The golden era of the Hawthorn Hawks appears over… for now.
The brown and gold warriors that have shared more victories than most players have in a lifetime are starting to disappear, and the once feared outfit look vulnerable. Since 2006 the Hawks have only missed the top 8 once (2009), a hangover from the Premiership the year before.
With a plethora of stars hoisting the list to unbelievable heights, including a three-peat of flags between 2013-15 and another one 2008, coach Alistair Clarkson’s side has been the envy of the competition.
After an 0-4 start in 2017 and the departures of club greats Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis, the football world has been quick to kick the Hawks while they’re down. So happy are the many wounded Hawthorn-haters, they have created as many jokes and memes as the internet can handle.
Here are a couple of examples provided by AFL Memes:
But, despite the humour surrounding the dire situation the Hawks face for this season, is it all that doom and gloom for the powerhouse of the competition?
Yes, they have some ageing superstars still on the list, who may or may not be around after this season, but there are quite a few positives to look into beyond the next six months.
Firstly, the Hawks are in the initial stages of a multi-million dollar shift into an elite sporting facility at Dingley, which will see their program enhanced even further than it already is.
Secondly, they aren’t even the oldest list in the competition:
Thirdly, they have a quality core that is capable of taking them through this current phase of development. It is scary to think how good Jaeger O’Meara and Tom Mitchell will be after one or two seasons under the tutelage of Luke Hodge and Al Clarkson.
In the coming 1-2 years, the Hawks will likely say goodbye to Hodge, Josh Gibson and Shaun Burgoyne, yet still have quality years left in the likes of new skipper Jarryd Roughead, Cyril Rioli, Isaac Smith and Jack Gunston.
Add in the Hawks’ ability to recruit draft gems, their shrewd trading and their steady upper-management, and all signs point to a quick turnaround.
So, laugh while you can if you dislike the Hawks, because it is unlikely to last long. Perhaps they could turn it around this weekend against the Saints?
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