Tom Hawkins 'irritated' as new details emerge about contract stand-off with Geelong

The 35-year-old is keen to go around again, but things aren't going to plan on a new contract.

Tom Hawkins.
Tom Hawkins and the Geelong Cats aren't seeing eye-to-eye on a new contract. Image: Getty

Former teammate Josh Jenkins has revealed Tom Hawkins and the Geelong Cats are "still a ways apart" on a new contract, with the 35-year-old keen to play on in 2024. Hawkins suffered a hamstring injury late in the season, bringing an early end to his 17th season in the AFL.

But the forward is eager to extend his 347-game, 781-goal career, and Geelong coach Chris Scott revealed he will "100 per cent" be playing next season. But contract negotiations don't appear to be going smoothly, and Jenkins revealed on Monday that Hawkins has been left feeling "irritated" by the stand-off.

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“He is a little irritated that it’s taken this long,” Jenkins said on AFL Trade Radio. “There’s some ground to be covered for both parties from the Cats’ point of view.

“I owed him a call…he was willing to tell me that he and the Cats are still a ways apart with his new contract. I thought it would be someone’s desk already signed off on.

“I don’t think there’s doubt on him playing in the Cats’ jumper. I was pretty surprised to learn there was still some ground to be covered.

“I think he got tired late in the season because he did play every game. He just loves to play the game. He’s got a thirst for training and playing.”

Discussing the situation on Fox Footy on Monday night, North Melbourne great David King said Geelong simply had to re-sign Hawkins considering his years of taking pay cuts to remain at the club. “Don’t lose the soul of your football club like this,” he said. “This guy has played 350 games of football – he’s been there forever. Don’t allow him to exit like this – just get the deal done.”

Fellow panellist Ben Dixon agreed with King. “The average wage (for an AFL player) is $407,000 – he’s better than that,” he said.

Tom Hawkins, pictured here after a game for Geelong.
Tom Hawkins looks on after a game for Geelong. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Tom Hawkins keen for another season with Geelong Cats

Speaking late in the season, Hawkins said he was still feeling fresh and eager for another crack next year. "I expect to be playing, really eager to ... really keen and excited mentally to play on," he told Channel 7. "Like most of my contracts, a mere formality."

Scott said veteran players Hawkins and Zach Touhy would definitely be back in 2024. "100 per cent confident," the coach said after Geelong's final game. "Zach and Tom will both play on."

The Cats missed the finals for the first time since 2015, but Scott is confident he can turn things around next season. It's also just the second time the Cats have missed the top-eight since Scott became coach in 2011.

The last time they failed to make the finals, they bounced back to make the prelim the following season. "There were lots of things and reasons to be pleased with the performance and some signs that give us optimism for what we can do in '24," Scott said. "I'm not going to wake up feeling great, I'll be honest, but it won't be a situation, I don't think, we're sitting there thinking this is a desperate situation, we don't know the way forward. We're respectful of how close the competition is but optimistic we can be a big part of it."

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