came away from Windy Hill victorious, defeating Essendon by a much smaller margin than in the previous year’s Grand Final, just six points – 17.14.116 to 16.14.110. The decisive quarter was the third when Hawthorn turned a 10-point half time deficit into a 20-point lead at the final change. Both Dermott Brereton and Chris Langford kicked four goals for the Hawks, while David O’Halloran was excellent in defence.

60 years ago, in Round 2 1964, the Hawks defeated Carlton at Glenferrie by 21 points – 9.20.74 to 8.5.53 – with Ian Law kicking three goals. This made it consecutive wins at the start of the season for just the second time in Hawthorn’s 40 years in the competition, the only previous instance having come in 1957.

70 years ago, in Round 2 1954, Hawthorn recorded a 31-point victory against St Kilda at the Junction Oval – 10.10.70 to 5.9.39. Pat Cash kicked three goals and Norm Maginness, grandfather of Finn, was among the best players, along with John Kennedy Snr, Alf Hughes, and Phil O’Brien.

Peter Hudson holds the record for most goals by a Hawthorn player against Melbourne, kicking 16 in 1969.

Jason Dunstall holds the Hawthorn Round 2 record, kicking nine twice – in 1988 versus Richmond and in 1991 against Sydney.