It’s no secret that this was a tough year win-wise for the women’s side. After dropping the Women’s Reserves side from 2022, the Women’s side found themselves consistently outmatched in Division one. However, if you’ll allow me some end-of-season sentimentality, despite being unable to notch up a single win in the new division, the Women’s side played every week with their fullest effort until the final siren. Everyone likes to win, and so it's a significant credit to the side that the scoreboard deficit never dampened the spirits.
Not only is the impressive level of team connectedness a testament to the Hawks, but there are plenty of positives that will be sure to put the Hawks in good stead for season 2024; new players to the Nest who have become integral parts of the team, and even new players to the sport who have taken to footy like a duck takes to water (or, more aptly, like a Hawk takes to flying). Season 2023 also marked several milestones for inaugural players and club favourites, who have proved their brown and gold hearts every week.
Footy really is about the community, and the people you play with - a sentiment that is carved into the very soul of the HAFC Women’s side. Even if the year was not particularly strong in terms of material, tangible success, the strength of the bonds built are more valuable than any win or trophy.
That being said, a few more wins on the board would be nice. Let’s bring on season 2024.
After a somewhat shaky start to the year, the Mens’ Reserves side was able to stabilise and put in an impressive effort for the season, capping it off with a finals berth. While it was ultimately a loss - losing such a wealth of experience to injury in the last game of the home and away season making it difficult - the Hawks still impressed with their development as a team. Capable of winning close games and of providing a thumping, the Dons side certainly proved the value of teamwork this year.
Throughout the year, Men’s Reserves Coach Tim Chapman emphasised the need for a sense of common purpose for the side, as well as putting in consistent four quarter efforts. This was no mean feat, with a lot of work both on and off the ground to really develop that team synergy. But, the Hawks did it, and as Chapman praised; “Our respect for each other is evident and our connection is strong!”. It seems that through each side, men and women alike, the group connection and the strong relationships built at the Nest are what sets the Hawks apart.
There were also milestones throughout the season for the Dons. Including club games and a huge 350 VAFA games, Hawthorn favourites, legends, and young talent alike were honoured for their commitment to the club and love of the sport.
For season 2024, the Dons will set their sights on new mountains to conquer and new challenges to rise to. It’s sure to be an exciting year, so keep your brown and gold paraphernalia close by.
In 2023, the Men’s Senior side impressed from the very first game. Their path this year led all the way to the Grand Final, and while it was not their day this past Saturday, their work this year has impressed and endeared the Hawthorn faithful everywhere. The Hawks this year boasted the top two goal scorers for the league, an excellent midfield and a brick wall defence. Working together, the side was capable of stunning even the best sides for emphatic victories, and utterly demolishing their opponents. Finishing the season second on the ladder, the Hawks proved their worth as among the best in Division Three.
Men’s Senior Coach Mark Murray again stressed the importance of the community that surrounds the Nest in his postgame address on Saturday, stating that footy is played not for the glory or the wins, but for the people; “This is why you want to be involved with a footy club,” .
2023 has been a big year for this side, with their teamwork, skill, and pace impressive week in and week out.
With a new season on the horizon, and new challenges, the Men’s Senior side will look to continue their stellar form from this year into the next. While flight 2023 may have landed, there’s always a new departure to look forward to.
So, with another season behind us, what have we learnt?
As cliche as it is, it seems we have learnt that teamwork, strong relationships and community connection are invaluable, and are part of not only the fabric of our club, but also the blood, bones, and other gross anatomical bits (forgive me, it's the end of the season, and even I run out of metaphors occasionally). Above all, 2023 has been about every single person that is part of our club; players, coaches, trainers, volunteers, spectators. Every bit of pain and glory belongs to us all, and together we go on to the future. Go Hawks.