57. Jack Hawksley

Player Inductee

North Launceston/Lilydale, Centre Half Back/Forward, 1948-64

263 games for North Launceston, 1948-54, 1957-64
North Launceston captain-coach, 1954, 1959
Lilydale captain-coach (East Tamar FA), 1955-57
North Launceston NTFA premierships, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1961, 1963
North Launceston state premierships, 1949, 1950
NTFA leading goalkicker, 1963 (72), 1964 (47)
Tasmanian National Carnival representative, 1953 (Adelaide)
Seven time Tasmanian representative
W. Orchard Trophy for NTFA Best on Ground v TANFL, 1960
Multiple NTFA representative, 1952-60
Life member of North Launceston Football Club, 1959
North Launceston ‘Greatest Team 1945-1999’ (centre half back)

A fine centre half back-turned-forward whose long career was bookended by multiple premierships, John ‘Jack’ Hawksley was a key member of many famous club and interstate victories over a distinguished 16-year career.

Hawksley made his senior debut for North Launceston in 1948 aged 18. A player whose aptitude for the game of football would see him given the moniker ‘Killa’, Hawksley had the good fortune to play in three NTFA and two state premierships in his first three seasons under legendary coach Gavin Luttrell. By 1952 Hawksley had achieved a great enough standing within the club to be named vice-captain, and stood in for injured captain-coach Doug Williams for the Robins’ unsuccessful NTFA preliminary final against Scottsdale. The following year, his talent had attracted the attention of state selectors, and Hawksley was chosen to represent Tasmania at the 1953 National Carnival in Adelaide. Despite Tasmania losing all four of their matches, Hawksley performed admirably in defence, most notably against VFL and Essendon megastar John Coleman.

Hawksley’s meteoric rise continued in 1954, when he was named captain-coach of North Launceston, the first of two separate stints in the top job. The following year Hawksley departed the Robins for a three-year stint as captain-coach of Lilydale in the East Tamar FA. He returned to North Launceston late in the 1957 season and was one of the club’s best performers in their four-point preliminary final loss to Launceston. After a six-point loss to Longford in the 1958 decider, Hawksley was appointed Robins captain-coach for a second time in 1959, though again the appointment was again for just the one season. North Launceston suffered another grand final loss in 1960 to City-South, but 1960 was not all doom and gloom for Hawksley: he was named best on ground in the NTFA’s 31-point win over the TANFL in Hobart, while almost a month to the day later the 30-year-old Hawksley was vice-captain in the team that pulled off the greatest interstate win of all time in the Apple Isle, as the Tasmanians stunned the might of the VFL by seven points at York Park.

By this stage known as the ‘Old Fox’, Hawksley switched from defence to attack in the twilight of his career, proving effective enough to top the NTFA goalkicking table in each of his last two seasons in 1963 (72 goals) and 1964 (47 goals). He was also able to see out his celebrated career with two more senior premierships in 1961 and 1963 under Bob Withers – both nail-biting wins over Longford – though neither of these successes led to state premierships as they had at the start of his career. Hawksley retired after the Robins’ 1964 preliminary final loss to Scottsdale after 263 games. In honour of his services to the club, Hawksley was awarded life membership of North Launceston in 1959 and was named at centre half back in the club’s ‘Greatest Team of 1945-1999’.