Letter to Members of the HFC


Hi guys,

Well with every passing week we are closer to the season's start.

A couple of things I wish to bring to your attention if you have not already caught up with them.

To start, there has been a change to the leadership of the playing group.

Jack Gunston, at his request, has stood down as vice-captain. He made this choice because he wants this year to focus on his on-field activities, believing he did not live up to his own expectations. A big call, but we respect his decision. We also thank him for his service last year and join with him in hoping he has a cracker of a year on-field.

Stepping up as vice captains are Jaeger O’Meara and Tom Mitchell. I do not have to tell you how experienced they both are, but I do want to emphasise that the pair are two of the hardest and most consistent trainers within our playing group. To that end they have been, and are, leading by example.

We wish them, together with Captain Ben Stratton and entire leadership group, all the best for the season and in their roles representing the club. They have the Board's full support.

You will also be aware that players, staff and even a Board member, 75 in number, recently took three days out to assist in clearing up and rebuilding fences burnt in the Buchan and Corryong regions of Victoria.

This is not the first time the club has been involved in this sort of activity. We have done the same in Tasmania when they were ravaged by fires. It is, however, is the first time staff members and Board members have participated. 

The club never seeks publicity for these activities, we see it as a natural part of our responsibilities, based on a culture developed now over decades.

That said, we are considering as part of the club’s pre-season operations that we might allocate three to five days each year when players, staff and others can participate in a community service activity, as was done recently.

Through this program, not only are we doing something that is helpful to community, but it is also a form of reliance, one person with another to deliver the best possible outcome. A wonderful team building exercise, but very different from trading and playing football. You will hear more about this concept as the year unfolds and we give more thought to the proposal.

The Tasmanian Government AFL Taskforce Report into the viability of Tasmania investing in its own team was released last Friday. I, together with the CEO and Board have read the report.

We do not intend to comment on the report publicly at this stage. Suffice to say the establishment of a Tasmania team will require decisions and commitments to be made by Tasmanian politicians and the AFL.

We are not part or privy to those decisions.

We will shortly be starting our discussions with the Tasmanian Government as per our current agreement as this contract expires at the end of 2021. Of course, we will also meet with the Tasmanian Opposition to seek their views.

I am also very interested in getting the views of our near 10,000 Tasmanian members.

So, there is a long way to go in this process, and I hope to report back to all members after our discussions with the Tasmanian politicians.

To finish, you might have noticed the AFL have decided not to shorten the half time break at football matches. I welcome this decision, given the concept was not matched by any research, not one football patron requested a shortened half-time, and totally ignored the interests and comfort of those patrons who attend football matches.

It is also pleasing to see that common sense has prevailed at the AFL and we will not be seeing an ‘M’ added to the name of the male competition in an effort to differentiate between the men and women’s competition. Another stupid suggestion coming from the AFL.

I said in my last missive to you, that I am excited about our on-field prospects this year. Nothing has changed. The club is in good shape and everyone just wants the siren signalling the start of the season to sound.

On Friday 28 February we will head to Morwell to host a practice match against St Kilda. This is not only an important build-up for both teams heading into the start of the season, but also an important opportunity to contribute to rebuilding confidence and visitation to the Gippsland region, so seriously affected by the recent bushfires. I hope to see as many of our members there as possible, we can all contribute in some way to rebuilding this region.

For now, stay well one and all. I will write again in the next few weeks.


Jeff Kennett