Hawke soars to 200-game club
YEPPOON'S Wes Hawke could have been shooting baskets for the Rockhampton Rockets at Hegvold Stadium tomorrow night.
Instead, the 31-year-old will chalk up his 200th AFL Capricornia premiership match for his beloved Swans against Gladstone Mudcrabs at Gladstone's Clinton Park this weekend.
Hawke began his career for the Swans as an 18-year-old in 1998, but had never played Australian rules until the beginning of that season.
“My dad played, but I grew up playing rugby league, like most kids do in Queensland,” he said.
“Then I played both league and basketball here on the (Capricorn) Coast from when I was 14 to 18.
“I was turning 18 in 1998 and all of the junior basketball was wrapping up and I either had to move into the Rockets senior program or give basketball away.
“That was my first year. I'd never played it before and that was when Dad suggested I try AFL.”
And what a success it has been.
Hawke has developed into a leader at the club, captaining the team to a premiership in 2009 and, until a couple of seasons ago, coaching the A-grade team as well.
While he admits it'd be nice to be playing at home in front of his family and friends, a win this weekend would be the perfect way to bring up the milestone.
“I'll be looking for a win in my 200th game, that's for sure,” he said.
“My wife can't make it down, but as far as I know Dad will be down there.
“Dad's down there every game. He sometimes gets down to the away games and Mum's the same,” he said.
“Mum's down at every home game and most of the Rocky games.”
Hawke has played “just about every game, except for a couple here and there because of suspension and some minor injuries” during his 14 years at the club, including a premiership win in 2008.
Yeppoon coach Brett Motton, who took over the team from Hawke, said the Yeppoon local was an important ingredient in his side.
“He's a very good, high-quality player,” he said.
“He's a local bloke who wears his heart on his sleeve and bleeds red and white.”
In the other matches this round, BITS are hoping to continue their unbeaten start to the season against Glenmore, while in the all-Rockhampton battle Panthers take on Brothers at Rockhampton Cricket Ground tomorrow afternoon.