Michael John Hawker
- 611Wallaby Number
Michael Hawker was a born leader. Rarely has there been such an old head on young shoulders. Although he never captained Australia in a Test it was an honour Hawker richly deserved. A centre of genuine world class who was equally at home at fly half, Hawker also had the skills to play Test rugby on the wing. He possessed a sharp turn of speed, the safest of hands and was a devastating tackler. Hawker always gave the appearance of being in control, unflurried and confident.
A product of Sydney Church of England Grammar School (Shore), Hawker came under the tutelage of former England international ‘Jika’ Travers and Neville Emery (Wallaby #350). From there Hawker went on to be an outstanding member of the unbeaten 1977-78 Australian Schoolboy team to the UK, Ireland, France and Japan. His teammate on that tour Mark Ella said that he and Hawker played their best football together. Together they had worked out a rapport that was to last many years. In fact, Hawker changed his game so the two could complement each other.
In 1980, and aged just 20, Hawker was chosen on his his first Wallaby tour, to Fiji, where he made his debut in Suva. From that debut Hawker would play in 24 of the Wallabies’ next 26 Tests through to the end of the 1984 series against New Zealand. On the Seventh Wallabies tour of Britain in 1981/82, Hawker was honoured with the captaincy in the uncapped match against Brigend.
In the 1982 Bledisloe Cup Test at Eden Park, Hawker caused a sensation when he knocked over a sixty-metre dropped goal. The following year on the tour to Italy and France he was given the honour of captaining his country against an Italian Provincial XV.
In 1984 Hawker was chosen for the Eighth Wallabies tour to Britain. Ella was the five-eighth, Alan Jones knew he needed a kicker so he selected Michael Lynagh as inside centre and the No.13 was occupied by Wallaby captain Andrew Slack. As a consequence Hawker did not play in any of the four Tests. To his credit, Hawker didn’t drop his head and was invariably one of the best players when he captained the side in the mid-week games.
Then, at the ridiculously early age of twenty-five, he retired only to make a comeback in 1987. Michael Hawker played 25 Tests for Australia in an eight-year international career.
Represented Australian Schools against Japanese Schools, Ireland Schools, Wales Schools and England Schools.
Hawker won his first Test cap at fly half outside of Phillip Cox in the 22-9 victory over Fiji in Suva. He was shifted to inside centre in order to accommodate Mark Ella at No.10 in each of the three Bledisloe Cup Tests against New Zealand. Hawker scored his first Test try in the 1st Test, 13-9 victory over New Zealand at the S.C.G.
Hawker played inside centre alongside Michael O’Connor for the two home Tests against France. He then partnered Andrew Slack against Ireland and Wales but missed the Scottish international with a damaged shoulder joint. Hawker recovered to play in the final Test against England.
Hawker earned five caps, the first at right wing for the 1st Test against Scotland and the final four, including the three Test series in New Zealand, back at inside centre.
He started at No.12 in all seven Wallaby internationals, the five with Slack and the final two against France in combination with Gary Ella.
Hawker did not tour Fiji but then played in each of the three Tests in partnership with Slack against New Zealand.
In his final year of international rugby Hawker was recalled at No.12 for the 16-30, one-off Bledisloe Cup loss in Sydney. He then toured to South America under simon Poidevin but did not win another cap.