AFL Finals Match Preview: QF2, Geelong v Hawthorn

Photo courtesy of AFL Photos

OK, you share one post on Reddit and look what happens:

you share one post on reddit.pngAnyway, you all enjoyed this, so I’m writing another one, for what some people are trying to argue is the greatest rivalry of all time, in any sport, ever: Hawthorn v Geelong.

The Basics

  • Who: Geelong Cats v Hawthorn Hawks
  • Where: Melbourne Cricket Ground
  • When: 7.50pm tonight
  • This year: GEEL 18.8 (116) d HAW 12.14 (86), R1, MCG
  • Winner gets: A preliminary final against one of Sydney, the Giants, Adelaide, or North Melbourne.
  • Loser gets: A semi final against the Bulldogs
  • Watch it on: Seven
  • Listen to it on: Triple M, 3AW, SEN, ABC



  • FB: Enright, Lonergan, Ruggles
  • HB: Kolodjashnij, Taylor, Mackie
  • C: Guthrie, J Selwood, Bartel
  • HF: Menegola, Stanley, Menzel
  • FF: Motlop, Hawkins, McCarthy
  • FOL: Smith, Dangerfield, Duncan
  • INT: Blicavs, Caddy, Cowan, S Selwood
  • In: S Selwood
  • Out: Bews (Omitted)


  • FB: Duryea, Frawley, Burgoyne
  • HB: Hodge, Gibson, Birchall
  • C: Smith, Mitchell, Hill
  • HF: Bruest, Gunston, Rioli
  • FF: Puopolo, Fitzpatrick, Schoenmakers1
  • FOL: McEvoy, Lewis, Shiels
  • INT: Stratton, Whitecross, Sicily, Burton
  • In: McEvoy, Stratton
  • Out: Pittonet, Hartung (Omitted)

Mildly Relevant Statistics

  • Hawthorn finished 1st in 2013, 2nd in 2014, and 3rd in 2015. They broke the streak this year.
  • 118.56% is Hawthorn’s worst percentage since 2010.
  • Hawthorn and Geelong are the only two teams with a 10-1 winning record at home this year.
  • Hawthorn is the only team Geelong doesn’t have 25 or more wins against from their last 50 games. If they win tonight, it will become 25-25.
  • This would be Geelong’s 51st finals victory tonight, or Hawthorn’s 54th.
  • Geelong was the second last of the VFL foundation clubs to win a premiership, behind St Kilda.
  • It took Hawthorn until their 33rd season to make the finals.
  • Geelong were formerly known of as the Pivotonians before they were the Cats, and Hawthorn were called the Mayblooms. #AFLPivotoniansMayblooms

More Relevant Statistics

  • Last 10 Against Each Other: Geelong 5, Hawthorn 5
  • Last 10 At MCG:
  • Form: Geelong WWWWW, Hawthorn WLWLW
  • Record v Top 8: Geelong 8-2, Hawthorn 6-4

Finals Against Each Other

  • 1963 Semi Final: Geelong 14.17.101 (F Wooler 4 goals, D Wade 3 goals) d Hawthorn 11.16.82 (K Coverdale 3 goals, G Young 3 goals)
  • 1963 Grand Final: Geelong 15.19.109 (G Hynes 3 goals, F Wooller 3 goals) d Hawthorn 8.12.60 (J Peck 3 goals, 5 individual goalscorers)
  • 1989 Grand Final: Hawthorn 21.18.144 (G Buckenara 20 disposals, J Dunstall 4 goals) d Geelong 21.12.138 (A Bews 27 disposals, G Ablett Sr 9 goals)
  • 1991 Semi Final: Hawthorn 13.17.95 (A Gowers 24 disposals, J Dunstall 3 goals d Geelong 13.15.93 (M Bairstow 30 goals, M Neeld 3 goals)
  • 2000 Elimination Final: Hawthorn 14.8.92 (T Woods 29 disposals, J Barker 4 goals) d Geelong 12.11.83 (G Hocking 25 disposals, multiple players 2 goals)
  • 2008 Grand Final: Hawthorn 11.7.115 (X Ellis 28 disposals, M Williams 3 goals) d Geelong 11.23.89 (G Ablett Jr 34 disposals, C Mooney 2 goals)
  • 2011 Qualifying Final: Geelong 14.14.98 (S Johnson 27 disposals, J Podsiadly 3 goals) d Hawthorn 9.13.67 (G Birchall 27 disposals, L Franklin 4 goals)
  • 2013 Preliminary Final: Hawthorn 14.18.102 (S Mitchell 38 disposals, J Gunston 4 goals) d Geelong 15.7.97 (S Johnson 32 disposals, 4 goals)
  • 2014 Qualifying Final: Hawthorn 15.14.104 (S Mitchell 36 disposals, J Gunston 3 goals) d Geelong 10.8.68 (J Selwood 31 disp, 3 goals)

Match Preview

Signs forecast absolute craploads of rain, and if you’ve stepped outside, you can tell that it’s going to be a wet game. While it’s true Cats don’t like water, Hawks are birds, and birds aren’t fans of it either2.

We all know about Hawthorn’s attacking prowess. Jack Fitzpatrick looks to be the weakest link in Hawthorn’s attacking 50, but when you have Luke Bruest, Jack Gunston, Cyril Rioli, Paul Puopolo, and Ryan Schoenmakers in the same forward 50, you’ll be able to score pretty easily.

Geelong, however, does have pretty good defense. Corey Enright, Tom Lonergan, Andrew Mackie, and Harry Taylor are all experienced players and have previously proved that they are able to shut down most forwards. Jake Kolodjashnij is a rising star, but him and Ruggles won’t quite be able to contribute enough, so I think Hawthorn will win this matchup.

Over to the other end of the field. Tom Hawkins is a gun, but he probably needs more support. Rhys Stanley, Daniel Menzel, and Stephen Motlop are all handy players, but Lincoln McCarthy and Sam Menegola are the question marks from my point of view.

Who does Hawthorn have to stop them? Luke Hodge, when he’s not smashing people’s heads into posts, is a gun defender, and is coupled with Josh Gibson, Grant Birchall, and Shaun Burgoyne, all of whom have been proven to be capable of putting a shutter on nearly all attackers. This area, again, should be a narrow Hawthorn victory.

Into the midfield, and Geelong will need to pull out something special to win this. And they have someone, who is, by anyone’s standards, a danger on the field. He ripped Hawthorn to shreds in Round 1, and when coupled with Joel Selwood, Jimmy Bartel, Mitch Duncan, and Cameron Guthrie, is a near-unstoppable midfield force of domination.

Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis, and Liam Shiels are the main players at the head of Hawthorn’s midfield arsenal. Mitchell and Lewis are old, experienced heads, and Shiels is a young person ready to take the mantle when they retire (any minute now). Isaac Smith and Bradley Hill will provide some much-needed midfield speed, and Ben McEvoy should beat Zac Smith in the ruck, but Dangerfield’s brigade probably have enough firepower to outdo Hawthorn.

What The Numbers Say

Using the numbers, there is a 52.9% chance that the match will go the way of Geelong, however, since the figures are within 5%, I’d probably hold off betting the house on this. (In fact, unless it’s about 95%+, don’t bet the house on anything.)

What I Say

Hawthorn have been far from convincing, but those buggers always find a way to win in September/October. West Coast showed it could be done, though, and Geelong’s arguably in better shape than the Eagles. It’ll be tight, but Geelong by 9.

1It’s his 100th game tonight. Well done, Ryan.
2Am I going to link to a webcomic in every match preview? Signs point to yes.


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