Tom Hawkins after Geelong's loss to Melbourne in R8, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

TOM HAWKINS is confident he can overcome his form "speed hump" as he prepares to tie Geelong's games record against Port Adelaide on Friday night.

The champion Cats spearhead has not kicked a major in his past four games (the drought dates back five weeks after he was rested against North Melbourne), but has come up against some serious defences over that time in Carlton, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Western Bulldogs.

Despite the lack of goals, the veteran says he's still playing an important role for a side that only suffered its first defeat last weekend.

Tom Hawkins looks on during round three, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"I'm well aware that I'm not in great touch at the moment, but I feel like I'm still playing quite a significant role for the team," Hawkins said on Tuesday.

"We've got a motto as a list and a 23 that plays each week, and specifically the forward line, that we've got so many avenues towards goal, which probably hasn't always been the case for me in my time at Geelong.

"Each week is going to look a little different in terms of pure goalscoring. Yes, I'd like to be a bit more influential in the games, but I've touched on some periods in my career that I've worked through, and this is just a small speed hump. I'll manage my way through it and no doubt be fine.

"I've never played football like that (with goals as an extra incentive). I've always tried to play the best football I can, so that will always continue to be the case. For me, it's about how can I best influence the game and help my teammates.

"It's just football. I'm a key forward that has a habit of kicking goals over the last 10 years, and I think forever and a day you'll look at key position players as a whole and try to judge them on goals, which is a big part of what we do. But I always thought I add more than just my ability to kick goals. I like connecting, being involved throughout the game, certainly in forward 50 ruck contests, so I just need to have a little more influence in the game."


Long-term teammate and good friend Joel Selwood currently holds the Cats' games record of 355, a mark Hawkins will reach against the Power this week. If he sits out next week's clash with Gold Coast in Darwin, he will take the record outright at home against Greater Western Sydney in round 11.

"I've had conversations, and they're ongoing conversations, about how best to manage me as a player," he said.

"I'm 36 in July, so there's an element that there's always going to need to be management, things put in place to be able to be at my best for as long as I can. They're ongoing discussions, nothing is certainly locked in, but we'll continue to have those conversations."

On the honour of being set to hold the games record for his childhood club (father Jack and maternal grandfather Fred le Deux also donned the hoops), Hawkins kept coming back to the word "surreal".

"I've thought about it as I've got closer (and) it sort of doesn't sit all that comfortably with me at the moment. It's sort of a bit unique in the fact I'm passing one of my best friends in life, but a player I've spent a lot of time in my football journey with," he said.

"I'm sure this is going to be something that when I finish and look back on my career, I'm certainly going to be proud of the fact I've been able to be so durable. For me, this is about me and those who have helped me along the way.

"It feels a bit surreal and sits a bit uncomfortably, but I make no bones about the fact I was an avid Geelong supporter, grew up supporting the Cats through the '90s and 2000s, wanting to be here and wanting to call this place home.

"I've spent half my life here in Geelong, and call it home, and refer to this (club) environment that is work as my home away from home. I'm sure that 10-year-old or that six-year-old who started Auskick would be pretty amazed."

Tom Hawkins and Joel Selwood celebrate Geelong win in the 2022 AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Selwood and Hawkins played 305 games together, and the retired great is thrilled the person breaking his record is his old mate.

"It was just a joy, to be honest. Those early days, he probably reminded me to enjoy my footy, and I'll never forget that, the impact. And he continued that on over the 16 years of playing with him," Selwood said.

"It doesn't make sense; he was 110kg when he came in - massive - but the enjoyment he's kept in his footy the whole way along, that doesn't surprise me. He's a really good teammate to play with and play alongside, so as long as he continues that on, he can play for as long as he wants.

"The relationships that he's got with long-time coaches like Chris (Scott) and Nigel Lappin, but there's been a lot of people within the walls who have been around a long time, who have been the silos of this place, and Tom's absolutely one of those. One of the most important."

The recently completed stand at GMHBA Stadium has been named after premiership captain Selwood, which begs the question – is there something that Hawkins wants to bear his name?

"The Gary Ablett terrace, before the Joel Selwood stand was in, I've always been very fond of that space, [but] I'm not sure," Hawkins said.

"I'm happy with just a seat next to Joel Selwood in the Joel Selwood stand. Once my time is done here and I'm no longer the footballer, I can't wait to come here and watch Geelong for a long part of my life."