AFL 1997 – Twenty Years On: Hawthorn Hawks (15th)

The Hawks just avoided the spoon in 1997 with this list, after evading the velcro in the previous year. This roster of ageing premiership stars (courtesy of the Football Record) wasn’t supplemented by enough incoming talent and they plummeted to second bottom.

Two decades on and many of these faces can still be seen on our screens and/or airwaves. Perhaps a couple of early sprays from the late Ken Judge shaped Brad Scott’s approach to mid-game coaching feedback. Justin Crawford splashed out once too often after hours and what a ring-a-ding-dinger combination Ansell-Bone-Condon would have been (in the Twos).

Sadly for almost no-one, it took a while for the Mayblooms to return to the top, but were the seeds of their revival sown during this fallow period? Let us know of your recollections Hawkers.

List Management

AFL Debuts 1997: Ben Dixon, Jonathon Hay, Brad Scott

Players Kept Under Wraps 1997: Adam Ansell, Nigel Credlin, Scott Grainger, Chris Holcombe, Brett Howman, Phillip Smith, Nathan Turvey

Never Heard of Him: Kane Fraser

Delistings/Retirements end 1997: Chris Langford (ret), Ray Jencke (ret), Darrin Pritchard (ret), Todd Ridley, Adam Ansell, Chris Holcombe, Brett Howman, Robert McMahon, Shayne Stevenson


You can review all of the AFL 1997 lists here

About Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt

Saw my first SANFL game in 1967 - Dogs v Peckers. Have only ever seen the Dogs win 1 final in the flesh (1972 1st Semi) Mediocre forward pocket for the AUFC Blacks (1982-89) Life member - Ormond Netball Club -That's me on the right


  1. Kevan Carroll says

    Very harsh on Anthony Condon…more than very harsh, in fact. Just wrong. Ten-year player, 145 games despite being injury-plagued, dual premiership player, Victorian representative…

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Wasn’t having a crack at Condon as such, but the only possible combination of those three names would have been in the Reserves that year Kevan.

  3. Andrew McLeod says

    I saw Shayne Stevenson kick a goal with a broken leg at Waverley one day. He came off injured with a leg injury, but when the bench was filled with other injured Hawks, he went back onfield, in the last quarter and limped to the forward pocket, where he received a handball in the goal square and duly punted a goal, to a big cheer from the otherwise quiet Hawk fans.
    Only later was it was confirmed the “leg injury” was a break. Fair effort !

  4. Hasn’t Ben Dixon been a revelation in the media. Very impressive for the boy from Yarrawonga.

    Daniel Chick: any comments?


  5. Mick Jeffrey says

    There’s someone on YouTube that posted their loss in the Reserves GF to Richmond. From memory Jade Rawlings took a couple of speccies.

  6. Rick Kane says

    It really was a crossroads era for the Hawks. Fair to middling. A lot of good players came through as our great 80s era players were leaving the stage, but hardly a great player. Crawf obviously. Holland was going to be the shining star. I always liked McCabe and Lekkas. Memories … of losses. Cheers

  7. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    A Mc – I reckon it is high time that you wrote about your journey from skinny Niddrie teenager to sharing Waverley Park with Alan Joyce after the 1991 GF. There must be a tale or ten that you could tell from your time in the coaches boxes during the birth of the Stats Boom. I heard that you singlehandedly invented “pressure acts” and “1% ers”. Go on, you know you want to. Stevenson was #2 on my “never heard of” list.

    Glen! – Not being a subscriber, I don’t hear/see much of Dixon

    Mick – I’ve tracked that game down (thanks oztiger73), thanks. Apart from Langford, all of the Hawks’ delistings played in that game. The words “supplementary list” were used in the pre-amble.

    Rick – They were the losses you had to have I guess.

  8. was my 2nd year as a hawks member , now as a 21 year member , has been a great ride , how good was waverly , watchn jars n bunga doin their thing

  9. theJudge says

    Andrew – remember that day well!

    My favourite memory of the 1997 season, was as a 14yo driving down to Kardinia Park with my Dad for the Geelong game, and sailing past Jonathon Robran. The 196cm Robran was squished behind the wheel of a tiny sportscar, and we observed him making the wrong turn-off heading to the Geelong city centre rather than towards the ground.

