Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Hawthorn once again ignores its saviour Don Scott

Whilst Hawthorn’s recent announcement of its elevation of Peter Knights to ‘Legend’ status in its Hall of Fame was fully justified, it highlights the club’s continued reluctance to afford Don Scott similar acclaim.
Peter Knights was a truly compelling figure. He played the game in a captivating way and was one of the best centre-half backs in the game’s history. He was equally capable of playing forward, with his high flying acumen, and is well regarded amongst the most spectacular players the game has ever seen. His unfortunate spate of cruel injuries almost certainly robbed him of Brownlow medal glory along with further premiership acclaim. Knights also had a ‘before his time’ demeanour, and one can’t help but think of how defining he would have been in this age when the game’s focus is on attack as the central theme of defence, along with the current emphasis on the role of swingmen. An upgrade on, for example, Jeremy McGovern, not only taking an intercept mark in defence but sitting on a pack, completing it by landing on his feet like a cat, rebounding swiftly out of defence and kicking a 60-metre goal or hitting a forward on the chest with his sublime foot skills. If the scores were close late in a game he would be thrown into the forward line, where he would be an impossible match up or even in the guts of the action, where his unparalleled athleticism would make him a defining big midfielder, or even second ruck due to his outrageous leap. Back to Don Scott, and with no disrespect to Peter Knights, the main point of contention with the current choice is the current motto of the club, 'Always Hawthorn'. Without Scott being the face of the 'Operation Payback' campaign in 1996 that fought off the attempted takeover of the club by Melbourne there would neither be an 'Always' or a 'Hawthorn'. The club would have become extinct, reborn as the 'Melbourne Hawks.' His interjection was made profound by invoking people power and turning a spotlight on the under table dealings of the club that were unknown to the fans. He invited one and all back into the 'Family Club' by being transparent and in the process compelled the fans to invest financially through memberships, propelling the club to a valid present and vibrant future. Doesn't this alone compel his elevation to ‘Legend’ status? Particularly when you add his actions to a playing career characterised by understated skills coupled with similar defiance and sheer bloody-mindedness. Don Scott is one of the most respected leaders in the history of the game, a demanding figure with engaging plausibility and brutal honesty, making others invest their trust in him and boldly and unquestioningly do anything for him. The clubs’ continued reluctance to elevate him to ‘Legend’ status makes you question why. From the fan’s perspective the perfect opportunity was last year, 20 years on from the Scott led fight against the merger. Scott is very much the self-imposed black sheep, reclusive as a rule away from the club. When pressed on the reasons why, no longer belonging to the Hawthorn of today seems to be a factor. In keeping with this, an honour like this probably wouldn’t sit well with his self-effacing nature. So it’s possible he might have already been approached about legend status but showed an aversion to it. Whatever the real truth is, it robs the fans of paying due homage to a man who cemented the ‘Always’ in Hawthorn for all to enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Deeply grateful to Don Scott for keeping the club going... but equally to Peter Knights who inspired many (like me) to be a Hawk's fan in the first place.

    Great tribute Tim.