AFL-Birds of Prey: History of the Hawthorn Football Club (2002)

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Released 23-Jul-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sports Main Menu Audio & Animation
Notes-The Leadership At Hawthorn
Notes-Games Records
Notes-Goals Records
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 158:25 (Case: 170)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By None Given
Aust. Football Video
Visual Entertainment Group
Starring Various
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Birds of Prey: The History of the Hawthorn Football Club is an extensive trip down memory lane which will be an essential purchase for diehard fans of this AFL club. On moving to Melbourne, I was soon made aware that I had to adopt a footie club - quite simply, it's the law! Driving through the suburbs and seeking a house to rent, I spotted a road sign which stated "Hawthorn 14" for want of a better reason, I chose Hawthorn as my footie team. My young son of course did the same - and hence the reason for selecting this DVD for review.

    Not being a footie aficionado, I was expecting to find this a bit of a chore, but much to my surprise I found the DVD presented an interesting and fairly exhaustive summary of the club from its inception, through the halcyon days of the 1980s Premiership wins and up to the genuinely touching and somewhat inspirational fight to prevent a merger with Melbourne in 1996. The DVD divides the heartfelt history into three main sections as follows.

    Part One - this section runs for 77:00 and covers the history of the club from 1873 to 1977. Obviously there is no footage from the earliest years of the club, but photographs and an informed narration give a good overview of the earliest days of the club. Filmed footage commences from 1957 and the historical games and interviews are interspersed with more contemporary reminiscences from the likes of Dipper, Jack Hale, Sandy Ferguson and John Kennedy.

    Part Two - running for 81:25 and covering the Mighty Hawks from 1977 to 1996. Don Scott notches up his 300th game. Mullets and short-shorts make repeated appearances and they are joined by footage of the glitzy Dermot Brereton at his ladies dress shop. John Platten sports the craziest perm in sporting history whilst John Kennedy breaks his leg in the opening minutes of a game against Collingwood. The biffo reaches new heights in 1985 as "Lethal" Leigh Matthews faces criminal prosecution for his on-field assault of Geelong's Neville Bruns. Not content with damaging other players, Matthews splitting the goalpost in half at Essendon is a sight to behold. Hawthorn manage the amazing feat of playing in seven straight Grand Finals, before running into financial difficulties and facing the merger with Melbourne in 1996.

    The final section of the DVD is a collection of text based screens providing a plethora of Club Statistics. Sections cover the Leadership (Coaches, Captains and Best and Fairest winners) over the years 1925-2002, Games Records (Michael Tuck played an incredible 426 matches) and Goals Records (an amazing 1254 for Jason Dunstall).

    From the cheesy opening song (sorry Hawks) to the emotional near-merger of 1996, this fairly lengthy DVD will contain something to delight Hawthorn fans of any era. As well as the historical background information, there is some memorable in-game footage and quite detailed blow-by-blow accounts of some of the more titanic games. A nice package overall which can be highly recommended for fans of the club, or AFL history in general.

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Transfer Quality


    Given the age and source of some of the footage on this DVD, the video quality of this transfer is acceptable, but of course it is by no means of reference standard.

    The video is presented non 16x9 enhanced in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, which would of course be the original aspect ratio. The footage varies in age from the 1950s to the late 1990s and the quality reflects the age and the nature of the source. The earliest footage is in black and white and suffers from large amounts of grain and plenty of film artefacts. The more recent colour footage is not without its flaws either, with some deterioration evident - this is certainly not digital TV standard - but surely you didn't expect that did you?

    Black levels and shadow detail are never really tested, but are acceptable throughout. Colours are reasonable most of the time, occasionally looking a little worse for wear due to the passage of time. There is some evidence of both chroma noise and colour bleeding, but never enough to make the viewing experience unpleasant.

    There is a constant pixelization present in the video footage, and edge enhancement is occasionally marked (for example around Dipper in his Young Doctors appearance in the second section of the DVD). Aliasing was not a significant distraction.

    The transfer is affected by film artefacts in the earlier footage (occasionally dramatically), but the later video footage is generally not too bad. There are some occasional tape tracking errors evident at the bottom of the video footage.

    Sadly for hard of hearing fans there are no subtitles present.

    The disc is in a single sided and dual layered DVD 9 format but I noticed no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The overall audio transfer is perfectly serviceable.

    The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is encoded at 224 kbps. The DVD specific narration is free from major defects with no clicks, pops or hiss noted. Unsurprisingly there is some distortion and hiss evident in some of the old footage from time to time. Dialogue was always acceptably clear and audio sync was just fine at all times.

    There is little in the way of music present - the occasional heroic and dramatic backing track for some of the Grand Final footage plus of course that "quaint" club song.

    The soundstage is predominantly frontal but Pro Logic II does spread the sound to the surrounds - including leakage of the narration. Effectively the same audio is heard from all speakers, but with a frontal balance. The subwoofer gets some occasional use from fanfares and the odd bit of music, but is generally silent.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are no extras present (unless you count the statistics screens as described above).


    The main menu features a small animated window and is accompanied by that glorious club song! It allows the selection of each of the three main sections and that's it. Each of the three sections has selectable chapter stops.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This disc is unsurprisingly not available in Region 1.


    Birds of Prey: The History of the Hawthorn Football Club is an extensive collection of interviews, history and match footage which provides a significant insight into the background of the footie team. It is sure to delight fans.

    The video quality is acceptable given the limitations of the source materials.

    The audio transfer is acceptable given the limitations of the source materials.

    There are no extras per-se.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel O'Donoghue (You think my bio is funny? Funny how?)
Friday, April 30, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDHarmony DVD Video/Audio PAL Progressive, using Component output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer

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