When the 2016 premiership flag is unfurled at Etihad Stadium on Friday, 31 March, some iconic Bulldogs will be on hand to mark the occasion.
Today’s ICON profile: Doug Hawkins
Coming to the Bulldogs from Braybrook Football Club in 1978, Doug Hawkins epitomises the headline, 'local boy makes good'.
Hawkins and his Braybrook teammate Robert Groenewegen (who spent 10 seasons with the Bulldogs) were stars of the local Footscray District Football League, who came under the notice of those at the Western Oval in the late 1970s.
Hawkins was invited to Footscray and made his debut for the Bulldogs as a 17-year-old in round 1, 1978. Though he only had seven touches in a loss to North Melbourne that day, 'Dougie' kicked a goal and showed glimpses of the sublime skill that was to characterise his next 18 seasons on the football field.
Selectors had seen enough for Hawkins to become a permanent member of the side immediately, and thus began the career of a champion.
Hawkins' talents saw him deployed to the wing position, where his superior ball use helped to launch many an attack into the Bulldogs' forward line. During Mick Malthouse's time as coach at Whitten Oval, Hawkins was instructed to play on the outer side in home games, allegedly so that Malthouse could enjoy Doug's displays at close range.
Malthouse's instruction to his full back was always to "kick it to Doug", because he knew that Hawkins would have the balance and skill to almost inevitably take possession and find another teammate upfield.
Hawkins continued to delight Doggies fans until his final season at the Dogs in 1994. While his football was of the highest standard throughout his time at the Kennel, the 1985 finals series saw him display those talents at their absolute peak against the best the league had to offer, as the Bulldogs came within a couple off kicks of a Grand Final.
Malthouse has described Hawkins' 38-possession game against North Melbourne in that year's semi final as one of the greatest individual performances he has witnessed on a football field.
Hawkins broke club legend Ted Whitten's club games record against Geelong in 1994, a typically fine display from Doug helping the Dogs to a 28-point win at the ground that bears Whitten's name, earning him a Brownlow vote.
Doug Hawkins' 329-game career saw him win the Charlie Sutton Medal in 1985, captain the club from 1990 to 1993, head the club's goal kicking list in 1991, play state-of-origin football for Victoria and get selected in the AFL Team of the Year in 1984 and 1986.
The outer side of Whitten Oval is now officially known as the Doug Hawkins Wing in honour of his contributions to the Western Bulldogs.