There exists an impasse between Geelong and Tom Hawkins.
That much is clear, after the AFL great’s former Cats teammate and coach Josh Jenkins revealed Hawkins’ frustrations over the disagreement his management is having with Geelong.
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The 35-year-old is still unsigned for 2024 but wants a contract at the Cats that would extend his career into an 18th year.
Geelong doesn’t want to lose him, he doesn’t want to go anywhere, and he’s champion of the club — the fine print should be subsidiary to the dotted line.
And yet it remains inkless.
Tom Hawkins remains unsigned. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images
“He is a little irritated that it’s taken this long,” Jenkins said of Hawkins on AFL Trade Radio.
“There’s some ground to be covered for both parties from the Cats’ point of view.
“I owed him a call … he was willing to tell me that he and the Cats are still a ways apart with his new contract. I thought it would be (at) someone’s desk already signed off on.”
Hawkins, Geelong’s third-greatest goalkicker of all time, behind only Doug Wade and the great Gary Ablett Sr, has consistently accepted less money than his worth on the open market to allow the Cats to remain a perpetual contender with a star-studded list.
But Jenkins, who played with Hawkins across 2020-21 and remained close to him across 2022-23 as a part-time Cats ruck coach, believes the champion full forward is “not feeling the love” back from the club to which he has given, and for which he has sacrificed, so much.
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Two-time North Melbourne premiership player David King warned against cutting at the fabric of the club to haggle over the finer details of a club stalwart and 11-time leading goalkicker’s contract.
“Don’t lose the soul of your football club like this,” King said on Fox Sports.
“This guy has played 350 games of football — he’s been there forever.
“Don’t allow him to exit like this. Just get the deal done.”
Former Hawthorn goalkicker Ben Dixon said despite Hawkins’ age, he deserves to be shown respect in his contract.
“The average (AFL player’s) wage is $407,000 — he’s better than that,” he said.
Josh Jenkins and Tom Hawkins were teammates at Geelong. Credit: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images
Despite the clear impasse between the two parties, Jenkins believes the Cats champion will remain in the hoops next year.
“I don’t think there’s doubt on him playing in the Cats’ jumper,” he said.
“I was pretty surprised to learn there was still some ground to be covered.
“I think he got tired late in the season because he did play every game.
“He just loves to play the game. He’s got a thirst for training and playing.”
AFL reporter Tom Morris said the threat of Hawkins leaving the club has been real.
“What I can tell you is that two months ago Tom Hawkins was prepared to play for a rival club if the offer was not right at Geelong,” Morris said.
“While his preference was obviously to stay at the Cats, complications around a foot injury and concerns over what Geelong may offer left his future a little uncertain in his eyes.
“Since then he and Chris Scott have both said they expect Hawkins to stay. And I have no reason not to believe that. But as we sit here today, as far as we know, he hasn’t re-signed for 2024.
Hawkins has played 347 games and kicked 781 goals for Geelong. He was part of their 2009, 2011 and 2022 premiership teams, won the Coleman Medal in 2020, Geelong’s best and fairest in 2012, and is a five-time All-Australian.
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