Tom fit and ready

Southern Riverina news - - Sport - By Marissa Daly

FIN­LEY’S Tom Hawkins is fit and ready for this Satur­day’s AFL Grand Fi­nal.

The gi­ant Gee­long for­ward is aim­ing at his sec­ond flag hav­ing played in the Cats 2009 pre­mier­ship vic­tory over the Saints.

Hawkins, 23, is ex­pected to start as a key for­ward against Colling­wood.

The SOUTH­ERN RIVE­RINA NEWS spoke with Tom’s fa­ther and former le­gendary Gee­long player John ‘Jump­ing Jack’ Hawkins yes­ter­day.

He said his son was re­laxed and ex­cited ahead of game day.

‘‘The fact he has al­ready played in a grand fi­nal will cer­tainly help him pre­pare. The St Kilda game (2009 grand fi­nal) was as tight as they come, so he knows what to ex­pect.

‘‘I spoke to Tom af­ter the game (against the West Coast Ea­gles) on Satur­day, he is look­ing for­ward to the week ahead.

‘‘It’s a fun week, not too much train­ing, but with a fo­cus on plan­ning and sort­ing out any sore spots.’’

Mr Hawkins said it was an in­cred­i­ble ex­pe­ri­ence for Tom.

‘‘I look at these kids and think it’s just a dream for them. To get drafted and then be part of a side that makes the grand fi­nal.’’

Mr Hawkins said he ex­pected Satur­day’s clash to be tough, but ‘‘we just want Gee­long to win’’.

Tom Hawkins was of­fi­cially se­lected by Gee­long in the 2006 AFL Draft un­der the fa­ther­son rule and be­gan play­ing in 2007.

As he pre­pares to take the ‘big stage’ once again, stu­dents across the re­gion cel­e­brated his achieve­ments at the Tom Hawkins Fun Day.

It was held as part of the ‘Aussie Rules in Schools’ pro­gram at the Fin­ley Re­cre­ation Re­serve last week.

AFL De­vel­op­ment co­or­di­na­tor An­drew Rich- ard­son said the an­nual Tom Hawkins Fun Day was an op­por­tu­nity for both girls and boys at all skill lev­els to ‘‘have a go’’ at Aussie Rules.

Mr Richard­son thanked the school teach­ers and the Fin­ley High School um­pires for their sup­port.

AFL De­vel­op­ment co­or­di­na­tor Andrew Richard­son an­swers some ques­tions at the Tom Hawkins Fun Day.

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