1971 - Fifty Years on

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1971 Premiership the Hawks Museum has undertaken the task of compiling a book of that epic season. The museum is putting out the call to the Club’s fan base for assistance in this publication. We are seeking the loan of photos, pennants, badges, memorabilia from the Social Club, the Cheer Squad, the Thornbirds, the Confreres, the Past Players and Officials Association, Family Day and various club events held during 1971.We would also like to hear your stories.

This will be the third book in the series that celebrates the 50th Anniversaries of the Hawks’ Finals appearances. The first book Mud Muscle and Blood: The Story of the 1957 Hawks told the story of the Club’s first finals appearance in 1957, the second book Gold’n Brown Jubilee: The Story of the ’61 Hawks recorded in comprehensive detail the Club’s first Premiership in 1961. For the third installment, Rachel Bradshaw, the museum’s Assistant Curator, will join the writing team of Richard Allsop of Football Flashbacks fame and the Hawks Museum Curator, Peter Haby.

The 1971 book will explore the origins of the Kennedy Commandos, feature the Home & Away season and the Finals Series followed by the games held in Adelaide and Perth. This team of Hawks lost only three games for the year, winning 25 games from a possible 28.There will be an in-depth biography of each member of the Premiership team and fellow team members who contributed during the season. Club Officials, the Trainers and the in-house groups will be recognized, along with a comprehensive listing of the season’s awards. Of great interest will be a number of previously unpublished photos and memorabilia from the personal collections of the players and officials.

The importance of 1971 to the Club Story is underlined by the riveting fact that five future Club Legends either emerged that year or enhanced their Hawthorn contributions. Leigh Matthews and Peter Knights played their first finals; Peter Hudson won the VFL goal kicking, equaling Bob Pratt’s record of 150 goals; David Parkin was captain and John Kennedy Snr was coach, his second premiership.

One enticing story has already emerged from our research. Mark Sayers, who resides in Vietnam, is a recent visitor to the museum. He was casually looking through some Inside Football magazines from 1971 when he held up a copy and exclaimed, ‘That’s me in this photo with Bruce Stevenson just before he embraced me!’

A young member of the 1971 Cheer Squad, Mark had run onto the MCG after the final siren had sounded. The Cheer Squad gathered together to watch the victorious 1971 team running their victory lap. Bruce Stevenson was one of the players leading the lap. To Mark’s utter surprise, Stevenson had spotted him, then ran towards him, hugging him tightly before lifting him off the ground in joyous celebration.

Mark Sayers has never forgotten his big moment on the MCG.A phone call was made to Stevenson asking whether he could come into the museum as we had a visitor who would like to meet him. A week later Stevenson met Mark in the Hawks Museum. It was fascinating to listen to the Premiership player and the former Cheer Squad member recall the events of Grand Final day and training nights during 1971.Mark was over the moon when he had his photo taken holding the Premiership Cup with his Premiership hero, Bruce Stevenson.

If you can help with any photos or items of memorabilia from 1971 please contact the Hawks Museum by email hawksmuseum@hawthornfc.com.au or phone 03 9535 3075

Mark Sayers with his 1971 Premiership hero Bruce Stevenson holding the Cup and their photo in the Grand Final edition of Inside Football

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