Playing to Win book launch

Playing to Win book launch

The Hawthorn Football Club and The Slattery Media Group proudly launched Michael Gordon’s new book, Playing to Win, on Wednesday at the Ricoh Centre.

Playing to Win is an insider’s view of the inner workings of Hawthorn, with Gordon present for the private meetings at all the key moments of the club, flag to flag! Having experienced the highs and lows of this journey, Gordon’s account offers extraordinary insights into the pressures and realities of elite professional sport. Although Playing to Win is a story about Hawthorn’s 11th premiership, the author also describes it as ‘a story about the evolving culture of what may well be Australia’s most successful sporting club’.

This evolving culture was reflected upon at today’s launch, Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold, chief executive Stuart Fox, senior coach Alastair Clarkson and captain Luke Hodge joined Gordon for a panel discussion about the past five years, hosted by former club great, Peter Knights. Clarkson reflected on the club’s abillity to work through adversity to achieve premiership success saying: ‘I’m enormously proud that when we do things, we do things together....This club has been very fortunate to have some great people behind it.’

Playing to Win is based on unparalleled access and frank interviews with all the key figures at Hawthorn, including Clarkson, Hodge, Sam Mitchell, Jarryd Roughhead and many more players and coaches. It reveals how the ‘Kennett curse’ was overcome; how former president Jeff Kennett considered dropping the coach to the VFL in 2010; and the coach's formula for transforming his players when they crossed 'the white line' in the 2013 preliminary final against Geelong.

From an unexpected flag in 2008 to redemption in 2013, Playing to Win captures the memorable moments that have enriched this club’s already colourful history—a history that began with the Hawks as the perennial easy-beats of the competition.

Michael Gordon is political editor at The Age and has written biographies of surfer Layne Beachley and former prime minister Paul Keating, a history of Bells Beach, and (with his father Harry Gordon) One for All, the story of the Hawthorn Football Club. A Walkley Award winner, he has also won the Graham Perkin Award for Australian Journalist of the Year (in 2005).

Preorder your copy of Playing to Win here