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Janet Linn, reporting for AFANA from Melbourne, Australia

A traditional rivalry began the 2014 Finals series with Hawthorn and Geelong meeting in the First Qualifying Final at the MCG. This was a match up that promised everything and, in front of almost 75,000 excited fans, it delivered on that promise early with a torrid opening quarter of hard physical contests, wayward kicks, nervous fumbles and both teams taking the game on at full throttle.

Geelong’s Joel Selwood, an increasing favorite to win the Brownlow Medal, scored the first goal after a terrific intercept and composed kick through the big sticks. An excellent grab by young Josh Walker which he passed in turn to Jimmy Bartel, a Finals’ veteran, and the Cats had the first two. The Cats’ start looked ominous but the Hawks wrested back control and mounted strong attacks through Jarryd Roughead and Jordan Lewis, each kicking a goal, to bring the game back to an even keel. With the Hawks' defenders double-teaming danger forward Tom Hawkins, they turned defense into attack time after time and the Hawks converted again through Paul Puopolo, to take a nine point lead into the quarter time break.

Geelong started well in the second quarter and had two quick goals on the board, again through Bartel and Selwood. The Hawks steadied and Sam Mitchell took control of the midfield. Goals to Isaac Smith, Puopolo and Jack Gunston took Hawthorn out to a handy 14 point lead. Geelong refused to give in and a late goal to Jordan Murdoch followed by a terrific goal after the siren by a composed Walker sent the rivals into half-time with 41 points apiece and a guaranteed corker of a second half.

After a high standard first half which displayed all that is great about Aussie Rules football, the third term saw the Hawks surge out to a 14 point lead with outstanding attacking play from Brad Hill who was running riot and Gunston whose speed and accuracy up forward was hurting the Cats.

It would take something special to turn the tide of the match in the last quarter. The first goal went the Hawks' way through the skilful Luke Breust and Geelong looked doomed. However some desperate work by Bartel and Selwood gave Mark Blicavs an opportunity close to goal and the big man delivered, reducing the margin to 14 points again. Unfortunately the Hawks had plenty of gas left in the tank and they finished all over a tired-looking Cats’ outfit. A goal to Roughead and two to Lewis sealed the deal and made a Hawthorn victory a certainty. Although Steve Johnson scored a late goal, it was a demoralizing loss for the Cats and illustrated clearly that if the opposition can find a way to shut down Tom Hawkins, then Geelong find it hard to kick a winning score.

It appears that the Hawks have well and truly broken through the so-called curse which has seen Geelong dominate their encounters over the past six or so seasons. The Hawks earn a week’s rest and a berth in a Preliminary Final against the winner of next week’s clash between Fremantle and Port Adelaide.

Geelong has a second chance and will meet North Melbourne in the Semi-Final, with the winner advancing to play in a Preliminary Final against Sydney in Week 3.

Scoreboard
Hawthorn: 3.4 6.5 10.8 15.14 (104)
Geelong:  2.1 6.5  8.6 10.8   (68)

Best players
Hawthorn: Hill, Mitchell, Burgoyne, Gunston, Lewis
Geelong:  Selwood, Lonergan, Horlin-Smith, Bartel

Article last changed on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 4:15 PM EDT


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