Letter to HFC Members



Hi there Hawkers,

It’s been some time since I last spoke to you. I apologise for that, but we have not been idle at the club with a lot happening in the football department and work to progress the Kennedy Community Centre.

Kennedy Community Centre

This is a massive project, as you are aware. The Board, staff and our consultants are working very hard to bring this dream to life.

The site has had test pads installed to check any movement in the soil before we commence construction.

The Board met recently and approved further expenditure to complete the planning and design of the project and to secure the necessary planning approvals by the end of the first quarter next year. Such work is not easy, and several bodies must be satisfied before final approval is granted.

The Board did approve the purchase of a considerable amount of clean soil to make the site more suitable for the buildings and sporting fields. This soil will then have to be spread over various areas of the site.

I remind members that, once constructed, we will be the only AFL Club that owns its facilities. All other clubs are situated on council or state-owned lands.

I should also mention we at Hawthorn will have raised and contributed more of our own money for this project than any other club that has built or renovated their training facilities.

As we get further down the track, with designs having been finalised and approved, we will make such information available here on our website for all to view.

Football department

Under the leadership of Graham Wright and Mark McKenzie, our recruiting manager, we believe we have attracted new players to the club that will set us up well for next year and beyond.

We have brought in Jonathon Patton from GWS and Sam Frost from Melbourne, both very experienced players who will immediately contribute to our on-field outcomes.

In the National Draft we secured Will Day from South Australia. Will’s grandfather played in our 1971 Grand Final team and played again in 1972 before returning to SA to continue his football career.

We also secured Finn Maginness, the son of Scott Maginness, who played in our 1988 and 1989 Premiership teams.

Talk about the Family Club - we are breeding our own players!

Given all our players return to play match fit, I think we will be very competitive next year. I see very strong, forward, centre and backlines. We are optimistic at this stage of the year and we have every reason to be so.

Of course, at this time of the year we say goodbye to some wonderful contributors to our playing list. Jarryd Roughead, Grant Birchall and Ryan Schoenmakers. Our former captain has moved to St Kilda as part of their coaching team. Grant has moved to the Brisbane Lions and Schoey has retired from the game.

We thank them all and wish them all the very best with the next phase of their careers.


We expect the Tasmanian Taskforce, headed by Brett Godfrey, to hand down their report into the viability of a standalone Tasmanian team in the next couple of weeks. We await their recommendations with interest.

Based on experiences in my former political life, I have found that those who undertake such inquiries rarely then have the responsibility of delivering its findings. Interesting times ahead. We at Hawthorn have close to 10,000 paid up members in Tassie. The Taskforce’s recommendations and the response from the AFL and Tasmanian politicians will be closely watched by many beady-eyed Hawks.

Hawthorn has always, and will always support, that which is good for Tasmanian football.

Proposed changes to half-time

The latest suggestion coming out of AFL House is to half the half time break from 20 minutes to 10 minutes. This, to me, suggests again that the AFL is out of touch with the most important element of the game - those supporters who attend games week after week in their hundreds of thousands - their customers.

Attending a football game should be an experience that caters for all who attend.

By cutting the half-time break to 10 minutes, one can only imagine the rush and confusion as the demand for the toilets, becomes impossible. To purchase a drink or any of the other foods on sale which children see as part of the experience is already a tight fit given the demand. A 10-minute break will make this near impossible to achieve unless, again, they miss some of the game for which they have paid to see.

This then flows on to those companies that have paid through the nose for the concession rights to sell this food and drink. Their concession fees will have to be reduced substantially by any fall off in the volume of sales.

Can anyone remember any member crying out to change the length of the half time break, let alone a ground swell of demand for change. No.

The AFL says the club’s generally support the reduction of the half-time break. No again. The CEOs were told of the change, the Club Boards have not been consulted. It is said the players and coaches welcome the change. Maybe so, but that is out of self-interest. No thought for those attending the grounds each week.

Now the AFL say they will compromise and only reduce the break by five minutes, not 10!

Something which is not broken, on which there was no consultation with the clubs, is being changed because of the demands of one ingredient in the AFL mix, the broadcasters. The public, the customers, again being treated with contempt.

The AFL, the players and coaches should never forget they exist for the customer, the club member and supporter who pay a club membership or pays to attend the games, for the customer experience.

Hawthorn Annual General Meeting

Our 117th AGM was held on Tuesday night at the Hawthorn Town Hall.

Your club reported a surplus of $2.15m for the AFL financial year which finished at the end of October.

This is a good result as we are one of the very few clubs that is not dependant on the AFL above the player payments all clubs receive.

Honorary Life Membership was presented to Greg Boxall who has been a decades-long servant of the club and has made a huge contribution to our recruiting program. In fact, Greg contributed to six of our premierships. Greg accepted the award with a wonderfully engaging and amusing address to the AGM. We thank Greg for his contribution to our club and congratulate him on his
Life Membership.

Don Scott did not accept the Board’s invitation to be elevated to be a Club Legend. I am hopeful this will be achieved by next year’s AGM.

Our Senior Coach introduced our newest players to the meeting. The interviews reminded me again how young these boys are when they join football clubs. What is enjoyable is watching them grow and mature into men as the years unfold.

We are all very excited about our prospects next year, but of course, we are not getting ahead of ourselves. All we need is for our players to remain focused and fit and I am sure we are in for a great year in 2020.

I made the comment that next year’s playing schedule, the draw, is much better than what we experienced this year. Not only were too many of our games simply impractical for many to attend, but they cost the club over $500,000 in revenue.

Thank You

I thank all our members, long serving and new, for your continued support of our great club.

Regardless of where you live, we exist only because and for you. You are our customers and we keep trying to find ways to better engage with you and to improve your experience with the club.

I thank our CEO Justin Reeves and our administrative staff for what has been a sound year building a solid springboard for 2020.

To the football department, under Graham Wright, Alastair Clarkson and his coaches and support staff, thank you for the year, but that is history and all focus now is on what we can deliver together in season 2020.

Finally, to my fellow Board members. Without their passion, expertise and very constructive contribution to what is a very collegiate Board, the priorities of the club would not be as clear and well delivered as they are today.

So, Seasons Greetings to you all. Be happy, value the gift of life and stay safe!

I want the roar of our members to be loud and strong at every game to carry our players to great heights next year.




Jeff Kennett