Thu, Sep 8, 3:26pm by Jake Equid
Date and Time: Friday September 9 , 7.50pm
TV: Live on Channel 7, Fox Footy
A great modern-day rivalry continues on Friday Night at the MCG when Geelong takes on Hawthorn. The carrot dangling in front of the sides is a Preliminary Final spot while the loser will face a sudden death final a week later, against either West Coast or the Western Bulldogs. This may be a biased viewpoint but this match is the one that we are all waiting for in the Victorian capital.
Geelong will head in favourites and rightly so, they look to have the edge in the midfield battle where Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood should give the Cats an advantage in both centre clearances and contested possessions.
Sam Mitchell is now having to do so much of the grunt work in the middle of the ground for the Hawks as Luke Hodge and Jordan Lewis simply don’t play as much time in the midfield as they have done in recent years.
The form lines of the two sides are in stark contrast with the Cats coming into the match with seven wins on the trot while the Hawks have dropped two of their past four. Therefore, Sportsbet has the Cats as favourites at $1.64 with the Hawks at $2.30.
These two have built an amazing rivalry since the Hawks stunned the Cats in the 2008 Grand Final. Although the Cats have won 13 of 18 games since that day the Hawks still hold the edge in finals, winning two of three. Those matches were the 2014 Qualifying Final by 36 points and a thrilling five-point win in the 2013 Preliminary Final. Both wins led to Hawthorn premierships. The Cats did however defeat the Hawks in the Qualifying Final on the way to the 2011 premiership.
Hawthorn will be hoping that the forecast rain stays around for the evening as Geelong are the number one ranked team for contested marks while the Hawks are 16th. Tom Hawkins in ranked third in that category and is coming off a haul of five majors against Melbourne. If the ball spends a lot of time at ground level then the Hawks talented small forwards, Cyril Rioli, Luke Breust and Paul Puopolo will come into their own.
WATCH: Our AFL Finals Preview
But the Cats do possess one of the best wet-weather players of all-time in James Bartel. They also possess a few more strings to their bow, hence why we think they’ll win. Interestingly, the Cats haven’t loss to the Hawks when favourite since the 2008 Grand Final.
History tells us that it is tough to lose in the first week of the finals and then go on to win the Grand Final – although the Hawks managed exactly that last year.
BEST BET: Geelong by 1-39: $2.10
Head to Head
Big Win Little Win
Geelong 1-39 $2.10
Geelong 40+ $5
Hawthorn 1-39 $2.80
Hawthorn 40+ $10
Geelong (-8.5) $1.92
Hawthorn (+8.5) $1.92
1st Goal Scorer
Tom Hawkins $9
Cyril Rioli $10
Jack Gunston $10
Daniel Menzel $12
Steven Motlop $13
Luke Bruest $13
Rhys Stanley $17
Paul Puopolo $17
James Sicily $18
Patrick Dangerfield $20
Josh Caddy $21
Josh Cowan $21
Lincoln McCarthy $21
Jack Fitzpatrick $23
Ben McEvoy $26
Jimmy Bartel $26
Total Match Points – Over/Under
Over (156.5) $1.90
Under (156.5) $1.90
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