Hawthorn has turned a 0-5 deficit into a positive record for just the second time in its 100-season VFL-AFL history.

Only the 1960 Hawks had previously accomplished this feat, converting their 0-5 start to the same 8-7 record after 15 games as their 2024 counterparts. The 1960 team added a further three wins to finish the 18-game home and away season on 11-7, in fifth place, missing the Four only on percentage. The following season, Hawthorn won its first Premiership.

An honourable mention needs to go to the 1970 Hawks, who lost the opening seven games, before recovering to parity at 8-8. Unfortunately, Hawthorn then lost several games and finished 10-12 in the 22-game season, but the following season Hawthorn won its second Premiership.

Hawthorn has only played once at GMHBA Stadium in Geelong from 2007 onwards, suffering a defeat in Round 2 2020, in a game played behind closed doors due to Covid restrictions.

Prior to that, Hawthorn’s most recent trip down the highway was in Round 3 2006, a game which saw a stunning 52-point upset win for the Hawks, against a Geelong team which was Premiership favourites after Round 2. Hawthorn led by seven points at half-time, before slipping away to a 21-point three quarter time lead and then blowing the Cats away in the last quarter to win 15.11.101 to 7.7.49. The Brownlow votes went to Hodge, Mitchell and Vandenberg – either current, or future, Hawthorn captains.

Hawthorn had an outstanding record at Geelong in the mid to late 1990s, winning four times in five seasons, all by narrow margins: five points (1995), two (1996), six (1997) and two again (1999).

These four victories contributed to a remarkable 14 seasons from 1987 and 2000, when the Hawks had 10 wins by less than two goals in games against the Cats, including in three Finals. In the 25 games between the clubs in those years, the Hawks won 20 and Geelong just five (none in close games).

Overall, Hawthorn trails Geelong 76 to 94 in the head-to-head, with one draw (in 1963) after 171 games between the two clubs.

Hawthorn will this Saturday be attempting to win six consecutive games for the first time since the last six rounds of the 2018 home and away season.

Jack Gunston’s goal in the last quarter against West Coast took his Hawthorn career tally to 425, now just two behind Dermott Brereton’s 427. Three more goals will take him to outright ninth behind an incredible top eight of Dunstall, Matthews, Hudson, Moncrieff, Franklin, Roughead, Breust and Peck.

Given the revamped GMHBA Stadium, there would appear to be a strong chance of a record crowd for a game between Geelong and Hawthorn at the venue.

The current record attendance was recorded at Kardinia Park on Anzac Day 1980, when the Hawks went down to the Cats by five points in front of a crowd of 34,498. The other two attendances above 30,000 occurred in 1964 and 1969.

Also on attendances, last Sunday’s crowd of 49,454 was the second biggest for a Hawthorn game at Perth Stadium behind the 55,859 who attended the same two clubs’ clash in Round 23 2019.

Hawthorn has played 96 games in Round 17 for 38 wins, one draw (in 2010) and 57 defeats. The Hawks had a bye in 2011 and there was no Round 17 in 1942 or 1943. Th’s club’s record in the round was not helped by only winning twice in the 16 seasons from 1994 to 2009. The Hawks won five consecutive Round 17 games from 2012 to 2016, but have won only twice since, against Fremantle in 2019, and Adelaide in 2022.

10 years ago, in Round 17 2014, Hawthorn defeated Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval by 12 points – 15.14.104 to 14.8.92. Jack Gunston was superb with four goals, with Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell and Grant Birchall also among the best. Jonathan Simpkin received the only Brownlow vote of his career for his 24-disposal and two-goal game.

50 years ago, in Round 17 1974, a crowd of just 6,418 saw a most inaccurate Hawthorn prevail against Fitzroy at Princes Park. The Hawks won 13.28.106 to the Lions 8.10.58. Leigh Matthews played an excellent game but was a bit off-target kicking 3.8.

60 years ago, in Round 17 1964, Hawthorn suffered one of its most crucial defeats ever in a home and away game. Hawthorn was in fourth place, but just a game behind League leaders Melbourne, when the two clashed at Glenferrie in the penultimate round. The Hawks had a 16-point lead at three quarter time, but a late goal from the boundary by Hassa Mann saw the Demons snatch a four-point win. Hawthorn’s 10 goals were scored by just three players, as John Peck booted six and Kevin Connell and Des Dickson two each. 

70 years ago, in Round 17 1954, Hawthorn defeated Richmond at Glenferrie by 23 points – 10.10.70 to 6.11.47. The best players included Clive Philp, Len Crane, Lance Wilkinson, Kevin Coghlan and Ted Fletcher. The victory took Hawthorn to eight wins for the season, the second highest figure in the club’s 30 seasons since joining the League in 1925, behind only 1943.

Just as importantly the improved season, plus the excitement around boom recruit ‘Candles’ Thompson, had produced some of the highest home crowds Hawthorn had ever attracted at Glenferrie Oval, with a highest of 26,000 against eventual premier Footscray in Round 7.

The individual goal-kicking record for a Hawthorn player versus Geelong is 12 by Jason Dunstall in 1990 and 1992, both at Waverley and both in Round 1. Peter Hudson has kicked the most goals for Hawthorn in Round 17, a tally of 10 recorded against St Kilda at Waverley in 1977.