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Letter to members: Good news all around

VFLW Season Launch: President's speech The Honourable Jeff Kennett AC addresses the crowd at Hawthorn's inaugural VFLW Season Launch.

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

Hello happy Hawkers,

And aren’t we happy! Another win under our belt and at this stage of the season, now 25 percent completed, we are four wins and two losses. A significantly better position than this time last year.

That said, it is more important where we finish than where we start and with some very tough games ahead of us, we will take it one game at a time.

As always, it was good to be in Tasmania over the weekend.

Friday, I addressed the Launceston Chamber of Commerce who are great supporters of Hawthorn’s presence in Tassie.

Later that evening we had dinner at a beautifully restored homestead called Quamby, about 30 minutes from the city and was once the home of the first Premier of Tasmania.

It has accommodation for about 24 people and sits in a country setting with a nine-hole golf course.

The food, service and ambience were fantastic, and I would strongly recommend it to any of you who might be travelling to Tassie and wanting to stay in a place with extraordinary character.

Saturday, along with Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman, I launched a report into the economic value of Tasmania’s sponsorship of Hawthorn.

In my opinion, I do not believe there is a more productive sponsorship in the AFL.

The report showed Hawthorn delivered an economic value to Tasmania in 2017 of $28.5m in cash and kind.

To give you some idea of the benefits of the Hawthorn sponsorship to Tasmania, particularly northern Tassie, consider these figures.

Our sponsorship with Tasmania is negotiated in five-year blocks.

The cost to Tasmania and its community is approximately $4m a year. Hawthorn spends approximately $600,000 a year on accommodation, transport etc in Tassie each year, so the net cost of the sponsorship to the Tasmanian community Is $3.4m

The benefit of the sponsorship to Tassie is $28.5m a year. Multiply that over five years of the contract and it equates to $142.5m of revenue to Tassie over that period. Or a multiple nod over eight times the value of the sponsorship.

For every $3.4m the Tasmanian community invests in Hawthorn they get in return $28.5m! Find me a better return on investment of any sponsorship in the AFL, or anywhere, and I will go he!

We are into our second year of this five-year contract, and in two years will start negotiating the next contract with the Tasmanian government.

A sponsorship that is a win/win for both parties.

Saturday was the first time in the club’s history we had played a night match for premiership points in Launceston. The ground was almost full, aided by the strong following of St Kilda supporters in Tasmania.

Prior to the game we witnessed the biggest fireworks display ever staged in Tasmania. It was spectacular. I am sure there are photos of the event on our website.

Watch: First Tassie night game starts with a bang

For the best part of three quarters the game was a bit of a struggle for both teams before our boys opened in the last to secure a good win.

It was good to see Shaun Burgoyne back on the field, David Mirra playing his third game, and James Worpel play his first game for the Hawks. And a very serviceable game he played.

Ben McEvoy and Jarman Impey were again great contributors. Not to forget Isaac Smith who kicked goals. In short, four points in the bank, but still room to improve.

The big news is that last night I attended the launch of our VFL women’s team.

We are one club with three teams. With AFL, VFL and VFLW teams. So, starts the next lap of the club’s history.

Our women are a great bunch of ladies. They appreciate the opportunity to be at Hawthorn and to play a game they love.

As you know, I have asked the AFL that we be admitted to the AFLW competition in 2020, along with all other clubs that have not been given a joining date. I think it is wrong for the AFL to discriminate against some clubs, but more importantly those women who want to play at the senior level.

That said, until then we at Hawthorn are committed to being successful in the VFLW.

To that end, we believe it is wrong to discriminate between our VFL and VFLW teams. Therefore, we will be paying all women who play in our VFLW team.

To our knowledge, we will be the first team in the VFL women’s competition to pay all players who pull on the brown and gold guernsey.

We will also be working with the coach and staff of the VFLW team to ensure our priority around the welfare of our employees is professionally extended to our women’s team.

In talking to the girls and seeing them train at Waverley Park I can assure you the girls are substantially less demanding than some other players I have met! They really appreciate the opportunity before them.

If any of you are free, the VFLW team play their first game of the season this Sunday at Windy Hill against Essendon at 1pm. I am sure they would appreciate your support. Sadly, I will be interstate but will be with them for their next game.

This missive is already too long.

But I cannot close without saluting our coach for maturing to the grand age of 50, as he did last weekend. Imagine how good a coach he will be when he completes his first century!

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