Fans share Hawks AFL premiership joy

Fans share Hawks AFL premiership joy

The sight of Alastair Clarkson and Luke Hodge holding up the premiership cup might be a familiar one but it was no less thrilling for the thousands of fans who flocked to Glenferrie Oval on Sunday.

The day after the Hawks downed West Coast to claim their third flag in a row, and their fourth in eight years, they returned to their spiritual home where they were presented to a crowd of around 12,000 fans.

Despite the unseasonably hot conditions, hundreds of supporters queued up outside the ground before sprinting to claim prime positions near the stage when gates opened.

The arrival of Clarkson, Hodge and the rest of the premiership side was met with thunderous applause, with the crowd chanting Norm Smith medallist Cyril Rioli’s name.

“We had a lot of good contributors but Cyril really set us alight in the first part of the game,” Clarkson said in his address to the gathering.

“It’s a really fitting tribute to his whole family and the Tiwi Islands that Michael Long, Maurice Rioli and now Cyril have all won Norm Smith Medals.”

Sitting in the shade of the Michael Tuck Stand, David Featherstone – a Hawthorn member for 77 years – quietly took in proceedings with a sense of great pride.

“I love it – I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” Featherstone said.

“I’ve watched 59 grand finals live but I didn’t go to this one because my wife was ill and I stayed with her.

“But it was an unbelievable team effort yesterday – they tore West Coast to pieces.”

As a young man, Featherstone broke his back playing for a Hawks’ reserves side at Glenferrie and endured a gruelling nine-month rehabilitation program.

“It was all paid for – Hawthorn were fantastic,” he said.

“It’s a family club and we look after people.

“It means everything to me.”

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