Almanac Book Review: Crimmo by Dan Eddy

The cover of ‘Crimmo’ by Dan Eddy [Source:]



CRIMMO – The real Hard Way



It is five weeks until the start of Hawthorn’s AFL season, 2021. As is my want, I write when a topic arouses my passion, when it comes from the heart. That time is now.



The Hawthorn supporters of 2021 are for the most part too young to remember Peter Crimmins – ‘Crimmo’ – the heart and soul of the Hawthorn Football Club in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Too young to remember the ferocity and tenacity of this little tearaway rover with the shock of blond hair. Too young to remember the burst of speed that put the ball in his hands five minutes into the last quarter in the 1971 Grand Final, and the goal that had the normally taciturn John Kennedy leaping up from the bench on the boundary as we drew to within two points of the Saints. Too young to remember the schism within the Club and supporters when he was left out of the 1975 Grand Final side (bigger, even, than when Croadie was traded to Freo!).



Too young to remember how young he died.



Most Hawkers today have enjoyed a period of success of which ‘Old Timers’ could not possibly have dreamed. Harry Gordon titled his 1990 tome The Hard Way (ring a bell, Tigers supporters?) because that is what it was for the Hawthorn Football Club from the time we entered the VFL in 1925 until ‘Kanga’ Kennedy ushered in a permanent change to the culture and mindset to the club in 1960. We were the easybeats of the competition, a million miles away from the powerhouse that has since won a premiership on average every five years. Success was never, ever taken for granted….because there was none.



There is only one framed jumper in the Hawthorn Board Room, and that is Crimmo’s. Each year the recipient of the Hawthorn Best and Fairest receives the Peter Crimmins Medal. Former team mate, club legend in his own right and close friend Peter Knights inducts every new arrival at Hawthorn – players, staff, administration – and every induction contains a briefing on who Peter Crimmins was and what he meant, and continues to mean, to the modern Hawthorn Football Club.



Dan Eddy’s comprehensive book about the life and death of Hawthorn Football Club Legend Peter Crimmins should be compulsory reading for all Hawks supporters under 45. It traces the growth of young ‘Snow’ in regional Shepparton and his development as an outstanding footballer (and athlete generally) at the football factory Assumption College. Of his path to success in love, life and business. Of the darker sides of his life, including his cancer, and his falling out with former friends. Of struggle and victory over adversity…but not every time. But most of all it is a story of a man who unwittingly helped shaped the fabric of what Hawthorn is today.


So Hawks fans – on the brink of what is likely to be a difficult year for the team you support…put down the remote control. Turn off highlights of the 2008 Grand Final, of the final quarter of the 2013 Prelim. Go to your local book store (they still exist you know) and grab yourself a copy of this wonderful book, or just get online and get one. A copy of Crimmo. Learn about adversity coming before glory. Read, learn, understand…you have time before the season starts. Set yourself up to even moreso enjoy the future glory that is to come for the team you love.


For we are #alwayshawthorn.




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About Grant Fraser

Best known as a lumbering full forward for the East Doncaster U13 & U15 Reserves premiership teams. Proud to say that daughter Alexis was born in a premiership year like her Dad. Elder daughter Courtney has returned to the broad church that is the Hawthorn football club. Will never give up hope on luring The Boy (James) back from the clutches of the anti-Christ in red and black.


  1. Terrific review Grant! I haven’t read it yet but I know what I’m reading next!


  2. Grant Fraser says

    Thanks Trucker. As a Hawker under 45 it is aimed at you ?

  3. As a Croweater I was pretty agnostic about favourite VFL footballers. Crimmins caught the eye with the surfie blonde hair; diminutive size and relentless courage. It was Crimmins and Matthews as the Hawks roving pair. Not Matthews and Crimmins. More than a Legend. He seemed loveable in a side that was respected and feared.

  4. Daryl Schramm says

    As an impressionable kid in the latish 60s onwards with a love for all things sport on the black and white TV of hosts (we didn’t have one in the bush) Peter Crimmins was one of my favourites. Even from so far away, I remember his death affecting me a great deal at the time.

  5. This is a great read and not just for the Hawks fans.
    The reading on 1974,75 & 76 is very emotional reading

  6. Stainless says

    Just finished this book, Grant, and can only concur with your review. As sports biographies go this is a ripper. No doubt, it’s helped by Crimmo’s status as an iconic character in Australian Rules, and the truly tragic story that overshadowed his considerable football achievements. Whilst I agree with Rodney’s comment about the emotional account of Crimmo’s last years, I was even more struck by the account of the decades that followed Crimmo’s death – the family impacts and the very sensitive medical “what ifs” provide poignant insights into societal norms of the time and how much we’ve moved on since then. Eddy’s decision to do this makes this book much more than your standard bio of a sporting great.

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