Geelong beat Hawthorn 92-90 in round 2. Source: Getty Images/theaustralian.com.au
Comprehensive wins over Collingwood and Essendon in the past fortnight have seen Hawthorn extend their winning run to eight matches, but they face the biggest test of their resurgence against Geelong at the MCG on Friday night. The reigning premiers have beaten top eight sides Essendon and Adelaide in the past two rounds to get their campaign back on track and will take a strong record against the Hawks into this clash. They have won on the past eight occasions that these teams have met.
Lance Franklin remains sidelined for Hawthorn with a hamstring injury but there are more injury concerns for Geelong. In-form midfielder Joel Corey has been ruled out after straining his hamstring against the Crows on Saturday, while Steve Johnson is in doubt following the much publicised bump from Scott Thompson that left him concussed. They will be boosted by the return on key forward James Podsiadly from an ankle injury however.
Where It Will be Won
– In the absence of Lance Franklin, Hawthorn haven’t had any shortage of goalkickers with five different players kick four collecting a haul of four or more goals in the past three weeks. The Hawks can obviously kick a big score but will also be wary of the threat posed by Tom Hawkins and James Podsiadly for Geelong. Hawkins has been in ominous form lately, while Podsiadly was the match winner last time these sides met, scoring three final quarter goals to seal a narrow win for his team.
– While the loss of Joel Corey is a huge blow for the Cats, it is not an insurmountable one. Geelong appears to be hitting its straps at the right time of the year and they will certainly test Hawthorn. There is not as much in this match as the betting would suggest. Either Team Under 11.5 Points
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