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Playing to Win is an insider’s view of how the Hawthorn Football Club won its 11th premiership in 2013 and, in the process, established itself as Australia’s most successful football club over the past 60 years. From an unexpected flag in 2008 to redemption in 2013, Playing to Win captures the memorable moments that enrich this club’s already colourful history—a history that began as the perennial easy-beats of the competition.
Award-winning author Michael Gordon takes the reader inside the private meetings at the key moments during the highs and lows of a five-year journey, offering extraordinary insights into the pressures and realities of elite professional sport. Based on unparalleled access and frank interviews with all the key figures, including Alastair Clarkson, Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell, Jarryd Roughead and many more players and coaches, Playing to Win reveals how the ‘Kennett Curse’ was overcome; how 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.
Playing to Win is compulsory reading for anyone who wants to understand how successful organisations work together to create a winning culture.
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).
Read about Playing to Win in The Tasmanian Times
Read a review of Playing to Win that appeared in The Examiner.
Read a review of Playing to Win that appeared in the Wangaratta Chronicle.
Read Martin Flanagan's review of Playing to Win that appeared in The Age
Read a review of Playing to Win that appeared in The West Australian.
View great images from Playing to Win launch, held at Hawthorn Football Club, Wednesday 19 February
Read about the Playing to Win launch on the AFL's website
Read a review of Playing to Win that appeared in The Age
Read about the Playing to Win launch in The Age Wednesday, 19 February
Read a review on Playing to Win that appeared on the Hawthorn Football Club website
Watch Michael Gordon discuss his new book, Playing to Win, with Hawthorn Football Club
Read a second extract from Playing to Win that appeared in The Sunday Age on Sunday 16 February
Read an extract from Playing to Win that appeared in The Age on Saturday, 15 February.
Read about the Playing to Win book launch in the Herald Sun's article