THE longest-running VFL/AFL alignment in the competition’s history is set to continue for another five years after Box Hill announced the extension of its deal with Hawthorn on Friday.

The agreement will see the Hawks’ VFLW team return to the Box Hill name in 2023 after the club joins the AFLW at the end of next year, while long-time Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett and general manager of operations and major projects Josh Vanderloo will join the VFL club’s board.

The extension until the end of 2026 will take the alignment between the Hawks and former Mustangs to 27 years after they first got together when the AFL reserves competition was absorbed into the VFL in 2000.

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It is one of just three alignments remaining, with Casey and Melbourne and Sandringham and St Kilda having been together since 2009 after they swapped agreements – the Zebras had been with the Demons from 2000 and the Scorpions with the Saints from 2001.

Box Hill has won three premierships during its marriage with Hawthorn – in 2001, 2013 and 2018 – and was in a strong position to contend again before this season was called off.

The alignment will also see the creation of the Hawks Academy Pathway Program, which will oversee the enlistment of father-son, father-daughter, Next Generation Academy and other promising talent in the eastern corridor.

Box Hill Hawks president Ed Sill said the five-year extension highlighted the strength of the partnership.

“Box Hill’s relationship with Hawthorn is notably one of the most well-established alliances in the league, and we are thrilled to continue our partnership for a further five years,” Sill told the clubs' websites.

Jai Newcombe in action for Box Hill before joining Hawthorn in the 2021 mid-season draft. Picture: AFL Photos

“I warmly welcome Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett along with Josh Vanderloo to our board of directors. Both bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our leadership team and will be pivotal in continuing to drive the successful operations of our club, equally on and off the field.”

Hawthorn CEO Justin Reeves said the Hawks were proud of the long-standing relationship between the clubs.

“The club is delighted that this new agreement will see Hawthorn’s esteemed partnership with Box Hill remain until at least 2026,” he said.

“Hawthorn’s alliance with Box Hill has long fostered an incredible amount of collaboration and mutual admiration which continues to place both clubs in good stead now and into the future.”

Twitter: @BRhodesVFL