Peter Crimmins

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Peter Crimmins
Personal information
Full name Peter Crimmins
Date of birth (1948-07-08)8 July 1948
Date of death 28 September 1976(1976-09-28) (aged 28)
Original team(s) Assumption College
Height 173 cm (5 ft 8 in)
Weight 72 kg (159 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1966–1975 Hawthorn 176 (231)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1975.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Peter Crimmins (8 July 1948 – 28 September 1976) was a rover for the Hawthorn Football Club in the VFL, playing 176 games and kicking 231 goals from 1966 to 1975.[1] He was an inspirational player and captain from 1974 who wore number 5. He was a member of the Hawks' 1971 premiership team. His father, Bryan Crimmins, also played in the VFL, appearing in one game for Melbourne.

Cancer diagnosis[edit]

At the completion of the 1974 VFL season Crimmins was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After surgery and two bouts of chemotherapy in 1975, he attempted to make a return, declaring that he was fit to play in the 1975 VFL Grand Final after playing 5 reserve games, including one final. Both the selection committee and Hawthorn's supporters were divided over whether he should play. Ultimately the match committee decided against playing him in the game, with coach John Kennedy admitting they were fearful a knock could affect him. As he explained later: "It was very hard, it was a unique situation ... Peter wanted to play. The committee was divided. He didn't play. We'll never know what might have happened if he had played."[2] The Hawks lost the Grand Final to North Melbourne.

Crimmo's Cup[edit]

Throughout the next year Crimmins health deteriorated again, but by the end of the season Hawthorn was again facing North Melbourne for the 1976 VFL Grand Final. By this stage Crimmins was confined to his sickbed, unable to even attend the game, and with live television broadcasts of the Grand Final not introduced until 1977, he was reduced to merely listening to it on the radio.[3][4] Just before the Hawthorn players took the field Kennedy read out a telegram which Crimmins had sent to the club, saying "Good luck to you and all the boys. It will be a long, hard, 100 minutes but I am sure you will be there at the end. Regards, Peter Crimmins." Kennedy implored his players to "Do it for the little fella", and later stated that he believed his team was never going to lose.[2] Hawthorn won the game by thirty points to take the Premiership.[4]

The night of the Grand Final six of Crimmins' closest teammates took the premiership cup to Crimmins' house in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne to let him share in the celebrations.[5] A press photographer accompanied them and a famous photo was published in the newspapers showing a wasted, reclining, yet beaming Crimmins holding the premiership cup surrounded by his jubilant teammates.[6] The premiership victory became known around Hawthorn and in the football community as 'Crimmo's Cup' in recognition of the inspiration Crimmins provided to his team.[5]

Crimmins died just three days after the game, aged 28. He was survived by his wife and two sons. The image of a stricken Crimmins holding the premiership cup and surrounded by teammates is captured in Jamie Cooper's painting The Game That Made Australia, commissioned by the AFL in 2008 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the sport.[7]

Peter Crimmins Medal[edit]

The Hawthorn Football Club best and fairest award is called the Peter Crimmins Medal in his honour.[8] Crimmins' number 5 team jumper is displayed in Hawthorn's club room at Glenferrie Oval, the only jumper on display.


  1. ^ (AFL stats Peter Crimmins)
  2. ^ a b McFarlane, Glenn (14 December 2008). "Hawthorn great John Kennedy still a grand master". The Herald Sun. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Melbourne Age Clubs use new game plan in dealing with trauma 17 August 2003
  4. ^ a b Oakley, Ian (25 June 2006). "1976 - Year in Review". Hawk Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Jackson, Russell (24 September 2013). "The Joy of Six: great grand final moments: 4) Crimmo's Cup in '76". The Guardian (Australian Edition): Talking Sport. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 23 October 2013. "John Kennedy just simply read that telegram out to us prior to the '76 Grand Final and the rest was always going to be history, there was no way we were going to lose that game. We won that premiership and it's called 'Crimmo's Cup' to this day," said Knights. 
  6. ^ "The Best Hawthorn FC Photos". Big Footy. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Australian Football League, The Game That Made Australia, Retrieved 19 September 2010
  8. ^ (Hawthorn Football Club)