Tom closes in on 250

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS -

Tom Hawkins says at his age it’s about get­ting through week by week and mile­stones will come nat­u­rally.

The AFL star and for­mer Fin­ley res­i­dent re­cently kicked his 500th ca­reer goal and if he can avoid in­jury play his 250th game later this year.

Since his de­but with Gee­long in 2007, the key for­ward has played 234 games. The ear­li­est he could play his 250th is round 19 against the Sydney Swans at the SCG.

Hawkins how­ever said as he gets older he just needs to stay healthy rather than fo­cus of mile­stones.

‘‘When you get to 30 in AFL football and add in the wear and tear of pre-season, I sup­pose play­ing 250 games be­comes a prod­uct of stay­ing fit and healthy.

‘‘You literally have to take it week by week and I’m still a long way from play­ing 250; nearly 20 games is quite a lot of football.

‘‘When I was younger I was ex­cited to play 50 games or 100 games and as you get older the fo­cus has to be on football and not think­ing in the back of my mind about rack­ing games up.’’

The past few weeks have been an emo­tional roller coaster for Hawkins where he and his wife Emma wel­comed their sec­ond daugh­ter Prim­rose Grace.

Just be­fore round one, Hawkins rolled his an­kle and was in doubt for the match, how­ever the Cats for­ward pulled through and kicked the match win­ning goal against Colling­wood, reach­ing his 500 goal mile­stone in the process.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing is go­ing re­ally well; it’s nice to be back home.

‘‘It was a pretty tough lead up to round one to have a baby then roll an an­kle.

‘‘Emma’s par­ents have come down from Deni for the past two weeks and have been fan­tas­tic.’’

Be­cause Hawkins plays with Gee­long, he and his fam­ily have the ad­van­tage of be­ing closer to the ru­ral scene com­pared to most play­ers across the AFL, as other teams are based in or close to cap­i­tal cities.

The fam­ily live on a small farm about 20 minutes west of Gee­long with a small head of An­gus cows.

Hawkins said al­though football is his main fo­cus, the farm does pro­vide an ex­tra side hobby for him.

‘‘The farm­ing is go­ing pretty well but we could do with a bit more rain.

‘‘Since the start of the year we’ve only had 16mm and it’s al­ready April. It hasn’t been super hot but it’s still dry.

‘‘I see farm­ing as a nice release from the cour­tesy AAP/Julian Smith.

hec­tic season. I used to own sheep for a short time but when you’re a hobby farmer and play­ing AFL it be­comes too dif­fi­cult.’’

Prior to mov­ing, Hawkins was liv­ing in the cen­tre of Gee­long for the first 12 years of his ca­reer.

He said it’s al­ways handy to have his dad John down from Fin­ley to help out where he can.

‘‘The last time I was properly work­ing on the farm I was 15 so you can for­get some things.

‘‘I’ve called dad in the past to ask him a cou­ple of ques­tions. He’s come to the farm and helped with things like fenc­ing.’’

When the SOUTH­ERN RIVE­RINA NEWS asked Hawkins who will win the flag if Gee­long don’t win it, he was unable to nar­row it down to one team

‘‘It’s re­ally hard to say who will win the flag this year,’’ he said.

‘‘West Coast played re­ally well at the back end of the season last year. I think RichPhoto mond are still the side to beat and Colling­wood play well at the MCG.

‘‘But also look at sides who played well but not at their best last year like Bris­bane and Port Ade­laide.

‘‘There are about 13 teams who are all a strong chance for the top eight.

‘‘No game is an easy win this year. Teams like St Kilda and Gold Coast might be go­ing through a rebuild but you still need to be play­ing good footy to beat them.

‘‘One pre­dic­tion I can make, if we don’t make the fi­nal then I’ll be sup­port­ing the Fin­ley Cats.’’

Gee­long have started the season 2-0 af­ter a com­fort­able 80 point thrash­ing of a lack­lus­tre Mel­bourne side on Satur­day night at Kar­dinia Park.

Hawkins booted two goals for the game and racked up 16 dis­pos­als.

To­mor­row night the Cats travel to Ade­laide to play the 2017 grand fi­nal­ist Crows. Pre­sented as a com­mu­nity ser­vice by South­ern Rive­rina Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Re­source Group and the South­ern Rive­rina News

Tom Hawkins evade a tackle from Mel­bourne’s Max Gawn on Satur­day night.

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