It’s a battle of strengths and a battle of wills. Tonight, we will learn plenty about the top two teams as Geelong and Hawthorn square up at the MCG. Live scores and commentary kicks off from 7.40pm AEST.
Geelong had a blip two weeks ago when they mentally let go a comfortable lead against the Brisbane Lions.
But they then summonsed one of their best defensive performances of the year against a side led by one of the most brilliant of tacticians, Ross Lyon.
Harry Taylor showed the reasons why so many at the Cattery want him to stay with his spoiling and intercepting a feature of the night.
While Jimmy Bartel showed his class again with 24 disposals, eight marks and three tackles.
Hawthorn continued their sensational 2013 season with a solid win at their home away from home, Aurora Stadium, when they got past the Lions.
It was another clinical performance that saw Jarryd Roughead continue his exemplary form, Brad Sewell pulled out another searing game in the midfield, while Buddy Franklin’s two minutes of mayhem in the second quarter was enough to show he’s ready for grander things to come this year.
The win now means they’re on a twelve game winning streak, which matches a club record that existed in 1961 between Round 9 and the grand final victory.
But for the Hawks, a few things remain.
The only team to beat the Hawks in 2013: Geelong.
The team with the biggest current streak against Hawthorn: Geelong.
The team the Hawks fear the most: Geelong.
This bizarre Kennett Curse that envelops the Hawthorn Football Club traces back to an episode of the ABC’s Offsiders program in early 2009, when then-President Jeff Kennett questioned Geelong’s mental aptitude to defeat the Hawks.
“What they don’t have, I think, is the quality of some of our players,” he said.
“They don’t have the psychological drive we have. We’ve beaten Geelong when it matters.”
Ten matches later and Hawks fans are wishing they could take that moment back from Kennett.
Geelong has not fluked any of their ten straight victories against the Hawks.
They’ve consistently kept themselves close enough in each of the matches, to give themselves a fighting chance.
That’s not to say they haven’t been helped by their opponents.
Fade outs are something that Hawthorn doesn’t do too often, but when it happens, it seems to be against Geelong.
While it’s not at the proportions of The Curse of the Bambino or the Socceroos’ Witch Doctor Curse, what Jeff Kennett has been able to provide the Geelong players, coaches and supporters is the ammunition to beat one of the best teams of the last five years, time and time again.
Sir David Attenborough has been called; he’s provided the tranquilizer guns.
Now it’s up to the 22 playing for Hawthorn tonight to make the right shot to quell the navy blue and white gorilla that is on their back right now.
How important is it for Hawthorn to win this game tonight?
Well, you’d prefer to win now than lose again and hope they break it in a final or grand final, because there won’t be much confidence in the unit then.
Does it make it impossible for the Hawks to win the flag if they don’t win tonight?
Well of course not, as there’s many other teams that are in contention that Hawthorn has the wood over.
Win tonight, and end speculation over their heavyweight opponents and give their season that much needed spark in a time where they could be feeling quite battle weary.
Hawthorn, the ball is in your court.