Author(s): Martin Blake
Winning a phenomenal three premierships in a row - and four under the tenure of coach Alastair Clarkson - has cemented this Hawthorn team as one of the all-time greats. At the end of the 2004 season Hawthorn was an unholy mess, with no coach, no chief executive and no captain. Enter Clarkson, who established a club culture based on endurance, courage, mateship and sacrifice, and who in 2008, won the first of his four premierships. It was an unlikely win, since Geelong was clearly the best team of the year. All premierships are different. If the 2013 flag was about redemption following the 2012 loss to the Sydney Swans, 2014 was about resilience in the face of injury and Lance Franklin's absence. 2015 was about determination: after the preliminary final defeat at the hands of West Coast, Hawthorn simply refused to lose again, and laid waste to the same team at the MCG. Under Clarkson, there is always a way to win. From Jeff Kennett's reign to the defection of Franklin; from Sam Mitchell standing down as captain to make way for Luke Hodge to the key roles of Jarryd Roughead and Cyril Rioli, this is the story of the team that Alastair Clarkson built, in a decade of success.
Martin Blake has written on sport for more than 25 years, most of it with The Age in Melbourne. He has covered every AFL season since 1986, and several Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, US Masters golf tournaments, the British Open Championship and various Australian cricket tours. He has won numerous awards for writing on Australian football, cricket and golf, and is a member of the MCG Media Hall of Fame. He also broadcasts on sport for the ABC. Martin plays far too much golf, and lives in Melbourne.