Cats Try To Claw Their Way To Ten Straight

Image courtesy of the Herald Sun
Tom Hawkins kicked six goals the last time these teams met. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Last 5 Matches

Round 19, 2012 – Geelong Cats 118 d Hawthorn Hawks 116
Round 2, 2012 – Geelong Cats 92 d Hawthorn Hawks 90
Qualifying Final, 2011 – Geelong Cats 98 d Hawthorn Hawks 67
Round 12, 2011 – Geelong Cats 88 d Hawthorn Hawks 83
Round 5, 2011 – Geelong Cats 117 d Hawthorn Hawks 98


It started in the 1989 grand final to end all grand finals, stepped up a gear in the 2008 decider, and now Geelong and Hawthorn continue to play out the greatest rivalry of the modern era. The tightness of their contests in recent times has been almost unbelievable; seven of their last nine clashes have been decided by less than ten points . What is more astonishing, though, is that despite the fact almost nothing has separated the teams, Geelong has still managed to grab the victory nine straight times against the Hawks.

The Cats will be missing James Kelly and Steve Johnson due to suspension, although the latter had minor surgery on his left knee this week and won’t be back for a couple of weeks. Geelong’s ruck brigade has been decimated with recruit Hamish McIntosh and Trent West both struggling with knee injuries. Josh Walker/Mark Blicavs

Hawthorn injury list



Key Men

(Hawks) Grant Birchall – When Matt Suckling fell to the ground in pain after blowing out his knee in the NAB Cup, Hawthorn’s defence lost its best attacking weapon. A lot of Hawthorn’s rebound from the back half will now fall on the owner of another penetrating left-foot kick, Grant Birchall. His pinpoint delivery from half-back will be crucial if Hawthorn is to play its retention-based game and move the ball quickly.

(Cats) Tom Hawkins – Geelong’s full forward probably came of age in the 2011 grand final, but last year was the first time he stamped his dominance on an entire season. He won the Cats’ Best and Fairest ahead of Joel Selwood – a feat in itself given his campaign – and easily kicked a career-high 62 goals in 2012. He destroyed the Hawks with six goals, including the booming game-winner, in round 19, and providing he has his kicking boots on, he could well be the difference again.


Prediction

Hawthorn’s attack was just phenomenal last year averaging over 120 points per game, but they weren’t exactly quick out of the blocks losing three of their first five games, and in those matches the Hawks were held under 100 points on each occasion. One of those matches was the 92-90 loss to Geelong. Conversely, the Cats were the only team to beat Hawthorn when they scored over 100 points when they beat their rivals by two points, again, in round 19. This match is a toss of the coin but the Cats may have the mental edge and more fit bodies on the park at the end of the game. Cats by 9 points

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