PETER KNIGHTS was recruited from Longwarry ( Victoria) by the Hawthorn Hawks in 1969 and played 267 Games, kicking 202 Goals until his retirement as a player in 1985. Knights is regarded as being one of the most spectacular high marks of all Australian Football Players to have played Our Game, and he was awarded AFL Mark of the Year in 1972, 1975 and 1977. There are a number of Knights Australian Football Cards, and many of his Hawthorn Hawks team-mates cards available at qualityafltradingcards.com.
Knights was a very athletic Centre Half Back , with a penchant for taking high-leaping marks across the Hawks back-line. His blonde mane was quickly identifiable as he launched himself into marking contests, often followed with a dashing run and a prodigious kick. Hawthorn thrived on getting the ball quickly into their forward line, where goalkicking genius Peter Hudson would dominate. Peter Knights suffered numerous injuries throughout his career, and there is no doubt that he missed winning Brownlow Medals in both 1976 and 1978 due to injury. Although Knights was predominantly a defender, he was utilized in key forward roles on a number of occasions: firstly as a replacement for the injured Hudson in 1972 , and famously in 1983 when he kicked 6 Goals in Hawthorn’s narrow victory over Fitzroy in the Qualifying Final.
Peter Knights was a special player and an outstanding role model for all younger players, and he won many individual awards and honours, including:- Hawthorn Best and Fairest Player ( Peter Crimmins Medal) in 1975, Hawthorn Hawks Leading Goalkicker in 1972, Hawthorn Premiership Player in 1976, 1978 and 1983, selection in the Hawthorn Hawks Team of the Century, selection in the Victorian State Team on 9 occasions, winner of the 1971 Simpson Medal against Western Australia, and an inaugural inductee to the Australian Football League Hall of Fame in 1996. Knights awful run of injuries caused him to miss the successful 1971 Hawthorn Hawks Premiership side, restricted his 1973 Season, prevented 2 Brownlow Medal victories and caused him to miss 40 Games in the 1979 to 1981 Seasons.
Despite the impact of missing many games through injury and the swarming pack of critics calling for his retirement, Peter Knights continued to perform at the highest level, and occasionally demonstrated his enormous class and high skill levels. One game of note was against the Carlton Blues in Round 10 of 1985, when Knights kicked 9 Goals in a stunning display at Full Forward. Although having proven to save many of his finest performances for the MCG at Finals time, it was a shock to Hawthorn Hawks followers when Knights was omitted from the Grand Final Team in 1985. Despite this setback, Knights proved his loyalty as a Clubman, by being the Hawthorn Reserves Team leading goalkicker in their 1985 Premiership success, and then promptly announced his retirement as a player.
Peter Knights was appointed inaugural Senior Coach of the Brisbane Bears ( now the Brisbane Lions) in 1987, and his inexperienced average quality player stock, allowed only 17 wins from 59 matches, until he was replaced near the end of the 1989 Season. Knights then coached in Devonport ( Tasmania) from 1990 to 1993, before being appointed Senior Coach at the Hawthorn Hawks for Season 1994. The Hawks were undergoing a restructuring program at the time, and although the Club played in the Finals Series in Knights first year, a disappointing 1995 Season , when the team finished second last, saw Knights given his marching orders after only 2 seasons at the helm. His Hawthorn Coaching record was 20 wins and 25 losses.
Peter Knights was an inspiration to a generation of Australian Rules Football followers, a huge drawcard for Hawthorn Hawks fans and always played the game in a fair manner; he demonstrated exemplary behaviour both on and off the field, which could he held up as a shining light in the turbulent AFL Scene of present times.
Image courtesy of aflphotos.com.au ).