Geelong skipper Joel Selwood was bruised and battered after a couple of head knocks during the Cats’ AFL semi-final win over Port Adelaide but eagerly anticipating Friday’s preliminary final against Hawthorn.
The Cats have qualified for their sixth preliminary final in seven years but did it the hard way, beating Port on Friday by 16 points at the MCG after Geelong’s qualifying-final loss to Fremantle at Simonds Stadium on September 7.
Minor premiers Hawthorn will be fresh after a week’s rest but face the “Kennett Curse” of not having beaten the Cats in 11 meetings since the 2008 grand final.
It’s a losing streak some have blamed upon ex-Hawks’ president Jeff Kennett who boasted his club had a mental edge over Geelong in big games.
“We like beating them,” Selwood told a media conference in Geelong on Saturday.
“We really rate them as a side. They’re the benchmark.
“Our group are just a competitive bunch of blokes. Expect us to be that next week.
“We probably do go in as the underdogs. They’ve had the week off, we’re going in, we’ve played the extra game, they played some great footy against Sydney the week before.”
Geelong were expected to overpower Port but had to work hard for victory, having trailed by 23 points at halftime before kicking 10 goals to Port’s five in the second half.
Cats’ coach Chris Scott says he takes confidence from his side’s second-half performance and Selwood agrees Geelong may have given Hawthorn something to fear.
“Probably before the last two quarters on the weekend, I’m sure there would have been a lot of money on them,” Selwood said.
However triple-premiership player Selwood isn’t fussed about Geelong’s winning run against the Hawks.
“I wish, I wish. No, it doesn’t (mean much),” he said.
“It’s a new game. There’ll be players who haven’t played against each other yet, the sides are different. We’ll go in and give it everything we’ve got.”
Geelong’s main concern is a rough-conduct report against Paul Chapman.
The 31-year-old Norm Smith Medallist booted four goals and had 20 disposals against Port but could face a one-game ban depending on the match-review panel’s findings regarding his bump on Port’s Robbie Gray.
“I haven’t seen it yet, but yeah, you are worried,” Selwood said.