Alastair Clarkson’s Hawthorn side will make history if they can record the club’s first run of three successive AFL premierships but will they be crowned the best-ever Hawks’ team?
Not so fast, says club legend Peter Knights.
Knights, who played in three Hawthorn flags in his 264-game career, was a popular figure when he addressed the 5000-strong crowd at Waverley on Thursday, where Clarkson put his charges through their final training run before the grand final.
Knights agrees Clarkson’s Hawks are on the verge of something special but says Allan Jeans’ marauding Hawthorn of the 1980s will still take some catching.
“We’ve had a lot of great players and a lot of great teams (but) when I think back 30 years ago, from 1983 to 1989 we played in seven straight grand finals, so this group has got a little bit of work to do yet,” Knights said.
“But if we achieve three in a row that’s history-making, no doubt.
“This group of players will go down as one of the best that Hawthorn have had. I’m not saying it’s the best but it’s certainly right up there.”
After last year’s inclement weather, Hawks fans were treated to a warm, sunny Melbourne day as they watched the light 55-minute session.
To their delight, the players handed out footballs and signed autographs as they jogged a lap of the ground before disappearing inside, leaving Clarkson to have the last word.
“We never take this for granted – it’s great to see so many people supporting their club,” Clarkson told the crowd.
“It’s so great to see so much brown and gold.
“We’ve played some really consistent footy throughout the course of the year and over the last three or four years and we’re hoping that if we bring our best footy it’ll be really tough to beat.
“But we know we’re up against a really formidable opponent in the West Coast Eagles.
“They’ve played a great brand of footy this year as well so we need to play at our very best to get the job done.
“If we do then hopefully we’ll all be very, very happy on Saturday afternoon.”