I HATE Hawthorn. There, I said it.
With a team full of thugs and snipers like Jordan Lewis and Sam Mitchell, and an angry little man with an angry little head running the show, there’s not much to like.
Their jumper is horrible, their song is offensive on the ears, and their supporters are nothing more than Collingwood fans with a private school education.
But goddamnit they’re good.
The angry little man is the finest coach of the past 20 years, Lewis and Mitchell are part of one of the most brutal and terrifying midfields we’ve ever seen and – well – their song isn’t actually half bad.
Friday night brings us another page in this can’t-put-it-down masterpiece, after the preceding chapters thrilled us, brought us to tears, and had us accidentally smashing the TV remote when Travis Varcoe missed an absolute sitter.
We can’t wait for another intense and hard fought cracker between two of the greatest teams of the modern era, as Cats and Hawks fans come together to begrudgingly admire each other’s grace, skill, bravery and brilliance.
But for fuck’s sake Geelong…please win.
ROUND 17, 2008: Geelong (12.16.88) defeated Hawthorn (11.11.77)
— MOST people would agree the rivalry started after the 2008 Grand Final, but this game was the tantalising prologue.
Excluding the bizarre outlier of Collingwood’s 86-point belting of Geelong in Round 9, up until the Hawks game no other team had really looked like challenging the Cats for the flag.
Their plucky 11-point loss gave them belief that they could cause a boilover in September, as Lewis and Mitchell wreaked havoc in the middle with 30 and 33 touches respectively, while Stevie Johnson’s three goals proved the difference for the Cats.
GRAND FINAL, 2008: Hawthorn (18.7.115) defeated Geelong (11.23.89)
— “THAT’S what I’m talking about!” still haunts my dreams.
That and unseasonably hot days in September. And rushed behinds. And Stewie Dew.
After the incredible drought-breaking high of 2007, 2008 was the comedown that the dealer doesn’t warn you about.
Dew attacked the Cats like they were a 12-piece Colonel’s bucket as the Hawks rushed the ball over the line at every opportunity. The tactic was so brilliant that it led to a rule change in 2009, and essentially won the premiership for the Hawks.
Four Geelong players had more disposals than Hawthorn’s best (Xavier Ellis with 28), but it wasn’t enough to snag that elusive back-to-back flag.
ROUND 1, 2009: Geelong (15.21.111) defeated Hawthorn (16.7.103)
— AS I walked from the MCG minding my own business on this chilly Friday night, a Hawthorn fan with shit hair and pointy white shoes approached me.
“Well done on the win tonight mate,” he said quite politely with an outstretched hand.
I took his hand and shook.
“We’ll see how you do in September when it matters dickhead.”
And henceforth my beef with Hawthorn supporters was fully roasted.
Hawthorn would go on to miss the finals altogether, while Geelong would win its second premiership in three years.
Who’s the dickhead now, dickhead?
ROUND 17, 2009: Geelong (15.9.99) defeated Hawthorn (14.14.98)
— THERE’S only one thing sweeter than beating Hawthorn by a point – beating them by a point after the siren.
Jimmy Bartel’s behind not only ended one of the most intense and see-sawing battles these two teams have ever played, but it almost completely ended any hope the Hawks had of playing finals.
ROUND 2, 2010: Geelong (14.16.100) defeated Hawthorn (13.13.91)
— JUST another standard Cats v Hawks Easter Monday clash.
The game was decided by less than 10 points, Sam Mitchell had 30 touches, Gary Ablett had almost 40, and the Cats won.
To be fair, this was one of the weaker Hawthorn sides, with names like Rhan Hooper, Jarryd Morton, Carl Peterson and Brent Renouf making up the numbers.
ROUND 15, 2010: Geelong (12.13.85) defeated Hawthorn (11.17.83)
— CLINTON Young had a chance to ice the game in the last seconds with a running shot from 35m out.
He sprayed it, and the Hawks lost their fourth game in a row to the Cats by less than 10 points.
Mathew Stokes was handed the three Brownlow votes for his four goals and 22 disposals, while Cyril Rioli was Hawthorn’s best with 28 touches.
