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

Hi there Happy Hawkers, 

I am assuming you are all happy because you are up and about and reading this note. Which means we all woke up this morning, and the gift of life is the greatest gift of all.  

You are also happy no doubt because we are all part of a great family, being the Hawthorn Football Club family. 

Regardless of where you live in these extraordinary times, hopefully normality will return soon and we will be able to travel within Australia and by next year be able to watch our team compete.  

To our members in WA, SA, QLD and NSW. Many of you have been able to see the team compete in your state this year, so some good has resulted from the conditions here in Victoria.  

To our members and supporters in Tasmania, we are sorry we are not able to be with you this year. Outside of Victoria you are our biggest membership base and we miss being with you. But that is life and we accept the decisions of your Government to keep your borders closed to keep the State free of COVID-19. 

That said, when the borders open, we will see what we can do to tour Tasmania to catch-up with our members well before next season starts. 

As we sit in our homes, we think of our players, coaches and support staff that have been away from their homes for weeks, and still with weeks to go. Some have families with them. while others are for reasons of work separated from their partners, children, and families 

The Board thanks all of those who are part of the travelling party. While it might be better than being in Victoria at present, they all live under very strict AFL conditions, so believe me it is no holiday. 

We should all be happy at the endeavour the team displayed for four quarters last week against Port Adelaide. It was great to watch. No, we did not get the four points, but we walked tall when leaving the field. 

How good is Will Day? Just joined us, as light as a 15-year-old but already played a solid eight games. 

How sad the injury to James Sicily? For him personally, but also for the club. He is what I would hold up as an example of one of Clarko’s white line players. So much so that his reputation means he is always targeted by the opposition throughout every game. An indication of James’s maturity being that he now does not strike back (fingers crossed) and is a regular in our team. We wish James a speedy recovery. We understand that will take a year, but he is in the hands of the best medical staff possible.  

Lastly, I wish to inform you, that after a lot of thought, soul searching and discussion I have decided to offer myself for re-election as your President at the AGM in December. 

This was not an easy decision for a lot of reasons. Had this year progressed as per normal, I would have stood down and handed the baton to any one of many people qualified to lead the club. 

I was invited back to the Presidency three years ago to rebalance the ship after an issue with an earlier appointment. I am happy to say that with the assistance of the Board and leadership within the administration, we have done that.  

However, COVID-19 has changed the landscape for us all, including the football industry. The environment has changed in ways none of us could have imagined. 

The AFL must shrink in size to get through the next 18 months. can’t even say confidently that we will be able to conduct the game with crowds in Victoria in 2021. 

Sadly, we have already had to shrink our workforce and farewell some very talented people.    

I am certain the AFL is going to make further demands on itself and the clubs. At this stage we do not have all the necessary information from the AFL to even plan for next year.  

It was this uncertainty, and the experience I have from joining the Board at Hawthorn when we were struggling in 2005, that convinced me to stand again to make sure we get through this period of uncertainty and challenge. 

Of course, whether I continue as President is at your discretion when you will all be given the opportunity to vote on your future leadership team. 

I have said many times previously that I will, after discussions with others, make my position clear in August to give certainty to members, our administration and Board. I have made that decision and communicate it to you all first, as is appropriate.  

So enough from me for now. We are all working hard at discharging our immediate responsibilities, but also clearly focusing on season 2021. 

Stay well all and go Hawks. 

Jeff Kennett