Hawkins heads to 350

Tom Hawkins will play his 350th game on Easter Monday. (Ivan Kemp) 300473_16

Geelong coach Chris Scott has hailed Tom Hawkins as one of the greatest forwards of his generation ahead of the veteran’s 350th AFL game.

The 35-year-old is coming off a superb four-goal performance against Adelaide as undefeated Geelong prepare to face Hawthorn on Easter Monday in Hawkins’ milestone appearance.

Hawkins will move within five matches of matching legendary captain, and his great mate, Joel Selwood’s games record (355) at Geelong.

Scott is only the second coach Hawkins has had during a 18-season career, starting in 2011 after Mark Thompson exited at the end of 2010.

“I think he’s been one of the great players in his position of a generation,” Scott said on Tuesday.

“It’s been a real privilege (to coach Hawkins).

“It’s easy to get hung up on the on-field accolades and sort of miss the impact that he’s had around the place.”

Joining Hawkins for his media commitments at GMHBA Stadium on Tuesday were wife Emma and his children Arabella, Primrose and Henry.

Hawkins family Celebrating with his family has always been a big deal for Tom Hawkins. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

The towering full-forward acknowledges he is close to the end of his career, but is refusing to be caught up in talk about retirement so early in the season.

“I get the interest in in my future,” said Hawkins, who has kicked 786 career goals.

“What’s worked really well for me over the last few years is my ability to be able to enjoy myself knowing that the end is certainly closer than than the start.

“I’ll continue to enjoy myself in here, enjoy the opportunity that I have, and then at some stage we’ll sit down and make that decision.”

Scott believes it is hard not to link Hawkins and Selwood, who retired after Geelong’s 2022 premiership, together.

The pair arrived at Geelong via the 2006 draft – Hawkins as a father-son selection.

premiership The 2022 premiership was a triumph for Tom Hawkins and Joel Selwood. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

“(Hawkins is) clearly not contracted for another four or five years but I’m not looking forward to the day that he says he’s had enough,” Scott said.

“We’re trying to keep an open mind to him playing, not just because of his influence on field, which is still obvious even in the last game.

“But the influence that he has off the field and the way we want to go about things as a club.

“In some ways, he’s a bit of a template for what we’re trying to achieve with some of our more experienced players.”

Despite enjoying extraordinary on-field success, highlighted by three premierships, Hawkins also reflected on some of the challenges.

A back injury in 2013 threatened to severely impact his career.

But the death of his mother, Jennifer, was the clear low for Hawkins.

“Obviously losing my mum (in 2015) was was the toughest part of my career,” he said.

“That support network at that period of time in my life was was invaluable, both from a work point of view, but also a home point of view too.”