My first real memory of the great Tom Hawkins was the 2009 season. I was eight. I remember him playing in glimpses before that year, but the Finley boy took our Cats hearts in the year of our eighth premiership.
He was the big number 26. I liked his style. He was very boisterous around the contest. He was taken under Cameron Mooney’s wing and it worked, the way any mentorship should.
He played nearly every game in 2009. My favourite obviously the 2009 Grand Final. He kicked two goals but I must admit, one of them did hit the post.
All is fair in love and war, I guess.
He notches up him 250ththis weekend and we, the Cats faithful, want nothing more than Tomahawk to put on a show away from home.
Through the banner for his milestone, carrying both of his daughters, his smile beams. We wish collectively that we all could have celebrated this at home, but a win is all we want to parade our Tomahawk.
Attacking footy, That’s all Geelong need, too. Take on the game, like we had at the start of the season.
It’s a groggy start. The Cats show glimpses of the Hawks game, where we let the intensity of the Swans force us to boot and handball aimlessly under pressure.
They like to play frenzied footy these Swans. Little skill, but just manic ball movement that breaks down the Cats after one missed kick or handball, on the counterattack.
Hawkins misses his first shot and we’re all sitting at home thinking:
“Are we really going to have another one of ‘those’ weeks?”
But he steadies us, soon after, in true Tomahawk fashion. Both arms risen, he roars- those in front of him must fear his power.
Chris Scott must have had a stern word at quarter time, because the Cats outscore the Swans five goal to three, but the manic pressure still keeps the Swans in the game.
Esava Ratugolea has been crucial in this first half, taking big pack marks. Again, he is structurally valuable in this side. I hope that one day, he can fill the shoes of the great Tom Hawkins, too.
A free kick is awarded to Ratugolea, which results in an early goal to kick start the third term.
James Parsons boots one from the boundary and it falls perfectly. Suddenly we have forgiven his issues against the Hawks last week.
Early in the final term, Swan Jordan Dawson sells so much candy to the Cats players, that they are full and slots a goal which tightens the margin.
I think for a brief second that Geelong’s early misses will be costly if we let the Swans play their manic pressure game again.
But, Tim Kelly is relentless through the midfield, so are the ever-trusted Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield.
The win is by 27 points. The exact same margin that we won by, when we met the Swans earlier this year.
And Hawkins boots five. Fitting for his day.
Leading up to this week, I shed a tear watching the video Geelong Cats Media complied in honour of Tom’s great career on and off the field with the Cats.
His wife Emma, choked up talking about Tom’s 150th– the game at Kardinia, played just one week after Hawkin’s mother Jen passed away.
I will always remember sitting in my seat in the Player’s Stand and watching him make a heart shape with his hands, after he booted a goal, towards the sky.
A touching tribute, Surrounded by his teammates- his friends and us- his admirers.
Emma said that she was blown away by the comradery and love shown by his teammates that week, through her tears.
And then it hit me. As much as winning Premierships and Goal-Kicking Awards can make up an impressive career, what truly makes it worth it, is the mateship that builds character and uncovers true colours within a club.
Emma Hawkins didn’t cry about the Premierships and accolades, but she did cry about how much this club and the people have helped Tom Hawkins in his life.
That’s what defines Tom Hawkins career.
His home is Geelong and we are honoured to be on this ride with our number 26.
SYDNEY 3.3 6.5 7.6 12.8 (80)
GEELONG 1.1 6.5 10.10 16.11 (107)
Sydney: Dawson 3, Heeney 3, Ronke 2, Papley, Kennedy, Blakey, Parker
Geelong: Hawkins 5, Clark 2, Dangerfield 2, Duncan 2, Ratugolea, S.Selwood, J.Selwood, Parsons, Atkins
Sydney: Mills, Dawson, Lloyd, Parker, Heeney, Kennedy
Geelong: Hawkins, Duncan, Kelly, Dangerfield, O’Connor, J.Selwood
Sydney: Oliver Florent (hip flexor) replaced in selected side by Ben Ronke
Umpires: Power, Margetts, Hosking
Official crowd: 32,911 at the SCG