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

Hi there one and all, 

Well with one game to go this seasonapart from giving some of our young players the opportunity to get another game under their belts, the quicker the season ends the better. 

It has been very tough to watch many of our games this year. 

But as our 2020 season ends, I am reminded of a memory from 2005 that I have never forgotten. At the end of a pretty sad year, the players and I left the ground after a loss at the MCG and as we were going down the race a supporter/member in a Hawthorn jumper leaned over the race and said to me Don’t worry Jeff, we will be back next season. 

Unbridled confidence in the club. Just is the loyalty of members of all clubs. We have this extraordinary capacity to live the moment and look to the future regardless of the success or otherwise that we have experienced in the present time. 

Onwards and upwards! 

With the season ending we are witnessing some changes.  

Two stalwarts of the club have announced their retirement and will play their last game on Sunday.

Our Captain Ben Stratton joined Hawthorn in the draft of 2009, playing his first game in 2010Stratts will retire with three premiership medals around his neck, 202 games and having served as our captain from season 2019 until now.  

An extraordinary record of success and achievement. He was an integral part of our three-peat era.  

Importantly Stratts finishes his football career as a one club player, something I always like to see. He is also leaving the game a wonderful clubman, who is highly respected by his peers and a great servant of our club. 

Paul Puopolo will also leave the field for one last time with his captain next week. 

Poppy, as he is affectionally referred to, is to me the living example of persistence. He reminds me a bit of our former captain and now Assistant Coach Sam Mitchell, he never gives up. He is always in there contesting 

Poppy also leaves us with three Premiership medals around his neck and having played 196 games after this final round. He also leaves Hawthorn as a one club player. 

It is a great pity we cannot be with Stratts and Poppy for their last gameespecially given their service to the club. That said, we will arrange an appropriate occasion next year at a home game to salute their contribution.  

On behalf of the Board and Members I sent both a text of thanks and congratulations to both players last night. 

Both Stratts and Poppy will always be part of the wonderful Hawthorn story and family, and as they are about to start the next lap of their lives we wish them all the best, and they will always be welcome at Hawthorn.  

The other news is that the club has decided to play Shaun Burgoyne for one more year. 

There are two reasons for that. Shaun is a natural leader and a very real stabilising influence among our players. As we are going to have a lot of new faces next year, many very young, we wanted to ensure there was the mix of youth and maturity, and we feel Shaun’s experiences will be in valuable in melding the team into a competitive force. 

Secondly, Shaun is an amazing role model within the Indigenous community, and we feel there is a real opportunity for him to have a lasting impact within our Indigenous programs off the field. 

Shaun will take on a role within our program next year, with a view to transitioning full time into this area after his retirement. This is very exciting for our club and Shaun and was a key driver in our decision to extend Shaun’s contract by another year.   

So my friends, times are a changing. But then again nothing ever stands still, and if you do, you go backwards. I for one am already looking forward to next season.  

Jeff Kennett