THE future of Hawthorn Monash University is in the safe hands of wicketkeeper Ben Cookson, who at 25 is one of the youngest captains in the club’s 150-year history.
Faced with record debt and the loss captain Simon Dart and Ryder medallist Steve Spoljaric, the club’s new administration has followed a proud tradition in anointing a glove man as the keeper of its culture.
Former premiership captain, life member and Victorian wicketkeeper Peter Roach was the club’s youngest captain at 21. He was the keeper of its culture for about six years from 1998.
Cookson, in his fifth season with the Hawks, says his role is similar to that of Roach’s in being the glue that holds the club together during a rebuilding phase. “Filling Roachy’s gloves is always going to be a big job. He was such a great player for the club. He was a great leader and led by example, which is what I want to do.
“I try and keep myself involved in the game. Being behind the stumps, you get to see what’s going on and it’s important for the keeper to set the standard for the rest of the team.
Cookson says the club’s aim of winning a premiership in the next five years is achievable and the key to success for his young group is building the camaraderie and enjoying the game.
“I’m pretty laid back and it’s about the guys enjoying their cricket. We are all mates and heading on the same journey together. Where and how it ends will be up to us.”
Taking flight: New Hawthorn Monash University captain Ben Cookson, coach Wendell Perumal and fourths captain, Ryan Porker.