Letters to Members 21st March 2019,


Dear Members,


Well here we go again!

Another season, and every team is confident of success. Understandable.

But by the end of September only one will salute; the best, that is the fittest, with few injuries, that is most focused and, of course, has the skills to win on the day.

We at Hawthorn are ready for the challenge. We are strong.

The selection of one captain, Ben Stratton and one vice-captain, Jack Gunston, is an indication that we are serious, focused, with a clear chain of command. It is the Hawthorn way.

Supported by their very experienced leadership group in Isaac Smith, Liam Shiels, Ben McEvoy and Jaeger O’Meara, we have the experience to deliver.

The other side of the coin is to have the youthfulness that is driven by a desire to win premierships.

We have great combination of experience and youth, and it fills me with great confidence for the journey that lies ahead.

Our GM Football Graham Wright and Coach Alastair Clarkson and their team are also relaxed but focused.

What makes this season a lot different from those of the recent past is another set of rule changes, and it is difficult for the players and coaches to predict how they will actually work.

I support the rule to limit the amount of time runners are on the playing field, but why the AFL stopped there I have no idea. Why did they not reduce the number of field umpires back to one?

Leave the playing field to the players.

Regardless of my views, the changes will cause all players and coaches to manage their impact over time.

There is another change I have asked our CEO Justin Reeves to pursue with the AFL and that is the number of seats allocated to away teams.

Take our first game on Saturday against Adelaide. We, as the travelling team, get awarded 500 tickets for our members. That is grossly inadequate to accommodate our South Australian members alone.

I am very grateful to the Adelaide Football Club, who I believe have released a further 300 tickets to us to help us meet demand from our SA members.

I hope now all our SA members who have written to me have been able to secure seats.

I have asked Justin to raise this with the AFL to ensure club’s can better cater for local members, and those members who wish to travel interstate.

I would suggest that any of the tickets not allocated by close of business on the Wednesday before the game, the home club is given these to allocate for their members and supporters.

One thing we have learned from our games in Tassie is that the local economy gets a massive boost from our members, families and sponsors who travel to the games - many making a weekend of the trip.

The same benefits would accrue to Adelaide and South Australia this week if we had more tickets to allocate to our members. The same goes if we travel to other states.

Surely it is a win for all concerned; it would satisfy interstate membership, give travelling members an opportunity to have a weekend away, and get a higher economic return for the governments who have generally funded these wonderfully new and exciting stadiums.

It will be interesting to see if we can get any traction on this idea.

Anyway, back to the present. I notice all the tipsters are tipping Adelaide to win Saturday’s game. Am I missing something here?

I am clearly backing Hawthorn, but the best team will win on the day.

Thanks to all of you who have already joined as a member in 2019. 69,721 already, it’s a great start, but our target this year is 85,000 so still a long way to go. If you know of anyone who is yet to renew, please encourage them to do so.

For now, be well, have fun and stay safe.


Jeff Kennett                                                                                                                                                                                                     


Hawthorn Football Club

PS. Our club, more specifically our Graphic Designer Frankie Holzer, created the simplest graphic yesterday that so succinctly depicts Hawthorns rejection of the attacks on the iconic image of Tayla Harris.

I have included the graphic and its accompanying simple words to support the rejection of such trolling and reinforce this powerful message.