ROUND 12, 2011: Geelong (13.10.88) defeated Hawthorn (13.5.83)
— HAVING broken with tradition earlier in the season by beating Hawthorn by more than 10 points on Easter Monday, the Cats went back on script for this classic.
James Podsiadly had five goals before half-time while Buddy Franklin did his thing at the other end with four goals.
The Cats were most likely saved by a season-ending achilles injury to everyone’s favourite Hawk, Jarryd Roughead, in the third quarter.
QUALIFYING FINAL, 2011: Geelong (14.14.98) defeated Hawthorn (9.13.67)
— HAWKS fans talk about Geelong not beating them when it matters, but this one mattered.
The 31-point win sent the Cats straight through to an MCG preliminary final against a lucky-to-be-there West Coast team, while the Hawks had to take the hard road, playing Sydney in a semi before being worn down by Collingwood in a prelim to lose by three points.
The difficult nature of that match also had an effect on the Magpies, as they ran out of legs in the Grand Final to let Geelong steamroll its way to a third flag in five years.
The Qualifying Final was also notable as the first of four times that Daniel Menzel did his knee. This Friday’s final will be his first final since that night. It will also be five years to the day that he played that fateful game.
ROUND 2, 2012: Geelong (14.8.92) defeated Hawthorn (13.12.90)
— DOWN by three goals at three-quarter time, the Cats managed to hold the Hawks goalless in the final quarter to sneak home with a two-point Easter Monday win.
The sixth Cats win by less than 10 points since the 2008 Grand Final, Podsiadly continued his love affair with the Hawks with another five sausage rolls.
Sam Mitchell had 30 touches. Again.
ROUND 19, 2012: Geelong (18.10.118) defeated Hawthorn (17.14.116)
— ONE of those rare moments where the sequel was better than the original.
The Cats again won by two points, but this time it was thanks to a Tom Hawkins goal after the siren.
Hawthorn looked like they had it in the bag before Paul Puopolo tried a flying ninja kick at goal from the forward pocket that landed in Andrew Mackie’s arms.
Mackie got it to Stevie J at half back, who made a ballsy pass to Joel Selwood in the guts, who then hit Hawkins on the chest to set him up with the shot from just outside 50m.
Dennis Cometti was so excited that he made a rare stuff up, commenting that “they’ve did it again Geelong” before correcting himself and offering the brilliant “the Cat is still on the back”.
ROUND 1, 2013: Geelong (13.15.93) defeated Hawthorn (12.14.86)
— OH look. Another Easter Monday game. Another Cats win by less than 10 points.
Sam Mitchell had 30 touches, Buddy kicked goals, Stokes played well. You couldn’t help but think the script was due to change…
ROUND 15, 2013: Geelong (11.16.82) defeated Hawthorn (10.12.72)
— BUT the script wasn’t ready.
The Cats had one more up their sleeve to take the streak to 10, nine of which were settled by 10 points or less.
Mitchell had 36 touches, Selwood had 34, while Jordan Murdoch was Geelong’s only multiple goalkicker with three.
PRELIMINARY FINAL, 2013: Hawthorn (14.18.102) defeated Geelong (15.7.97)
— “LIFE’S a piece of shit, when you look at it…”
Honestly though, it was hard to look on the bright side of this one.
The Hawks ended their losing streak in style, reeling in a Geelong team which had led by 20 points at three-quarter time.
Travis Varcoe missed a sitter that would have almost iced the game, while Shaun Burgoyne’s three goals – including the sealer – was enough to put the Hawks through to their second Grand Final in two years.
We don’t talk about the bad things that happened after that…
ROUND 1, 2016: Geelong (18.8.116) defeated Hawthorn (12.14.86)
— INSTEAD we skip to Easter Monday this year, and the Highway to the Danger Zone.
Having gone 1-5 against the Hawks through 2014-2015, the Cats (hopefully) announced a new era of domination over Hawthorn as Patrick Dangerfield pulled on the hoops and had 43 disposals and one of the best club debuts we’ve ever seen.
While it made Cats supporters spark up for the first time in two seasons, the fact that the Hawks had the same amount of scoring shots means this Cats supporter will likely lay down a pineapple on the Hawks on Friday so I at least have something to look forward to at the end of the game.
Oh, and Sam Mitchell had 30+ touches.