Hawthorn are eyeing a top-four AFL finish after holding off a late Geelong rally to score a nailbiting 11-point win at the MCG.
Hawks star Jaeger O’Meara sealed the 10.11 (71) to 8.12 (60) win in front of 59,529 fans by kicking the last goal of the day with just under a minute remaining.
The Cats trailed by 26 points at three-quarter time on Saturday but slashed the margin to eight points with eight minutes remaining to set up a frantic finale.
Geelong spearhead Tom Hawkins had the chance to make it a one-point game with just more than three minutes left but missed a set shot from well inside 50.
The narrow result leaves the Cats outside the eight and in a dogfight to make the finals.
Hawks ball magnet Tom Mitchell had to contend with some close checking from Scott Selwood but was influential with 32 possessions.
Evergreen veteran Shaun Burgoyne was also outstanding with 20 touches and 13 tackles.
Patrick Dangerfield starred for the Cats with 40 possessions, with Gary Ablett important with 32 disposals and three goals.
The Hawks suffered a blow before the opening bounce when skipper Jarryd Roughead was ruled out with a sore ankle.
His absence from the attacking 50 was apparent early as Hawthorn went goalless in the first term.
Hawkins lifted a lacklustre start with the first goal 18 minutes in, helping the Cats to a 12-point lead at the first break.
Geelong ruckman Rhys Stanley limped out of the game in the second quarter, which coincided with a big lift in intensity from Alastair Clarkson’s men.
Isaac Smith led the charge with two majors in a five-goals-to-nil quarter that put the Hawks up by 20 points at halftime.
Ablett added two goals in the third but the Hawks extended their lead to 26 points at the last change.
But as is so often the case in the storied rivalry between these clubs, a thrilling finale ensued as Geelong finished full of running.
Hawthorn will take on St Kilda at Etihad Stadium in round 22 and the Cats will host Fremantle at Kardinia Park.