The Hawthorn Spartans face Old Xaverians at home at the Rathmines Reserve on Saturday in what is their final game in a difficult season

After years of dominance in Divisions Two and Three of the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA) leagues, the Spartans were catapulted two sections up to the Premier Thirds in a season dogged by the COVID-19 disruptions and a long injury list.

Spartans general manager George Demetriou was philosophical about this season in which the team recorded a victory over Caulfied Grammar.

“It was a big challenge this year,” Mr Demetriou told Neos Kosmos. “The players tried their best and it will make them stronger for next year. We will recruit new players for next season.”

He said the Premier Thirds’ teams were from private schools and had younger players who trained twice a week and can draw from their teams playing in other divisions. Some had as many as a dozen teams to draw from. The Spartans had one team and trained just once a week.

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“Despite our worst season on record due to the jump of two Sections because of our previous success, our numbers at training have been very very good, players have been very positive and looking forward to adding to our five Premierships in the forthcoming years,” Mr Demetriou said.

He said the Spartans position in the Premier Thirds was a culmination of 11 years in the VAFA competition that had “witnessed five Premierships, seven players who have played 100 games each, long-time friendships and providing the opportunity for a number of players from Multicultural backgrounds and regardless of talent, to play for our team.”

He also praised the work of coaches Anthony Demetriou and John Farah and the support of the club’s Leadership Group. He noted that Anthony Demetriou, his nephew, was a four-time Premiership player and five-time Premiership coach. Mr Farah is a five-time Premiership player and five-time Premiership coach.

George and Anthony Demetriou received Life Membership awards from the Hawthorn Amateur Football Club for 10 years voluntary service to the club.

The final game of the season is against the Old Xaverians is at the Hawthorn Spartans’ home ground at Rathmines Reserve, Rathmines Road, Hawthorn East, 11.40am on Saturday, 31 July.