AFL hands down verdict after Tom Hawkins caught in illegal act during weather delay

The Geelong veteran landed himself in hot water during the Cats' clash with Hawthorn.

Geelong have received an official warning from the AFL after Tom Hawkins was spotted holding a mobile phone during a weather delay on Monday. Play was stopped because of lightning in the area just before the fourth quarter of Geelong's clash with Hawthorn at the MCG.

During the break in play, Hawkins was spotted in the change-rooms being shown a mobile phone by a Geelong staff member. The Cats veteran held the phone for a brief moment, which is against AFL rules.

Tom Hawkins, pictured here handling the mobile phone during the game.
Tom Hawkins broke strict AFL rules by handling the mobile phone during the game. Image: Getty/Channel 7

Players are strictly forbidden from accessing phones during games, although some staff members of cubs are authorised. Geelong's player development officer Mark Worthington was the staff member who handed the phone to Hawkins, and Worthington is authorised to have his phone during games.


However he shouldn't have handed it to Hawkins. It has since emerged that Hawkins asked Worthington about how much rain was in the vicinity, and Worthington showed the Geelong veteran the weather radar.

On Tuesday evening it emerged that the AFL had handed the Cats an official warning, but Hawkins hasn't received any sanction. “While the interaction was unintentional, it serves as an important reminder to all clubs that mobile phone usage is restricted to only authorised device users during the duration of a match,” the AFL said in a statement. “The club has today received an official warning.”

Hawkins told Channel 7 after the game: “Our player development manager, I asked him about the radar. I wanted to get a look on what was coming our way - it certainly wasn’t my phone.”

The situation with Hawkins comes after Collingwood were fined $20,000 by the AFL in 2021 for a similar incident. Magpies players Jordan De Goey and Jeremy Howe were both spotted using their phones in the dressing sheds.

Tom Hawkins, pictured here being handed the mobile phone.
Tom Hawkins was handed the mobile phone by Geelong's player development officer Mark Worthington. Image: Channel 7

Tom Hawkins' sparkling display in 350th AFL game for Geelong

The Hawkins incident also came after his 350th game, which the Cats won by 36 points. Geelong had a six-goal advantage before players were told to leave the field just before the start of the final quarter in the traditional Easter Monday fixture.

Play resumed at 6.11pm, which was well past the match's original scheduled finishing time. Geelong got the chocolates in torrential rain to win 17.4 (106) to 10.10 (70) in front of 67,020 fans.

Officials were told by the Bureau of Meteorology that lightning was present within a 10km radius, and the call was made to stop the match. Once the teams left the field, they had to stay there for at least 20 minutes under AFL rules. Play was also stopped in a game between West Coast and Melbourne at Optus Stadium in 2021 due to lightning.

Tom Hawkins, pictured here being chaired off the field by Geelong teammates.
Tom Hawkins was chaired off the field after his 350th AFL game with Geelong. (Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Hawkins played a pivotal role in his milestone match, kicking two goals in the first quarter and finishing with four - equal-highest for the match. The 35-year-old overtook Jack Reiwoldt (787) to move into 13th place for most goals in VFL/AFL history, and will become Geelong's games record holder in six weeks' time.

Hawkins' family and a number of former Cats teammates packed out the club's rooms after he was chaired from the ground by Jeremy Cameron and Mitch Duncan. "They (teammates) love the guy," Cats coach Chris Scott said.

"He's just been such a great ally for so many people over the years. It says something that Harry Taylor jumped on two planes from Geraldton to get here. There's a lot of ex-players and families coming to honour the great man, which I think is a nice touch."

with AAP