One of the many roles of the Hawks Museum is in providing answers to the numerous questions asked by our supporter base or the general public seeking information, statistics, or photos for family histories. We are often asked, ‘Can you tell me when this guernsey was worn?’ or, ‘What was this trophy for?’ or, ‘Why is dad, uncle or grandfather not in a particular team photo?’
From time to time, though, the Museum receives a request where we are unsure whether or not the correct answer can be given. One recent request came from 1971 premiership star and former club director, Bruce Stevenson. He sent in a photo of a medallion featuring the Hawks Club Badge, which appeared on numerous trophies presented to players and officials during the 1960s and early 1970s. The medal was in the collection of the late Lyn ‘Joe’ Humphrey, a teammate of Stevenson and a close friend, having made a trip to America together in 1974.
Humphrey was a member of Hawthorn’s Under 19s in 1969. His coach was former player Brian Coleman who had learned the basic requirements of coaching from his former coach Jack Hale. The players soon learnt that Coleman demanded success. With discipline and skilled training methods they won a sufficient number of home-and-away matches to qualify for the finals for the first time in the club’s history in the Under 19 competition. They successfully negotiated the first semi-final against Essendon and the preliminary final against Fitzroy to set up a Grand Final against premiership favourites Richmond.
With exceptionally accurate kicking, Richmond 17.7.109 defeated Hawthorn 13.14.92 to win by 17 points, taking out their third consecutive Under 19 Grand Final at the MCG. Joe Humphrey had a solid game at full-forward, kicking three goals. It is interesting to note that his teammates included John Hook, playing on the half-back flank and George Stone, who was named as one of the best players, kicking four goals in a fine performance as a rover. Hook, Stone and Coleman would reunite in the Hawks’ golden era in the 1980s, with Hook as Football Manager, Stone as club runner and Coleman as Chairman of Selectors. Joe Humphrey later played three games with the Reserves in 1970 and then with Box Hill (1970-1972), playing 38 games and kicking seven goals.
The Museum has spoken to John Hook about the medal, which belonged to Humphrey. Hook has the same medal, with his name engraved, but can’t remember how he came to possess it. It is possible that the team members were presented with the medallions for being runners-up in the contest for the 1970 Premiership.
It is one of the strange anomalies in VFL/AFL Grand Finals that the team that comes runner-up or second place on the final ladder receives no tangible award as a keepsake for their efforts. Yet with individual awards, such as club Best & Fairest awards, the place-getters are rewarded.
If anyone can shed some light on the origins of the medal shown here or has a team photo of the 1969 Under 19 side that we could copy, please contact the Hawks Museum.