Hawks switch to cruise mode

Monday, May 13

GEELONG was saved from a humiliating defeat on Saturday. Instead it was just beaten badly by a Hawthorn side that in the last quarter coasted to a 52-point victory.

It could have been so much more.

Hawthorn had the game wrapped up midway through the third quarter, affording coach Peter Schwab the luxury of resting his dominant players up forward in the last to give a handful of inexperienced players game time in the centre.

``We put all our young players into the midfield because we thought they needed the experience of match time in that area of the ground,'' Schwab said.

``We rested Shane (Crawford) forward and Angelo Lekkas went forward and Daniel Harford went forward.

``We changed the make-up of the side purely to give experience to those young players. I thought they did well, but that meant Geelong probably were able to match us then.''

It was cold comfort for Geelong coach Mark Thompson.

Upbeat last week after being beaten by Brisbane by 57 points, there was no such sentiment after Saturday's game.

``I don't think we'll get too much out of today as far as a learning experience,'' he said.

``I thought today was pretty disappointing.''

Hawthorn got the jump on Geelong in the first quarter with its midfield and forwards well on top.

Ben Dixon was proving to slick for Brenton Sanderson; Holland was too strong for Daniel Foster and John Barker had the better of Tom Harley. Matthew Scarlett was Geelong's only real defensive winner, keeping Daniel Chick quiet.

By the first change the Hawks had opened up a 31-point lead.

But like last week against Brisbane, Geelong clawed its way back into the game and by the 19-minute mark of the second quarter had cut the margin to two points.

It was enough to scare Hawthorn into a four goal burst in the final 10 minutes to push the lead back out to 26 points.

``The four goals late in the second quarter really hurt us. It's just a bit of inexperience,'' Thompson said.

If Thompson thought the final 10 minutes of the second quarter was bad, the third was worse with the Cats managing just one goal, a Stephen King snap out of a ruck contest at the 19-minute mark. The Hawks managed six goals for the quarter.

``I didn't think our third quarter was too good,'' Thompson said

Kent Kingsley was again a shining light on Geelong's forward line, booting five goals for the game.

Gary Ablett was a major catalyst in the Cats second quarter fightback, having a hand in several goals with clever and quick handball.

``I just think across the board we were pretty flat,'' Thompson said.

``I thought (Stephen) King was pretty good, Joel Corey and Jarad Rooke was reasonable and Kent Kingsley forward.

``(Matthew) Scarlett was good too but apart from that most of the other boys . . . there's room for improvement.''