This week’s game is on Saturday 15 May, which is a special date in Hawthorn history.

It was on Saturday 15 May 1943 that coach Roy Cazaly announced before a game against Essendon that from now on the club’s nickname would be changing from the Mayblooms to the Hawks.

Cazaly demanded that all players live up to the new name ‘by being ready to fight hard and carry the ball with pace and dash to the goal’. It had a quick impact, as 1943 proved to be Hawthorn’s best season in its first three decades in the VFL. And, since the nickname change, the Hawks have won 13 Premierships, well ahead of the next highest club in the same period, which is Carlton with 10.

Why the stats from our game against the Eagles will surprisingly make you feel a whole lot better

Sad news with the passing of Brendan Edwards, a man whose place in Hawthorn history was assured by his best-on-ground performance in Hawthorn’s first premiership success in 1961.

Edwards’ other honours included finishing second in the 1958 Brownlow Medal, representing Victoria on eight occasions and winning Hawthorn’s Best & Fairest in 1960.

Edwards believed that he was in career-best form against Richmond at Punt Road in Round 10 1963 when, at the ten-minute mark of the third quarter, he suffered a serious knee injury which ended his career. However, his subsequent work on fitness helped set-up the next successful Hawthorn era, which culminated in the 1971 Premiership.

For the first time this season, the Hawks only had three Premiership players – Ben McEvoy, Luke Breust and Liam Shiels - in the team when they took on West Coast last Sunday. In the previous seven games, one of Shaun Burgoyne or Jack Gunston had also played to make the number four.

In the last 60 years, there have been just two other seasons which have been the sixth since the most recent Hawthorn Premiership – 1967 and 1997. By comparison, the team in Round 8 1967 also had only three remaining members of the 1961 Premiership team – Graham Arthur, Ian Law and Reg Poole.

In Round 8 1997, the number of remaining 1991 Premiership players was four, with Anthony Condon, Jason Dunstall, Stephen Lawrence and Darrin Pritchard in action, although there were three other Premiership players still on the list - John Platten, Chris Langford and Ray Jencke. None of the seven remained by 1999.

Hawthorn’s clash with North Melbourne in Launceston on Saturday will be the first time the Hawks have taken part in a game between the bottom two teams on the ladder since Round 2 2007. Hawthorn won that game against Melbourne by 22 points - 17.14.116 to 14.10.94. Hawthorn also played in a pair of ‘bottom two’ encounters in 2005, Alastair Clarkson’s first year as coach, which were a two-point loss to Essendon in Round 3 and a 24-point victory against Carlton in Round 17.

Hawthorn has played North Melbourne more than any other opponent, with the 177 meetings between the clubs being comfortably ahead of the 168 games the Hawks have played against their next most common rivals, Carlton, Geelong and Sydney. Hawthorn has won 98 times against the Kangaroos, lost 77 and drawn two. Hawthorn’s best winning sequence against North Melbourne was 14 from 1985 to 1993.

The two clubs have met on seven previous occasions at University of Tasmania Stadium, with Hawthorn holding a 5-2 advantage, including the last three encounters there. The most recent was in Round 21 2017 when Hawthorn won by 27 points – 18.8.116 to 14.5.89. Luke Breust kicked four goals and Tom Mitchell had 35 disposals.

Last season’s 31-point victory against Carlton at Perth Stadium ended a run of four consecutive Round 9 defeats for the Hawks. Overall, in Round 9, Hawthorn has recorded 43 wins and 52 defeats from 95 games, having had the bye in 2014.

10 years ago, in Round 9 2011, a brilliant third quarter set up a 46-point Hawthorn win against Sydney at the SCG. The Hawks led by just four points at the main break but a 7.6 to 2.4 third term put the result beyond doubt. Hawthorn won 15.16.106 to 8.12.60. with Lance Franklin kicking six goals and other good players including Grant Birchall and Luke Hodge.

This year we are celebrating the anniversaries of the 1961, 1971 and 1991 Hawthorn Premiership teams. All three had important wins in Round 9:

The 1961 Hawks went into their Round 9 encounter with Geelong at Kardinia Park with a 4-4 record. No-one knew it that day, but the hard fought nine-point win they achieved that day was the first of a sequence of 12 consecutive victories which was to culminate in the 1961 Grand Final. Making up for his slow start to the season, Colin Youren was best-on-ground, while John Peck, in his new role as full-forward kicked six out of Hawthorn’s 10 goals.

The 1971 Hawks produced a stunning performance in Round 9 beating reigning Premiers, Carlton by 10 goals on their own Princes Park ground – 14.12.96 to 4.12.36.  Peter Hudson kicked five and Leigh Matthews four, with others prominent in the list of best players including Kevin Heath, Ian Bremner and Don Scott.

In 1991, fifth-placed Hawthorn took on second-placed Essendon in a Round 9 Waverley Park clash. The Hawks trailed by seven points at the final change, before winning 15.13.103 to 13.9.87. In Jason Dunstall’s absence, the leading goal-kickers were Paul Dear (4) and Paul Hudson (3), while John Platten and Matthew Robran got Brownlow votes.

Lance Franklin’s 13 goals in 2012 set a new club record against North Melbourne, breaking the previous high of 10 kicked jointly by Alec Albiston (1940) and Jason Dunstall (1988).

Peter Hudson holds the Round 9 record, booting 10 in a 30-point victory over Fitzroy at Glenferrie in 1968.