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Hawthorn Hawks vs Geelong FC live
Australian Football League 2013
Stadium : MCG Stadium, Melbourne
HEAD TO HEAD: Played: 152, Hawthorn 67, Geelong 84, Drawn 1
LAST TIME: Geelong 11.16 (82) def Hawthorn 10.12 (72), Round 15, 2013
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If not now, then when? That is the question that will be on the minds of Hawthorn supporters as they flood to the MCG for Friday night’s preliminary final showdown with Geelong. The Hawks are rested, in form, and have a full complement of stars at their disposal, including the returning Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli. The Cats have been patchy in the finals, will be without long-time Hawthorn destroyers Paul Chapman and Corey Enright, and have key forward Tom Hawkins dealing with a dodgy back. But the men from Kardinia Park always find something special when facing Hawthorn, and as much as the minor premiers deserve their favouritism, a 12th straight win for Chris Scott’s men would not surprise. Either way, it’s destined to be another classic.LAST FIVE MEETINGS
R15, 2013, Geelong 11.16 (82) d Hawthorn 10.12 (72) at the MCG
R1, 2013, Geelong 13.15 (93) d Hawthorn 12.14 (86) at the MCG
R19, 2012, Geelong 18.10 (118) d Hawthorn 17.14 (116) at the MCG
R2, 2012, Geelong 14.8 (92) d Hawthorn 13.12 (90) at the MCG
QF, 2011, Geelong 14.14 (98) d Hawthorn 9.13 (67) at the MCG
Round one at the MCG: Geelong 13.15 (93) d Hawthorn 12.14 (86)
The Cats entered their Easter Monday season opener without stars James Kelly and Steve Johnson (both suspended), and found themselves five goals down 24 minutes into the second quarter. But they fought back with the next six goals of the game, opening a 21-point break, and then held off a late Hawthorn charge to win by seven. Joel Selwood had 33 disposals, while Chapman added 25 and a goal. Sam Mitchell had 37 touches in a losing team.
Round 15 at the MCG: Geelong 11.16 (82) d Hawthorn 10.12 (72)
Hawthorn hadn’t lost since its last game against Geelong, reeling off an equal club record 12-game winning streak in the meantime. But once again, all that winning form counted for little against the Cats. This time, Scott’s team led for almost the entire match, holding off a fourth-quarter fightback that saw the Hawks draw to within three points late in the game. Youngster Jordan Murdoch booted three last-quarter goals for Geelong, including the sealer at the 26-minute mark.
Lance Franklin v Tom Lonergan: Franklin has been quiet against Geelong in the past two seasons, booting a combined five goals in three appearances. A large slice of the credit for that can go to Lonergan, who has performed brilliantly on the four-time All Australian with help in the air from teammates such as Harry Taylor. The Hawks will be hoping they can make the superstar’s life easier with some clean delivery forward, while also trying to stretch the Cats’ defence by spreading the load across several goal-kickers.
Tom Hawkins v Brian Lake: This is almost the exact scenario for which Hawthorn recruited Lake. The club has had its past struggles against key forwards in big games, none more painfully felt than when Hawkins kicked six, including the after-the-siren match-winner, in round 19 last year. Lake accounted for Kurt Tippett in the qualifying final win over the Sydney Swans, and another similar performance against Hawkins, who is battling a sore back, will go a long way towards a brown and gold victory.
Brendan Whitecross/Paul Puopolo v Andrew Mackie: Geelong has cut Hawthorn to pieces with its rebound from defence in the past, and with Enright out, Mackie will be a central figure in trying to repeat that on Friday night. Hence, it wouldn’t surprise to see Alastair Clarkson deploy a defensive forward to the All Australian’s side, with Whitecross and Puopolo the chief candidates.
Hawthorn – Cyril Rioli: The electric small forward has not played in nearly four weeks thanks to an ankle injury, and there will be questions over his match fitness after such a spell. But provided he is fit, Rioli could be the spark that ignites a Hawthorn victory.
Geelong – James Podsiadly: The big forward has struggled to make an impact this season, and he was right off the boil against Port Adelaide last weekend. Picked up by Power backman Jackson Trengove, he gathered just five disposals, took only three marks and failed to kick a goal. But he has a habit of standing up and being counted against Hawthorn. He booted six goals against the Hawks in 2011 and bagged five against them early in 2012.
Hawthorn – skipper Luke Hodge has spent much of his time in defence recently and performed brilliantly, but if the Cats get on top in the centre square, he’ll be the man to go in and try to make a difference. Sam Mitchell and Shaun Burgoyne are others who can switch between the two positions, depending on match-ups and momentum. In general, Clarkson’s team is a difficult one for opponents to plan for, because players’ roles change from week to week and quarter to quarter.
Geelong – Podsiadly and Taylor have been regularly swapping positions this season during games, although Podsiadly usually spends the bulk of his time up forward and Taylor’s No. 1 role remains as a key defender. But if Podsiadly fails to fire, coach Scott will be tempted to send him down back onto Jarryd Roughead and leave him there. That would allow Taylor to spend a significant amount of time up forward where he might be able to worry the Hawthorn defence.
THE SIX POINTS
1. The Cats’ 11 straight wins over the Hawks since the 2008 Grand Final have included nine games decided by less than two goals, with five by less than a goal, including three by two points and one by one point.
2. In matches between the teams at the MCG, Geelong has had the better of Hawthorn, winning 14 games to four. However, the Hawks have a slight edge in head-to-head finals, winning four games to three, including two of three Grand Finals. This will be the first time the teams have faced off in a preliminary final.
3. Hawthorn will be playing in its 74th finals match. It’s win-loss record stands at 45-28. It will be aiming for consecutive Grand Final appearances for the first time since 1988-89. The Cats have played 110 finals for 50 wins, 59 losses and one draw. They have now won at least one final in six of the past seven seasons.
4. Hawthorn has played in 12 previous preliminary finals for six wins. The Hawks’ two most recent preliminary finals have gone down to the wire, having been decided by three and five points. Further, four of their last five preliminary finals, dating back to 1987, have been decided by single figures. Geelong will be playing in its 28th preliminary final. Its record stands at 12 wins, 14 losses and one draw. The Cats have won four of five preliminary finals since 2007.
5. If Geelong wins, it will become the first top-four team since West Coast in 2006 to lose its first final and then win through to the Grand Final. If Hawthorn loses, it will be the first minor premier since Adelaide in 2005 to fail to reach the Grand Final.
6. Between them, the Hawks and Cats have five of the AFL’s top 10 defenders according to the Official AFL Player ratings. Injured Geelong star Enright tops the bill at No.2, while teammate Taylor is No.3 and Hawk Shaun Burgoyne No.6, followed by Grant Birchall and Josh Gibson at nine and 10.
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