Top Cat cel­e­brates 200 games

Southern Riverina news - - FRONT PAGE -

It was a night to re­mem­ber for Fin­ley’s Tom Hawkins, when he played his 200th se­nior game for Gee­long Cats in a 22 point win over Ade­laide Crows on Fri­day night.

The star for­ward kicked two goals, both in the sec­ond quar­ter, in front of ador­ing fans and fam­ily at Si­monds Sta­dium in Gee­long.

His wife Emma, daugh­ter Ara­bella and dad John were all in at­ten­dance for the big night that cel­e­brated the ca­reer of Hawkins.

While Hawkins didn’t have a huge night on the field in­di­vid­u­ally, it was more the mo­ments be­fore the game that stick out in his mind.

‘‘To be able to run through the ban­ner with my daugh­ter Ara­bella in my arms is just so spe­cial,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s quite a his­toric mo­ment per­son­ally to play my 200th so to be able to share it with my fam­ily makes it all the bet­ter.

‘‘I’d al­ways dreamed of reach­ing 200 games due to the num­ber of blokes whose names are up on the board above my locker.’’

It’s been a fan­tas­tic ca­reer for the no. 26 so far, col­lect­ing the ul­ti­mate prize of a premier­ship medal in both 2009 and 2011.

Tom Hawkins talks to sports jour­nal­ist Jamie Lowe about reach­ing the 200 game mile­stone, life af­ter footy, and his AFL ca­reer - page 6.

In­di­vid­u­ally, Hawkins has had an im­pres­sive run be­ing Gee­long’s lead­ing goal­kicker from 2012 to 2016, win­ning the Gee­long best and fairest Carji Greeves Medal in 2012, as well as be­ing named at full for­ward in the 2012 AFL All-Aus­tralian team.

He has kicked 417 goals, the sev­enth most for the Cats and with a few more sea­sons un­der his belt is ex­pected to climb the lead­ing goal­kick­ers’ tally to third, with former team­mate Steve Johnson in third place with 452.

By reach­ing 200 games, Hawkins has joined a pres­ti­gious group.

‘‘In my first week at the club one of the first things I saw was the 200 game hon­our board,’’ he said.

‘‘It was sit­ting above my locker and I just thought to my­self that it would be amaz­ing to have my name up there one day.

‘‘Names like Barry Stone­ham, Paul Couch and Gary Ablett Snr were up there and th­ese were the blokes I loved and ad­mired when I was a kid.

‘‘Dur­ing my time as a player other blokes like Matty Scar­lett, Corey En­right and Cameron Ling made their way onto the board.

‘‘Now my name is go­ing to get up there, which is pretty hum­bling.’’

Hawkins is cur­rently en­joy­ing a week’s break with Emma and Ara­bella with the Cats hav­ing a bye. He’ll also get an­other week away from play­ing due to a con­tro­ver­sial sus­pen­sion fol­low­ing a ‘jumper punch’ in the game against Ade­laide.

Fin­ley’s Tom Hawkins is chaired from the field by close mates Joel Sel­wood and Harry Tay­lor af­ter his 200th game on Fri­day night. Photo cour­tesy Michael Will­son/AFL Me­dia.

Tom Hawkins gives daugh­ter Ara­bella a kiss be­fore his mile­stone match. Photo cour­tesy Michael Will­son/AFL Me­dia.

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