Cats storm home to beat Hawks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Cats storm home to beat Hawks

By Adam Cooper 05/04/2010 07:18:34 PM Comments (0)

Geelong have won two of the past three AFL grand finals, but it was the one they lost that helped stir a comeback win over Hawthorn at the MCG on Monday.

The Cats were battered physically and four goals adrift during the first half, yet fought back to win by nine points, 14.16 (100) to 13.13 (91).

The win again left Cats coach Mark Thompson awestruck over how often his side finds another gear when challenged and how much hunger remains among a group which won the 2007 and 2009 flags.

"I think they're an outstanding group, but they have to be if they want to keep winning," Thompson said.

"They know that every club's aiming to beat them and they get half a sniff and they're going to try to run over the top of us. We know that that's coming.

"I'm very much in awe of what they're able to do week in, week out. They are a tough lot of boys and you've got to give them a lot of credit for what they do."

Hawthorn had Geelong's early measure in a bruising clash, by denying them any freedom in the first half, especially when the Cats kicked a wasteful 1.7 in the second quarter.

Yet Geelong kicked five goals in the third quarter and grabbed the lead early in the last term, when Steve Johnson snapped truly.

They had to rally again when Hawthorn kicked the next two goals, but Harry Taylor and Paul Chapman converted from marks and Shannon Brynes kicked the sealer after a tackle on an unsuspecting Chance Bateman.

The win was Geelong's third over Hawthorn since they lost to the Hawks in the 2008 grand final, and those three games were decided by a combined 18 points.

Thompson said Hawthorn were probably sick of Geelong, but admitted there was a determination among his players to avenge the 2008 loss so resolute he did not have to mention it.

"If you ever lose a grand final you never want that team to ever do that to you again - that's how I feel and I know the players feel like that," Thompson said.

"I know Hawthorn really enjoy playing us to so ... good matches (result)."

Thompson paid credit to his players for "toughing" the game out.

Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett barely had a moment to himself yet finished with 38 disposals, Brad Ottens overcame a quiet first half to star in the ruck and in attack, and Cameron Mooney worked hard for four goals.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson also acknowledged the rivalry, but said it was more Geelong's physical size and strength that turned the tide.

"Their big fellas didn't get any smaller as the game wore on," Clarkson said.

"Ottens and Mooney and (Tom) Hawkins were very, very dangerous as tall targets up forward and with those strong bodies ... they ended up dominating the fall of the ball in the middle part of the ground.

"It was nearly like a dam wall about to break in the last quarter and unfortunately we just couldn't get our ands on the footy long enough."

Hawthorn's best included skipper Sam Mitchell and forward Jarryd Roughead (four goals), while half-forward Cyril Rioli made a great return from injury, with a goal, several assists and a handful of strong tackles.

Geelong became the sixth side to win both opening games, and sit in fourth spot behind St Kilda, Fremantle and the Brisbane Lions.

Hawthorn are seventh, with the best percentage of the four teams to have won one and lost one.

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