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|7.10 (52)||Third Quarter [+]||10.11 (71)|
|5.5 (35)||Second Quarter [+]||8.10 (58)|
|2.2 (14)||First Quarter [+]||4.1 (25)|
Hawthorn have comprehensively beaten Geelong at the MCG by 24 points to celebrate Liam Shiels’ 200th game.
It was Alastair Clarkson at his best today, as the Hawks put on a tactical masterclass against the Cats and controlled the match from start to finish.
Their defensive structure gave Geelong little in terms of moving the ball forward from the back half and forced Chris Scott’s side to consistently kick the ball to dangerous contests.
From there, the Hawks moved the ball well and sneaked in behind the Geelong back six with ease, to capitalise on the chances they were given.
It was as obvious as the nose on your face yet apparently too difficult for Scott to combat, as he changed little throughout the afternoon.
The Cats’ stars had little impact, with Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood, Tim Kelly and Gary Ablett failing to prove decisive, instead it was Shiels and Mitchell Lewis who starred for the Hawks in the front half.
Ben McEvoy was outstanding in the ruck and Jaeger O’Meara was excellent through the middle of the field.
The Cats did have chances to tighten things up in the third quarter yet appalling set shots let them down, with three misses in two minutes holding them back.
Once again the question will be asked in regards to their play at the MCG. They seem to be able to manage the narrow confines of GMHBA Stadium yet once on the wide expanses of the MCG, struggle to control the game in their back half.
Geelong Cats 8.11.61
Hawthorn Hawks 12.13.85
Geelong and Hawthorn face off at the MCG in a must win clash for the Hawks. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 1:10pm (AEST).
No matter where the Cats and the Hawks sit on the AFL ladder, they normally find each others’ level when they meet in what has become one of the modern games greatest rivalries.
Jack Gunston comes back into the Hawthorn side for this match and the importance of that inclusion cannot be underestimated, with Alastair Clarkson’s men a chance to move to within just one win of the eight.
Off the back of two solid wins against Fremantle and Collingwood, the signs suggest that they will give Geelong a considerable run for their money, on a ground that suits the Hawks far more than their opponents.
If this match was being played down the highway in Geelong, the ladder leaders may be instilled as firm favourites to win.
The bookies may still believe that to be the case, however, the venue does provide a great leveller in the first of the Sunday matches of Round 18.
The Cats entered the round two games clear at the head of the ladder and with a side relatively unscathed by injury.
Recent losses to the Bulldogs and Port Adelaide have been concerning. Wins against St Kilda and Adelaide have allowed them to remain well clear of the gaggle of teams fighting for second place, yet Chris Scott will demand a strong performance today as the finals loom ever closer.
The midfield stars of the Cats are all there, however it is in the back half where they may have the deciding say in this match today.
Zach Tuohy, Tom Stewart and Harry Taylor have been superb for the Cats in 2019 and are potentially their greatest strength when playing at the narrow GMHBA Stadium.
On the MCG today, the Hawks will look to use the wide expanses, possess the ball heavily and deny Geelong the same opportunity. It should be another classic encounter.
The Cats have been wobbly of late and this might just be a final stand for the Hawks in 2019.
They can win today on a ground they play far better than Geelong and with the mastermind in the box, could very well construct a game plan that baffles Scott and his assistants.
Hawthorn by 8 points.
Catch all the action on The Roar live coverage from 1:10pm (AEST).
Where: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
When: Saturday 21st July 2019, 1:10pm (AEST)
TV: Fox Footy, Kayo Sports, AFL app
Betting: Geelong $1.40 Hawthorn $2.90
B: Tuohy, Taylor, Bews
HB: Duncan, Blicavs, Stewart
C: Miers, Kelly, Dangerfield
HF: Dahlhaus, Ratugolea, Rohan
F: Ablett, Hawkins, Guthrie
FOLL: Stanley, O’Connor, J. Selwood
I/C: Clark, Atkins, Kolodjashnij, Parsons
EMG: Smith, Henry, S.Selwood, Simpson
B: O’Brien, Frawley, Impey
HB: Burgoyne, Sicily, Hardwick
C: Scully, Worpel, Henderson
HF: Breust, Wingard, Puopolo
F: Hanrahan, Lewis, Gunson
FOLL: McEvoy, O’Meara, Shiels
I/C: Birchall, Stratton, Smith, Nash
EMG: Ceglar, Cousins, Howe, Minchington