Showboaters Need Not Apply

by Rick Kane


Hawthorn has a rich history of success in the last 50 years. Almost as successful is its imprint of inspirational phrases. None more successful than Kennedy’s plain yet powerful plea: Don’t think, do. Or Yabby Jeans direct question to his players, “Are you prepared to pay the price? Will you pay the price?”


Clarkson has added a maxim to the Hawks legacy of inspirational lines, maybe not quite so eloquent, yet as persuasive. Drawing on the Hawks recently established link to the Kokoda Trail (the memory and respect for Australian soldiers courage and fighting resolve), Clarkson has said about player injuries that, “when you lose one soldier, you replace him with another”.


So it is fitting that the latest Hawks aphorism come from a player of great standing (a fighter, a never say die character) in his 200th game. Jordan Lewis was interviewed following the Hawks absolute humiliation of the Saints on Saturday. He said the usual stuff about team and commitment and enjoying the game.


Wrapped inside the homily Lewis delivered about the win was this little beauty. Commenting on the balance of good players Hawks had across the field, he said the Hawks had no showboaters.


Urban dictionary defines showboating as “adding unnecessary style flourishes to skilled activities, often beyond ones skill level, increasing the risk, and usually used to taunt or impress others”.


In a word, Lewis has, more than any other commentator on the game, captured the essence of what makes the Hawks tick in 2014. They don’t have showboaters. They have highly skilled players for sure. They have a magician in Cyril, a General in Hodge, a dynamo in Mitchell and a cool crowd chant in Breust. But no showboaters.


The Hawks have developed this team over the last few years. There isn’t one player likely to win the Brownlow or, this year, the Coleman. The votes will be distributed across a range of players from the top shelf to the emerging. The goals, likewise, will be kicked by more than half the team. Against the hapless Saints four players kicked four apiece. Including a player better known as a backman!


The Hawks are on song and the tune is a rallying call to the footy faithful. Every front bar, BBQ, water-cooler, SEN talkback argument that reckons footy has lost its way can be doused by watching a replay of the Hawks in action. As efficient and effective as their game is, it is also highly entertaining, exhilarating even. A heady mix of the Hawks 80s running style game and the measured ‘attack from defence’ plan Clarko has kept on improving on over the last 10 years.


When it works, it is the best game in town. It requires skill and verve and teamwork and endurance. It asks a lot of every player. As the 2014 Hawks team has shown, whether you’re a first gamer or playing your 200th (well done Lewis), the game is the thing, the player merely a player. If you want in, show us what you’ve got. Showboaters need not apply.



  1. …plenty of smug showboaters in the stands.

  2. …………..and in Glenferrie Road on a Saturday morning, parking their Cayennes.

  3. Rick Kane says

    Hi Litza, you’re not projecting are you? The People’s Elbow craves a team that doesn’t showboat. Doesn’t he?

    Hi Dips, and in Preston we’re squeezing the Honda Odyssey into a too tight fit down at the markets. Where we buy produce that comes from some very wealthy western district farmers…


  4. E.regnans says

    Good one Rick,
    But I reckon you’ve overlooked the biggest factor: luck.

    Similar stories of “no showboating” abound.
    Sydney have the no d*ckheads policy.
    Collingwood have the club > team > individual philosophy.
    Cats similar. Players taking pay reductions to stay together.
    Remember the Saints in their “Saints footy” bubble?
    Dockers in a club bubble.
    It makes (Kekovich) sense.
    So there’s no cause (anti-showboating) and effect (premiership) here.

    If everyone is doing it, and there can only be one premier, it’s fair to attribute a larger than large slice of the rationale to a slice labelled “luck.”
    Luck manifests via injuries, mainly. But also the bounce of a ball (Milne), the call of an umpire (Stynes), suspensions (Carmen), etc. The circumstance of players’ personal lives (illness (Pendlebury in the draw), children ill, parents ill, relationship breakups, breakdowns) also important. Assistant coaches being poached by other clubs during a finals campaign (B Scott to North in August 2009 from Collingwood assistant coach when Collingwood were Top 4).
    Many other factors, uncontrollable in a control-centric governance hierarchy, determine the score in September.
    Best to put it down to luck and be grateful/disappointed.
    Go pies.

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