Ryan Lepore - 7 October 2013
As a 71-year-old, you could be forgiven for choosing a life of relaxation and simply enjoying retirement. But that’s certainly not the case for Jeffery Hawkins who is still running around in the over 45s AFL Football at the 14th Australian Masters Games.
Known affectionately as ‘Hawk’, Hawkins has been playing competitively for 60 years and still gets as much enjoyment having a kick with his mates today as he did when he was a kid.
“I played all my junior football at Ballarat, up until I was 22, and then moved out to Wendouree, and played there and moved to Anglesea and haven’t stopped playing footy since I was 11,” Hawkins said.
Not only did Hawkins strap on the boots once again today, but did it twice for good measure - playing in the morning game at 9:00am and then again in the afternoon at 2:00pm.
“I still love getting out there and trying to get a kick,” he laughed.
The oldest AFL player at the Games, Hawkins blows his Geelong teammates away with his ability to still play the game he loves.
Alf Clark, who is also competing in cricket at the Games, is staggered by Hawkins’ participation.
“It’s absolutely fantastic - it gives us all a lift because otherwise he puts us to shame. He still does his famous drop kicks and everything,” Clark said.
Hawkins has competed at masters level ever since turning 45, but this is only his second time at the Australian Masters Games, with his only other appearance in 2009 when the event was also held in Geelong.
To play a physically demanding sport for or so long means Hawkins has been lucky to escape any serious injuries but said his worse ones have come at super rules competitions.
“I have been pretty lucky but I have been shirt fronted a couple of times, which has resulted in cracked ribs and that was at supers.”
His motivation to keep playing is to stay fit and enjoy an active lifestyle. But the end of a great career could be coming to an end next year.
“I enjoy it because if I were to sit around at home, I wouldn’t do much so it keeps me busy,” he said.
“My missus doesn’t try and tell me to stop, she says you’ll know when you’re ready and I would like to play next year’s carnival in Adelaide and that will finish me off.”
Hawkins will add to his 1200 plus games on Thursday and Friday at Simmonds Stadium in the over 45s competition with games against Banyule and Murray respectively.
The Australian Masters Games will be staged until Saturday 12 October and is one of Australia’s largest multi sporting events.
For further Australian Masters Games information and to register, visit - www.AustralianMastersGames.com
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