K rock Football

250 “surreal” for Hawkins

Tom Hawkins will celebrate game 250 for Geelong on Sunday. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

HE has seen 11 of his current and former teammates reach the 250-game milestone during his career, and on Sunday Tom Hawkins will join an exclusive club at GMHBA Stadium.

The 31-year-old will become just the 18th Cat of the 1087 that have pulled on the Hoops at VFL/AFL level to reach the mark against Sydney on at the SCG on Sunday.

“It’s a bit surreal when you’re a current day player and you reach milestones,” Hawkins, who sits third for the most goals in club history with 540, said.

“There are some big ones in your career. For me, it’s playing your first game, then playing the same amount of games as my Dad.

“I’ve seen a lot of my past and present (teammates) – Joel (Selwood) and Harry (Taylor) play 250 recently. And when I was 21-22, Joel Corey and Matty Scarlett were playing their 250ths.

“I couldn’t imagine I’d be in that position myself. It is very humbling, and I’ve certainly had a lot of luck along the way. I think as a player you need luck.

“But, in saying that, there’s been a lot of hard work that goes into playing 249 games. And I continue to keep working as hard as I can.

“I think it’s something I’ll be able to enjoy personally in 10 years time when I’m coming back to the footy and watching the Mighty Cats play.”

CATS: BALL MOVEMENT “INCONSISTENT”

Contracted until the end of next year, Hawkins hasn’t given much thought to whether his career will extend long enough to reach the magical 300 mark.

“Part of my plan to play as consistent footy as I possibly can is not to look too far ahead,” he said.

“I know you’ve always got it in the back of your mind because the end comes quicker than you think as a player when you turn 30. I’m well aware of that.

“But, for the time being, (playing) 300 would be hard to describe for me. For the moment, 250 is really special.”

However, that doesn’t mean retirement is on Hawkins’ mind.

“No, no, absolutely not,” he said. “I feel really good physically and I am really enjoying playing with this current group of players.

“Even though I know that will change, I am going to try and play as much footy as I can for the footy club going forward.

“I envisage myself playing many more years. But as I touched on before, you need a lot of luck.

“I will work hard and try and make my own luck, but I’m well aware of the demands of when you get a little bit older, how hard the game becomes.

“I will just take it one year at a time, one milestone at a time.”

Hawkins is arguably in the best physical shape of his career, while he is also mentally at the top of his game, which he attributes to a combination of fatherhood and experience.

“It’s really interesting because as a footballer you can become quite selfish,” he admitted,

“When you go home you obviously have a responsibility for your partner – I’ve had Emma along the journey for my AFL footballing career – and you become quite selfish in looking after yourself because you have to.

“When kids come around there’s still a part of that, but there’s also a part of the fact that you have to get up at night sometimes and help out; you’ve got to change nappies, you got to drop them off at daycare, pick them up, your responsibilities and mindset shifts off you as an individual.

That’s the shift I’ve found in being a parent. I think also it’s time in the game and as a player, and certainly me, I’m always trying to learn off other players that have played and are playing.

“You pick up through press conferences like this, and watching games, I’m always trying to learn off other players and other sports.

“The experience side of things has also helped get me in a really good mental space.”

Twitter: @tom_king79
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