    Hawks ended up knocking off the Cats that day, with Shannon Gibson slotting 4 goals!

  10. Chris Weaver says

    Ansell-Bone-Condon – a particularly good combination at a time when Ian Dicker (‘the condom king’) had taken over the presidency.

    Nigel Credlin – I remember him in the early 2000s playing for Old Camberwell in the VAFA. He was a regular league rep; one of the best on-ballers below A Grade.

  11. Rulebook says

    Great stuff Swish love your memories articles thru to Jon Robran and Nick Holland

  12. Luke Reynolds says

    Hawthorn 15th. They were good times…

    Thought Jon Hassell was going to be a star at Collingwood. Peaked early.
    Was a big fan of Tony Woods at the Pies. Was happy he got a good run at Hawthorn.

    Remind me again, was Jonathon Robran Matthew’s brother?

  13. Yes i was at Kardinia Park the day Hawthorn beat Geelong play by 6 points.

    That was a period when Hawthorn very much owned Geelong. From 1971 until the 2008 grand final it was very much one way traffic re the win-loss ratio. It’s changed a bit over the last decade.


  14. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    PJ – you jumped on at the right time

    Judge – J Robran denies all knowledge of that apparently

    CW – Channel 7 didn’t think enough of Credlin to spell his name correctly during the Reserves GF telecast

    Onya ‘Book

    Luke – er, yes

  15. Did Richard Taylor change his surname to Vandenberg that year by any chance? 1997 was Richie’s draft year, just saying…

  16. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    NickW – The 97 draft (Vandenberg’s) was after the end of the 97 season proper.

  17. The 1997 season was going pretty good for the Hawks up until Nick Holland went down with an injury in Round 14. They’d just defeated 3rd placed Port Adelaide by 5 goals and leapfrogged them into the top 4 on the back of a 5 game winning streak. But it all went pear-shaped after that.

    One week later, a close game vs Richmond blew out to a 76 point defeat after the Hawks conceded 12 goals in the final quarter. This was the first of 8 consecutive horrible losses. Their win/loss record went from 8-6 to 8-14.

    The Hawks didn’t “nearly win the wooden spoon” in 1997. They finished 4 wins clear of Melbourne. Hawthorns 8 wins and percentage of 87.4 is actually one of the best records ever for a team in 2nd last place. Essendon finished 3rd last on 9 wins and six teams finished on 10 wins (including the 8th-placed Lions). St Kilda finished on top with a 15-7 record and Adelaide won the flag with a 13-9 record.

    It was a close season.

  18. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Fair call Harvey. Thanks for your clarification.

  19. Andrew McLeod says

    I remember as a supporter the Hawks going into that Richmond game full of confidence about the how the season was panning out and coming away with a dread that was fully realized when we didn’t win another game for the season, in what turned into a 12 game losing streak.

    I recall that the tagger Ben Harrison kicked 4 goals for the Tigers in the last quarter, playing on Shane Crawford. It said a bit about how quickly the Hawks fell away in 1997.

  20. I can still see Ken Judge’s angry scowl as he stormed from the coaches’ box after the game and made his way to the ground. The players would’ve received the mother of all Kenny sprays in the rooms after that game. Didn’t work as we got belted by a similar margin the following week.

    The last real cheer we had that season was Johnny Platten’s 60m torpedo goal on the final siren of the aforementioned Round 14 game vs Port.

    Other than that, it was probably Paul Salmon’s best individual season – All Australian ruckman – the only time he was selected in the team of the year.

  21. Andrew McLeod says

    Yes …. the big torpedo from the Rat at the end of his 250th. Fantastic memory !

    Another highlight of that year was the early season form of a young Daniel Harford in his first half dozen games wearing the famous No 5. I recall he was leading the Brownlow or was very close at one stage.

    There was a great game against the reigning premiers North Melbourne, a night game at Waverley early in the season that should have been a win. The underrated Ray Jencke was run down from behind in the last few minutes resulting in a free kick and goal to Mellington of North. It should have been paid as “in the back” and the Hawks would have hung on to win. The umpires department admitted as much later, not that it ever helps.

  22. Grant Fraser says

    @Andrew – Goldspink?

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