Hawks won't be underdone: Cats coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hawks won't be underdone: Cats coach

By Roger Vaughan 25/03/2009 06:26:00 PM Comments (0)

Geelong have fired their own shot at Hawthorn as the hype builds for Friday night's AFL grand final rematch.

Cats coach Mark Thompson says the popular belief that the Hawks will be underdone for the match looms as a potential "ambush" for the Cats and he is certain the reigning premiers will be ready.

It is the latest public comment in this intriguing off-season cold war between the two clubs, a rivalry that will heat up considerably in round one at the MCG.

Thompson was responding to a question about whether Hawthorn would play star forward Lance Franklin further up the ground in the much-anticipated clash.

"I've heard a lot about Hawthorn and how injured they are and how underdone they are and underprepared and how they're going to keep 'Buddy' out of the forward line," Thompson said.

"It might be a bit of an ambush, too - they're as ready as anyone and they have to be.

"We're expecting a tough game and we're going to play tough, too - we're not going to fall for any of that talk."

At one stage during the pre-season, Hawthorn had only one premiership player available due to surgeries and other factors.

On Sunday, Hawks president Jeff Kennett said Geelong appear to lack the psychological drive of his team.

The Hawks upset Geelong in last September's grand final to win the premiership.

A football documentary screened last Friday night featured some of the pre-grand final address that Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson made to his players.

Clarkson compares Geelong to sharks and adds the Cats do not enjoy some facets of how Hawthorn play.

Hawthorn and Geelong are clearly the best two teams in the league and Thompson is revelling in the rivalry.

He conceded that the Cats were paying more attention to Hawthorn.

"We do that every year, obviously we've been doing that on Hawthorn for a couple of years," Thompson said.

"They're a good unit, (we have) a lot of respect for them - I just think over the next three or four years, five years, these two teams are going to have an unbelievable rivalry."

Thompson is rapt with how his team has prepared for this year, saying their state or readiness is much better than 12 months ago.

As a sign of how fierce Friday night will be, Geelong will play no first-gamers.

"It's our first game, we're playing a team that's a good team, that we really want to do well against, I don't think throwing them in against a team like Hawthorn is necessarily a good thing," Thompson said.

He is also confident that key forward Cameron Mooney will be ready despite not having played any pre-season matches.

The Cats could play key forward Tom Lonergan in defence as they await the return of captain Tom Harley from injury.

Harley is expected back between rounds two and six.

Their defence was weakened in the NAB Cup grand final win over Collingwood when Josh Hunt suffered a season-ending knee injury.

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