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


Hi there Hawkers,

Two matters of substance to report.

Firstly, the resignation of Professor Andrew Kaye from our Board.

I appointed Andrew in 2011, because I felt we needed a highly regarded medical person on our Board given the growing issues facing employees in any organisation. 

Andrew is perhaps Australia’s leading Neurosurgeon, with huge leadership responsibilities at the University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

He has also been a lifelong Hawthorn tragic but with very independent management, medical and football knowledge, all of which he has bought to his role on the Board. 

Andrew has just accepted a very major research position in Israel, where he will reside for at least the next six months.

While he could have remained a Board member and called or skyped into our meetings, Andrew thought it better to resign to make way for a successor.

On behalf of the Board, and I am sure the Hawthorn Family, I want to thank Andrew and his wife Judith for the considerable time they spent on Hawthorn matters over the journey. Both will be missed.

We wish them well and look forward to seeing them again on their eventual return to Australia.

Given the importance the Board attaches to the welfare - mental and physical - of all our employees, the Board will replace Andrew with another person with medical skills and knowledge.

The second issue I wish to raise is this Friday night’s game against Collingwood.

Clearly, we expect a great display of football skills, and hopefully the four points will be secured.

Importantly, as a result of a suggestion by one of our Executive Leadership Team members, the game will be dedicated to the welfare of our emergency services personnel, both serving and retired. Hence, Friday night’s clash will play host to the inaugural Emergency Services Match, proudly presented by BankVic. 

Partnering with Emergency Management Victoria, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, CFA, Life Saving Victoria, Forest Fire Management, Victorian State Emergency Service and ESTA 000, the Emergency Services Match will use the power of football to shine a light on the men and women who do extraordinary things, risking their lives every day to protect and support our communities. 

We often take for granted the work these men and women do for our community. However, without their professionalism, our society would be very different than it is today. 

Sadly, in the line of conducting their responsibilities these men and women so often must confront the most horrific circumstances. Not once, but often many times during their lives.

As you know many lose their lives on duty, many are wounded and many deal with the after effects of such incidents for life.

The Emergency Services Foundation, which dispenses services to all arms of our Emergency Services, has at its core the welfare of all their personnel, including retired men and women within those services.

Therefore, on Friday night, in collaboration with the Collingwood Football Club, we will be lifting the public awareness of the importance of our emergency service personnel and raising funds for their foundation.

To that end both we at Hawthorn and Collingwood are donating $25,000 each to the Foundation. In addition, the Victorian State Government have shown their support of the match, contributing $100,000 in support of Friday night’s activities. They join BankVic, WorkSafe and TAC as great partners of this fantastic initiative. 

The Channel 7 broadcast of the game will also encourage attendees and viewers to contribute to the Foundation.

Imagine if every Victorian was to give just $1 each, the Foundation would receive close to $6 million.

If those of us who want to contribute gave just $10 per family member the sum would also be considerable.

I guess the question is what value do you place on our emergency services, their officers, and the tasks they carry out on our behalf?

You can donate by visiting or texting THANKS2U to 0473 000 111. 

Therefore, we hope this Friday night we will see a great game of football, but the start of a long association between Hawthorn and our Emergency Services agencies. 

We may not need a particular service every day, week, month or even year, but when we do, it could be a matter of life and death for ourselves or a family member, so I urge you all to consider donating with a gift you will be proud of.

Finally, the game against last year’s Premiers, West Coast, was disappointing given we could have won had we kicked better, but the upside was our boys played out the four quarters with a much greater application than we have seen in too many games this year.

I was heartened by the effort of some of our younger and newer players. So, I left the ground in a much better frame of mind than on other occasions this year, and excited by our prospects. 

It was also the game at which our major sponsor Tasmania provided us with several products produced in Tassie for our pleasure. From the food we ate, to the cheeses, whiskeys and brandies provided for tasting at our official function. 

I thank all those Tasmanian businesses and personnel who made the day such an outstanding event. 

It was also the day we played for the Beyond Blue Cup, which of course this year was won by West Coast, so congratulations to them. 

For now, stay well. Hope to see many of you at Friday night’s game and let’s hope we can defeat the Pies.



Jeff Kennett