An ANZAC round clash against Adelaide and the return of prodigal son Alastair Clarkson – albeit in charge of the Kangaroos – are the highlights of Hawthorn’s 2023 AFL home-and-away roster matches in Launceston, announced by the AFL in early December 2022.
Hawthorn will play four matches at University of Tasmania Stadium next season after signing a one-year contract extension with the State Government last month to play games in Tasmania in 2023.
It is the 22nd year the Hawks have called Launceston their home-away-from-home since first partnering with the Tasmanian Government in 2001.
Hawthorn will play its first Launceston game in round 3 on Saturday, April 1 against North Melbourne, with the game due to start at 1.45pm.
After leaving the Hawks at the end of the 2021 season, Clarkson signed a five-year deal with North Melbourne at the end of the last season.
Clarkson was at the helm of Hawthorn for 17 years, leading the club to flags in 2008 and the famous three-peat of 2013-15.
For the third year in a row, the Hawks will host an ANZAC Round game in Launceston in round six on Sunday, April 23 against Adelaide, with kick-off at 1.10pm.
They will return in round 10 – again on a Sunday at 1.10pm to host the West Coast Eagles, before their final Launceston game in round 22 against the high-flying Western Bulldogs.
The date and time for that match will be announced later in the season.
City of Launceston Mayor Danny Gibson said he was thrilled to see the Hawks playing on in Launceston next year.
“It’s simply incredible that Hawthorn have been calling Launceston their second home for 22 years and with a number of players moving on after last year, it will certainly be exciting to see a young, fresh Hawks team taking to the field in 2023,” Mayor Gibson said.
“I’m certainly looking forward to the first game on April 1 against the Kangaroos with Alastair Clarkson at the helm – there’s no doubt there will be a lot of people watching on to see how the former Hawthorn coach performs against his old team.”
Mayor Gibson said AFL matches generate an extra $30 million a year into the local economy, with the majority of that flowing through the city’s hotels and restaurants.
“Having such an incredible and prosperous economic driver assisting our economy during the winter months is something I know that our city and its business owners very much welcome and appreciate every single year,” Mayor Gibson said.
The Hawks had a busy pre-season, adding five new faces in Cam Mackenzie, Josh Weddle, Jack O’Sullivan, Henry Hustwaite and Bailey Macdonald following the recent national draft.
Academy graduate Josh Bennetts joined the club during the rooking draft, joining Port Adelaide’s Karl Amon, Fremantle’s Lloyd Meek and Geelong’s Cooper Stevens during the AFL trade period.
Jack Gunston, Tom Mitchell and Jaeger O’Meara trade period, while Jackson Callow, Connor Downie, Kyle Hartigan, Daniel Howe, Tom Phillips and Jack Saunders were not offered new contracts.
Dual premiership ruckman Ben McEvoy and triple premiership player Liam Shiels both retired.