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Best and fairest caps Hawkins' turnaround

Date

Jared Lynch

Best and fairest: Tom Hawkins.

Best and fairest: Tom Hawkins. Photo: Paul Rovere

EIGHTEEN months ago Tom Hawkins was struggling to get a senior game. He even began to doubt his abilities.

But last night the 24-year-old took out the Carji Greeves Medal for Geelong's best and fairest.

It has been a breakout year for the key forward, who finished runner-up in the Coleman Medal with 62 goals and earned his first All Australian guernsey.

Despite already having two premierships to his name, he grew into his role this season, taking Geelong at times to some exhilarating heights.

Who could forget that after-siren goal from outside 50 metres that sealed the Cats' ninth straight win against Hawthorn?

Hawkins was the Cats' best player five times this season, polling 1394 votes, six ahead of the runner-up, captain Joel Selwood. Corey Enright was third with 1380 votes.

Hawkins finished equal-first in the AFL with 83 marks inside 50, and second in contested marks with 54.

He was at his best against the top clubs, kicking 20 goals against the teams that finished in the top four.

It was a stunning turnaround from last season, where he spent rounds 11 and 12 then rounds 15 and 16 in the VFL.

Hawkins said he was shocked and humbled to be named the Cats' best player.

"It comes as a big surprise. I'm a bit shocked to be honest. It's obviously very humbling and I feel very lucky. It's good I was able to find a bit of form.

"I've probably frustrated a lot of people over the last five years. It's been a long hard journey."

Of the goal that sealed Geelong's win against Hawthorn, Hawkins said: "I'll enjoy that as time goes on looking at that goal.

"It's one of those things, as a forward, to kick goals.

"I learnt a lot from my teammates and (assistant coach) Blake Caracella helped me a lot. We learnt last Saturday that you need to capitalise on those (goal kicking) opportunities.

"I don't want to be just a goal kicker. I want to be the best goal kicker."

He attributed his performance to gaining self-confidence and learning from teammates, including ex-Cat Cam Mooney.

"Confidence is one thing but also the use of my body in a marking contest, that's going to be my strength against my opponents," Hawkins told The Age in August.

"Just identifying when a ball is kicked in where the space is and where the ball is going to drop is two things for me — Cam Mooney taught me a lot of that as well."

But Hawkins' improvement wasn't easy. He said at times he doubted whether he was good enough to play AFL football.

"I think I'd be silly if I [said I] didn't think that I was getting worried that football mightn't have been for me, as you do, as all players I'm sure would," he said.

"I didn't really dwell on it though; it's something that if you worry about it, it will rear its head in a more ugly form . . . it's amazing to think back, and I don't know what the rest of my career holds for me either, but you know, I just want to be more consistent and hopefully not have to go back there."

Selwood, the 2010 Carji medal winner, enjoyed a stellar first season as captain. He ranked fifth in the AFL in clearance average (6.7 per game) and 11th in contested possession average (13 per game).

Selwood also averaged 24.3 disposals per game.

In other awards, Steven Motlop was named best young player.

Motlop enjoyed a breakthrough season, kicking 25 goals.

Shannon Byrnes, who yesterday moved to Melbourne under the league's new free-agency rules, received the Tom Harley award, given to the player that demonstrates the values of the team and the club and is prepared to assist his teammates on and off the field.

Harry Taylor was named as the Cats' community champion and retiring defender Matthew Scarlett won the coach's award. Jonathan Simpkin took out the VFL best and fairest for the second time.

30 comments

  • Congrats Tommy. Much deserved.

    By the way, Enright won the medal last year, Selwood won it in 2010.

    Commenter
    daff2
    Date and time
    October 05, 2012, 7:38AM
    • Story has been corrected.
      Ed.

       

      Commenter
      Adam Cooper
      Date and time
      October 05, 2012, 7:47AM
    • Story has been corrected.
      Ed.

       

      Commenter
      Adam Cooper
      Date and time
      October 05, 2012, 7:47AM
    • Story has been corrected.
      Ed.

       

      Commenter
      Adam Cooper
      Date and time
      October 05, 2012, 7:48AM
  • If Hawkins is the best Geelong have, they have some serious problems...

    Commenter
    boomer
    Location
    Cranbourne
    Date and time
    October 05, 2012, 7:44AM
    • Well Boomer (self proclaimed nickname I am guessing) you obviously know more about football than the all Australian selectors, who selected Hawkins & the entire Geelong Match Committee who give the B&F votes. Maybe you are a brooding Magpie supporter who still has nightmares about Tommy taking your defenders apart in the 2011 Grand Final or maybe a supporter of the mentally soft Hawks, who once again lost to the Cats thanks to a massive effort by Hawkins.

      Commenter
      Ron
      Location
      Bendigo
      Date and time
      October 05, 2012, 8:10AM
    • Tom Hawkins kicked the highest pressure goal of the entire home & away season. Outside 50m, 9 games in a row against your arch nemesis on the line, after the siren. Sent it through the middle at post height.

      Whatever team you barrack for, I can guarantee you don't have a player that did anything like that during the year.

      Commenter
      RONOSON
      Location
      MELBOURNE
      Date and time
      October 05, 2012, 8:52AM
    • Not to mention he could have easily been awarded the Norm Smith last year. I note you don't say who you support. Gutless.

      Commenter
      Chas
      Date and time
      October 05, 2012, 9:05AM
    • Hey Boomer...who DO you support since someone has asked?

      It'd be interesting to know...

      2007, 2009, 2011, 2013

      Commenter
      Alex
      Location
      Geelong
      Date and time
      October 05, 2012, 9:36AM
    • @RONOSON
      Karmichael Hunt ring a bell?

      Commenter
      Gilly
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      October 05, 2012, 9:46AM

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