The General, my number one Hawk

Sean Rogasch Roar Rookie

By Sean Rogasch, Sean Rogasch is a Roar Rookie

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    As a Hawthorn supporter born in the late ’80s Jason Dunstall was the original goal-kicking hero, Shane Crawford was the only reason to go to follow the side for many years, and Lance Franklin the most exciting player to watch live.

    But what of the General, Luke Hodge?

    As a footballer, Hodge has it all. He is simultaneously a throwback to a tougher era of football and on the cutting edge of modern day game plans and tactics.

    He has an exquisite left foot, at the forefront of Hawthorn’s famed ‘death by 1000 chips’ and can bullet a 50 metre pass at no more than head height.

    Hodge doesn’t get the high numbers of many prolific midfielders, but his impact on games is just as profound. He never came close to a Brownlow medal, yet polled Norm Smith medal votes in all four premiership triumphs.

    Stories of Hodge’s on-field exploits will get better with time, as there is a surplus of big game moments worth explaining to grandchildren in years to come.

    The checkside from the tenth row while the 2015 grand final was still is a contest. The 50-metre handball across the centre square during a tense third quarter of the 2008 edition.

    The kick-in steal and goal to put the 2014 decider to bed.

    The memory I will pass on is of Hodge patrolling halfback, arms outstretched, directing teammates. Experienced observers of Hodge have admired these traits long before he wore a microphone on a Friday night in Adelaide.

    With both careers soon to be completed, the Hodge versus Chris Judd super draft discussion can finally be debated fairly, but I promise you will struggle to find a Hawks fan willing to hypothetically swap the order.

    The value of Hodge cannot be measured by statistics, but here are some numbers to reflect on
    Twenty-three finals appearances.

    One of six players to have captained three or more premierships.

    One of three to win multiple Norm Smith Medals.

    And my favourite to run out in the brown and gold.

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    The Crowd Says (7)

    • July 11th 2017 @ 7:21am
      andyl12 said | July 11th 2017 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      The 2014 and 2015 GF goals both basically sealed the day for us.

      I definitely remember those years when Crawford was the only Hawk capable of winning BOG at any of our games. We were basically an also-ran Victorian club who many still thought should’ve merged. The conventional wisdom in the early-mid 00’s was that no Victorian side would ever win another flag unless they had a 100-year-old inheritance like Essendon did. Hodge & Co have raised the bar and showed what is possible if you make the right decisions and create the right team ethos.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 11th 2017 @ 10:56am
        Sean Rogasch said | July 11th 2017 @ 10:56am | ! Report

        It’s easy to forget just how desperate the club was through the mid-late 90s and then how poor on field we were during the early 00s, post the 01 prelim (which we should’ve won!!).

        Hodge will be remembered ever more fondly as a major part of the entire turnaround.

    • July 11th 2017 @ 8:58am
      Birdman said | July 11th 2017 @ 8:58am | ! Report

      In the top 3 Hawks that I’ve had the good fortune to see (alongside Matthews and Dunstall) and certainly my favourite of the Clarkson era Hawks.

      Got a feeling Sam Mitchell may join him on the sidelines in 2018.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 11th 2017 @ 10:58am
        Sean Rogasch said | July 11th 2017 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        I never saw Matthews, so in terms of the best players I’ve seen, for me it’s Dunstall at 1, Hodge 2 and Crawford 3. Buddy and Sam Mitchell round out the top 5.

        • July 11th 2017 @ 11:07am
          Birdman said | July 11th 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

          copy that, Sean.

          I’m staggered that Dunstall isn’t an AFL legend yet – can’t be far away.

          • July 11th 2017 @ 3:52pm
            ken said | July 11th 2017 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

            The ” CHIEF ” is a legend to us Hawks Fans…

    • July 11th 2017 @ 9:03pm
      Sydneygirl said | July 11th 2017 @ 9:03pm | ! Report

      Hodge has been a champion and good leader for the Hawks. Matthews was as tough as they come and Dunstall a great kick. Hawks will be a lesser side without Hodge.

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