Jack Gunston is poised to join an elite group of just a dozen players who have been Hawthorn’s leading goalkicker three or more times.
Gunston was previously Hawthorn’s leading goalkicker in 2015 (57 goals) and 2016 (51). He has kicked 27 goals this year and needs two more on Sunday to equal Nick Holland’s 29 goals in 1997, otherwise it will be the lowest tally for the club’s leading goalkicker since John Peck won with 27 in 1958.
The champions of the past who have won Hawthorn’s goalkicking three or more times are Jason Dunstall (12 times), John Peck (8), Peter Hudson (6), Leigh Matthews (6), Lance Franklin (6), Bert Hyde (5), Michael Moncrieff (5), Alec Albiston (4), Albert Prior (4), Jarryd Roughead (3) and Kevin Coghlan (3).
Ben Stratton will be the first Hawthorn player to be captain in his final game since Richie Vandenberg in 2007. The three intervening captains – Sam Mitchell, Luke Hodge and Jarryd Roughead – continued as players after giving up the captaincy.
Paul Puopolo will finish his career on 196 games, equal with 1930s Hawthorn champion Bert Mills. The different fortunes of the club are reflected in the fact that Mills played in just 54 wins, while Puopolo has already played in 135. Only two players have finished closer to 200 than Mills and Puopolo without making the milestone – Des Meagher (198 games) and John Hendrie (197).
This Sunday, Hawthorn will have its latest finish to a home and away season, with 20 September surpassing Round 18 1934 which was played on 15 September. On that occasion, Hawthorn lost to eventual Premier Richmond at Punt Road by 31 points.
Hawthorn’s four previous games on 20 September have all been Preliminary Finals and all four saw Hawthorn wins, by big margins against Fitzroy (1986) and St Kilda (2008) and by narrow margins versus Geelong (2013) and Port Adelaide (2014).
It has been well documented that with Finn Maginness’ debut last Sunday the Maginness family have become the second family, after the Kennedys, to have three generations play VFL-AFL for Hawthorn. However, the Maginness family were close to being a four-generation family. As told in the book, Mud, Muscle and Blood: The Story of the 1957 Hawks, Finn’s great-grandfather Don was playing for the Hawthorn Seconds in 1928, and almost managed a Senior game, but was unable to get leave from his work in the railways.
As foreshadowed in last week’s Flashbacks, Finn Maginness’ debut meant Hawthorn has now used 40 players in a season for the first time since 1967. The last time the figure was higher than 40 was when Hawthorn used 42 players in 1946. The ten new players used in 2020 is the most since 2005.
Will Day’s recent nomination for the Rising Star award means that Hawthorn has had at least one nominee in 24 of the 28 seasons in which the award has existed. The only years when there were no young Hawks nominated were 2004, 2007, 2012 and 2014.
Hawthorn won its first eight games against Gold Coast, which was a better starting record than against any other club. The run ended in 2017, when the Hawks lost to the Suns by 86 points at Carrara in Round 3 and then suffered another defeat by 16 points at the MCG in Round 12.
Hawthorn bounced back with a 53-point win versus the Suns at University of Tasmania Stadium in 2018 and then thrashed them by 70 points at Docklands in Round 22 last season. This left the overall record between the clubs at 10-2 in Hawthorn’s favour.
Hawthorn has had a home game against Gold Coast every season since the Suns entered the competition in 2011, making 2020 the tenth consecutive season this has happened. Five of the previous nine home games have been played in Launceston, three at the MCG and one at Docklands. In contrast, the Hawks have only had three away games against the Suns - in 2011, 2014 and 2017.
Hawthorn has played 92 Round 18 matches (there were no Round 18’s in 1925, 1942 or 1943) for 40 wins and 52 defeats. In recent seasons it has been a good round, with the Hawks winning eight of their last nine Round 18 games, with victories in the past four seasons. Hawthorn has an even more impressive sequence in the final round of the home and away season, having won ten in a row from 2010 to 2019.
This round marks the 90th anniversary of one of the most famous wins in Hawthorn’s early VFL history. The final round of the 1930 season saw the tenth-placed Mayblooms given little chance against a Melbourne side that needed a win to secure its spot in the Four. The Glenferrie Oval crowd saw a stunning 13 point upset win – 12.18.90 to 10.17.77. It tipped Melbourne out of the Finals and capped off a much-improved season for Hawthorn under new captain-coach ‘Jiggy’ Harris, with the six wins clearly the best return from the club’s six VFL seasons to date.
80 years ago, in Round 18 1940, tenth-placed Hawthorn thrashed seventh-placed Fitzroy at Glenferrie by 56 points, with Jim Bohan starring with eight goals. It was only the seventh win of the Mayblooms’ season, but the year had produced some major highlights - a record score and winning margin, the first 10-goal haul (by Alec Albiston) and first wins at Princes Park and Punt Road.
60 years ago, in Round 18 1960, Hawthorn comfortably accounted for Geelong at Kardinia Park by 33 points. After a disastrous 0-5 start under new coach John Kennedy, the Hawks had won 11 of the remaining 13 games, including wins over both the eventual Grand Finalists – Melbourne and Collingwood.
Jarryd Roughead’s six goals against Gold Coast last season is the record for Hawthorn against the Suns, surpassing the bags of five kicked by Luke Breust (2011), Lance Franklin (2013) and Jack Gunston (2014 and 2017).
Peter Hudson holds the Hawthorn Round 18 record with a tally of nine against St Kilda in 1970. The previous highest before Hudson had come 30 years earlier when Jim Bohan kicked eight in 1940 (see above).