Scores updated each minute. REFRESH NOW
We’re well into the run home to the finals, and games between teams in the top eight are of critical importance. And we’ve got a ripper of a contest to start this weekend’s action.
Hawthorn and Geelong have had some epic contests over the years. The 1989 Grand Final was one that will live long in the memory.
But it was the last Grand Final clash between the two sides, in 2008, that has assumed particular significance.
Geelong, defending champions, had only lost one game all season and were close to unbackable favourites. But on the day they were stunned, as Hawthorn took control and the Cats lost their nerve; the Hawks taking out an unlikely premiership.
It was a premiership that got away from Geelong, a deep shock to the club that has been such a force in recent years. But the Cats made a pledge after that contest that they wouldn’t go down to the Hawks again. And they haven’t. There’s been some close contests since then, including a thriller on Easter Monday; but Geelong have beaten Hawthorn every time they two clubs have met since that Grand Final.
But this will be a tough one for the Cats in their quest to maintain that record. The Hawks are on a roll. Eight wins on the trot see the Hawks in second place, just one win behind ladder leaders Sydney and with an imposing percentage. Confidence is high in the Hawthorn camp.
The Hawks are still without Buddy Franklin on their forward line, but have plenty of stars around the ground. Luke Hodge returned from injury last week and kicked five goals in a best-on-ground performance. Cyril Rioli has been in outstanding form, while
Jarryd Roughead on the forward line has been contributing plenty of scores. Sam Mitchell has been a ball magnet in the midfield.
Last year, Hawthorn were a kick away from the Grand Final, and this year their form has been even better. Many, including GWS coach Kevin Sheedy, have rated the Hawks as serious challengers for this year’s premiership.
But the Cats won’t be lying down. Joel Corey will be a big loss, but the defensive work of Matthew Scarlett will be a welcome addition to the Geelong lineup. There’s still plenty of premiership talent in this Geelong side. Brownlow medallist Jimmy Bartel spearheads a midfield that includes guns such as Joel Selwood and Paul Chapman. On the forward line, Tom Hawkins is building up to his best form.
Geelong haven’t had everything their own way this season, but with wins in their last two matches they remain in sixth place, within striking distance of the top four and a double-chance in the finals. But to get there, this is the sort of game the Cats will need to win.
It’s an appetising contest to get another great weekend of footy under way. Join us here on The Roar on Friday night as we bring you the action. Post your comments and your observations below, as we look forward to what promises to be another epic contest.