AFL ROUND 4 2007: HAWKS IN A CANTER;
CATS THROW AWAY CHANCE TO WIN WITH POOR THIRD QUARTER
By Ben Jensen GEELONG's poor use of the wind in the third quarter effectively cost them to match, Hawthorn winning by just four points in front of 17,120 at Launceston's Aurora Stadium. It was a fairly unattractive, defensive game punctuated by confusing umpiring rulings, particularly with holding the ball decisions, both sides struggled to kick goals and were forced to concede twelve rushed behinds between them.
GEELONG overused the ball and missed shots at goal but hold a three goal lead at quarter time. Buckets to Foxtel for not only missing the start of the game, but having no sound for the first ten minutes.
HAWTHORN 0.3 (3) 4.7 (31) 8.9
(57) 10.16 (76) DEFEATED
Former skipper Steven King, playing his second match in Tasmania after last week's big win in the VFL side, had a shocker. He handballed directly to fellow former captain in Hawthorn's Shane Crawford to hand Hawthorn back the lead early in the last quarter.
Jimmy Bartel was Geelong's best, along with Cameron Ling. Bartel contributed at all parts of the ground while Ling kept dangerous Hawk Sam Mitchell to just 13 possessions and picked up 22 himself. Corey Enright was good but was kept busy all day.
James Kelly and Matthew Stokes have been valuable inclusions since returning from suspension, each getting plenty of the ball, Kelly more so than Stokes, and kicking two goals each. Stokes had a chance to win the match off his own boot in the final minutes but could managed only a behind.
For Hawthorn it was Crawford in the final quarter who really stepped up, and forward Mark Williams who helped cement the win. Williams wasn't prominent but kicked goals his teammates and opponents were missing. Clinton Young had plenty of zip and his play in the third quarter could also be rightly credited with winning the game.
Brent Guerra was a thorn in Geelong's side from the first bounce, playing mostly unmarked in the back half, teaming well with Young and Hawthorn's most valuable player in former Geelong Falcon Luke Hodge. Hodge and Guerra were able to chip the ball to each other with impunity all day, no less than the final five minutes of the third and fourth quarters.
Geelong's key forwards, indeed all tall forwards bar Hawk Lance 'Buddy' Franklin, had minimal influence on the game. Nathan Ablett setup a few goals but didn't kick any himself, finishing with just two behinds to his name, as did Cameron Mooney. Tom Hawkins took a couple marks but didn't trouble the scorers, and his field kicking continued to let him down.
Andrew Mackie played in defence again and played well when the Cats had the ball but will get exposed against more nimble or bulkier opponants. Josh Hunt won't win over too many fans with a few poor decisions but should retain his place.
The Cats had the wind in the first quarter but didn't really make the most of it, finishing with three goals three behinds to the Hawks' three behinds.
As expected, the Hawks made the most of the wind in the second quarter, kicking four goals to Geelong's one, leaving the Cats with a one point lead at half time.
Gary Ablett Junior sent shockwaves through Geelong fans and Herald Sun Supercoach players alike, limping from the field with an apparent knee injury early in the second quarter. But the injury was diagnosed as a calf strain, and Ablett returned to the field late in the quarter, kicking one goal and missing another.
In the third quarter the Hawks had a virtual win, equalising the Cats' four goals and with the wind in the final term, would be confident of overrunning Geelong's four point lead.
And that they did; Hawthorn kicked two goals to one in the final term and held off several Geelong forward sorties to win by four points.
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