On the back of Hawthorn champion Luke Hodge announcing his retirement, Danny Frawley has named the five Hawks players he believes stand above all else…
5. Luke Hodge
“He’s unconditional for his teammates on and off the field. That’s what he does. Anything that’s off the field, he backs his team in. Yes he’s transgressed, but he’s one of the boys on and off the field. I absolutely love him being a Colac boy…as soon as I go through Colac now, it’s ‘that’s where Luke Hodge is from.’ Luke Hodge now is a Colac champion. They’ll have a statue of him there I would have thought in some time.”
4. Peter Hudson
“This guy got full forward of their team of the century… (his return game in 1977) was like Elvis. Seriously, they called him porridge guts, and that’s in a respectful way. He kicked eight and just used his ample backside beautifully. One-on-one he’d just turn you off the drop-zone of the ball…Huddo’s flat punts wouldn’t spin, but they would go straight. How he kicked them, I have no idea.”
3. Lance Franklin
“His games at Hawthorn…he is the last player to kick 100 goals. 2007 was his first breaking out game, against Adelaide, in a final when he kicked eight. You think ‘this bloke is just absolutely phenomenal’. He’s going to go down as one of the greatest players ever.”
2. Jason Dunstall
“It actually hurts me to say this, but he is the second best Hawthorn player. You’ve got the give credit where credit is due, but Leigh Matthews said this guy is the greatest player he has played with. I reckon when you hear something like that from Leigh, you’ve got to take note.
“He kicked 17 goals one day. He’s kicked bags of 10, bags of 11, he averaged just under five a game. He was the first forward to chase and tackle. That’s the thing I used to hate about him. I didn’t get many kicks and when I did, he would run you down. Six times he kicked 100 goals in a season, tied with Tony Lockett, three times Coleman Medallist, came in the top four or five in the Brownlow on six occasions and how he never won one has got me staggered.
“You would look at him now and you would think ‘You’ve got to be joking’, he’s an overgrown-sized Humpty Dumpty now. He’s seriously lost his neck, his head has morphed into his body…He’s like Shrek, put some ears on him and paint him green…he’s an ordinary looking beast, the Chief.”
1. Leigh Matthews
“After they won their three-peat in Brisbane, Alistair Lynch, Justin Leppitsch and Brad Scott are in the lift with Leigh and Leppa has gone ‘Leigh, we’ve turned you into a legend. Whee would you be without us?’ ‘Boys I’d only be the best player in the competition ever.’
“Leigh goes as without a doubt the best player. Eight best-and-fairests.”