Round 20 – Geelong v Hawthorn: Hawks too good for the Cats

I usually attend matches between Hawthorn and Geelong with a certain level of apprehension.

 
Whilst these fixtures provide an enthralling and high quality contest for the independent footy fan, they generally leave Hawthorn supporters with a bitter taste in their mouths.

 
But Saturday night had a distinctly different feel to it. There was a genuine expectation that the Hawks would be too good for a side which is now caught in between premiership contention and a complete regeneration of their list. A process of blooding youth and trying to determine which ageing stars will carry the torch a little longer. I suspect the recruiting of a Moggs Creek local in the coming off-season would fast track them back into people’s top four calculations.

 
The withdrawal of Mitch Duncan the day before the game was comforting to many of the Hawthorn faithful, and the loss of Tom Lonergan was a further confidence booster. Without these two players, Geelong looked as though they were batting a bit shallower than they would have liked in defence and the midfield (but still not as shallow as the Australian cricket team).

 
There’s been talk of Hawthorn’s ageing stars (Hodge, Mitchell, Lake et. al) slowing down and hence entering the twilight of their careers. You wouldn’t believe it with the season that the skipper and his predecessor are putting together. Hodge sparked the Hawks in the first term with three goals (including a gem from the boundary) and Mitchell continues to gather the pill in the tightest of stoppages. In a time where the game is more congested than ever, that’s no mean feat.

 
Seven goals to three at quarter time was a fair reflection of what had transpired in the opening term but also probably where both sides stand in the broader context of the season. The Hawks have the ability to score heavily from a number of avenues and whilst Geelong was certainly competitive, they lacked a spread of options in attack. Hawkins looked threatening every time the ball went inside 50, but was pretty well held after half time.

 
The Cats were spurned into action in the second term, with Guthrie (30 touches and 3 goals) and Selwood (25 touches and a goal) leading from the front – only poor kicking for goal prevented them from being closer on the scoreboard. Both sides had the same number of scoring shots, but the Hawks were 15 points ahead at the main break.

 
The Cats again threatened to fight their way back into the contest in the third term – as is generally the script in these clashes. But the Hawks then went on a goal kicking spree, kicking five goals to one in a twelve minute period midway through the quarter to hold a firm grip on the contest at the final change.

 
The Cats again blew chances in the last quarter to get within striking distance. They had the first four shots on goal in the last term, but missed all of them. Meanwhile at the other end, Hodge kicked his fourth goal and Roughead added another to put the result beyond doubt. Some Cats fans around me decided they’d make an early trip to the train stations. Those with Hawthorn attire relaxed a little further in their seats.

 
Now we can talk about Cyril – he really is a delight to watch. I couldn’t believe that he only had a dozen touches, but when six of those result in goals it’s an easy mistake to make. It’s not just what he does when he has the ball, but when he hasn’t got it that makes him such a dangerous prospect. He makes the opposition nervous because he could either sit on their head in a marking contest or swoop on the loose ball at ground level if they make a mistake. There aren’t many players who can do that.

 
It was a polished performance from the Hawks and I left the ground a happy Hawks supporter – significantly happier than a fortnight earlier.

 

GEELONG      3.2   6.7   10.8   12.13 (85)

HAWTHORN   7.2   9.4   15.7   19.7 (121)

 

GOALS

Geelong: Guthrie 3, Hawkins 2, Johnson 2, Selwood, Lang, Cockatoo, Lang, Walker

Hawthorn: Rioli 6, Hodge 4, Breust 3, Roughead 2, Shiels, Gunston, Smith, Puopolo

 

BEST

Geelong: Guthrie, Selwood, Enright, Johnson, Hawkins, Lang

Hawthorn: Rioli, Hodge, Mitchell, Shiels, Breust, Birchall, McEvoy, Puopolo

 

Votes: Rioli 3, Hodge 2, Guthrie 1

About Jeremy Hill

Devoted Hawthorn supporter and University Blacks footballer who spends more time watching, reading and writing about sport than is considered healthy. Like most people my age, I'm 20.

Comments

  1. Peter Flynn says:

    Jeremy, a fair and accurate account of Saturday night.

    I watched from Level 2 (admittedly from a dining room table in the last stanza).

    The sense of collective and level of organization staggered me.

    PF

  2. Yep – only way to sum this game up: “Too good”.

    Where’s the happiest man in the world? RK, you out there?

  3. Rick Kane says:

    Cyrillllllllll!

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