TO say Derek Bird loves the Hawthorn Football Club is an understatement.
With the clash between the Hawks and the Western Bulldogs tomorrow, every man, woman and their dog who are passionate fans will be out showing their true colours.
Mr Bird has covered his car, Ravenswood home, shed, front and back yards with Hawks paraphernalia.
His 1995 Holden Commodore has been decked out with the Hawks emblem on the bonnet, doors and boot, and the inside of the car is just as well decorated.
‘‘If there’s an afternoon training before a game, I often park out the front of Aurora Stadium and after training I try and get some of the players to sign my car,’’ Mr Bird said.
He has about 26 signatures on the bonnet, 18 or so on the doors and boot including former Hawk Lance ‘‘Buddy’’ Franklin, Sam Mitchell and Luke Hodge.
His opposition this weekend will be Griffen the British bulldog, owned by Tim and Karen Haab, of South Launceston.
Griffen, who is not yet 2, was named after Western Bulldogs captain Ryan Griffen.
Mrs Haab said Griffen was the latest family bulldog to take on the name of a player, with (Simon) Beasley and (Robert) Murphy previous loved pets.
‘‘He certainly prefers a football to a tennis ball,’’ Mrs Haab said.
Hawthorn state operations manager Shayne Stevenson said yesterday ticket sales were going well and the club was expecting more than 15,000 football fans at tomorrow’s game.
He said in the context of the bad weather the region had suffered, the club would be happy with that turnout.
Tickets will be available at the gate.