Rnd 5 Preview: The Cat is Out of the Bag

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Every Hawk fan knows the drill when both Easter Monday and Geelong appears on the fixture; heart problems.

Fifteen of the last 28 games between these two sides have been decided by eleven points or under but the Hawks have only won three of these games (Round 21, 2018, Round 2, 2018 and the infamous 2013 Preliminary Final)

We all know the cliche of ‘no matter where these sides are, it’s close’ but it’s not a cliche, these two teams are the trailblazers of that expression. 

If there’s one win any Hawks fans want regardless of a premiership, wooden spoon or in-between, it’s the old enemy. 

Team News: 

Final 22 finalised at 4:30pm on Saturday 16th of April 


In – Liam Shiels, Tom Phillips, Jacob Koschitzke

Out – James Worpel (omitted), Daniel Howe (omitted), Will Day (concussion) 

James Worpel was dropped after a five disposal in 72% time on ground performance last week and Liam Shiels is brought in to provide more pressure around the ball which will be needed. 

Dan Howe is replaced on a wing by Tom Phillips after a 28 disposal best on ground effort at Box Hill and Jacob Koschitzke adds some size up forward and is a chop out for Ned Reeves in the ruck. 

Shaun Burgoyne of the Hawks is congratulated by Cyril Rioli after kicking a goal during the AFL First Preliminary Final match between the Hawthorn...
 Shaun Burgoyne kicked the sealer in the 2013Prelim | Getty Images


Last Time We Played – Round 3, 2021

Hawthorn – 9.10.64

Geelong – 10.9.69 


Disposals: Jaeger O’Meara (34), Liam Shiels (26), Jarman Impey, Tom Mitchell (24) 

Goals: Mitch Lewis (2.1), Luke Breust (2.0), Chad Wingard (1.3) 

Jordan Clark gets a lot of credit for breaking up a contest in the middle of the ground and then kicking a goal to put the Cats up by 17 points but the Hawks had thirteen minutes to peg the margin back. 

Tyler Brockman kicked a snap pretty quickly to drop the margin and the game became under a goal when Mitch Lewis took a good grab and kicked truly. 

Unfortunately, the Hawks couldn’t get over the line on that occasion but for a top side as the Cats have been, the Hawks hold no fear. 

How do the Hawks win?

The Cats have only suffered one loss in 2022 (against the Swans) and that’s the game the Hawks can take the most out of. 

The Swans used their pace, overlap run and long kicking when Geelong turned the ball over to expose the Cats in their back half to punish them continuously. 

It was Lance Franklin’s 1,000th goal night but Isaac Heeney kicked five, Will Hayward kicked three and Errol Gulden kicked a couple. 

If Dylan Moore, Jai Newcombe and Jack Gunston are reading (unlikely but Daz can dream), lick your lips boys and create space inside 50. 

Mitch Lewis had eight scoring shots and is likely to have young Cats defender Sam De Koning on him as ‘SDK’ has the size (over 200cm tall), agility and jump to compete with him in the air. 

However, what Lewis has done to generate good shots is his ability to get behind his defender and either make ‘fake leads’. 

He makes a few steps to lull his opponent into moving in order to expose space in front of him. 

He uses that space to lead into in order to make an easier kick for the midfielders to him and he can have a kick at goal from an angle where he should finish. 

Those leads can also create sideways space so the Hawks midfielders can kick to his advantage and let him take marks (averaging seven already), which he’ll need to do to stop Geelong’s back half from dictating terms. 

Collingwood also exposed the Cats’ back half when they kicked nine goals in the third quarter to setup a five goal buffer at three quarter time, before the Cats ran over the top of them. 

What Collingwood did was win the ball not only at the stoppage and drive the ball forward, but lock the ball inside their front half and setup behind the ball so the Cats couldn’t get through them. 

The Hawks have been trying to exploit the corridor all year long with a lot of chains from the back half being brought into the middle of the ground and the Cats conceded five goals to the Pies that way. 

With ball in hand, the Hawks can carve up anyone and will be hoping the Hawks can work their way up the field to set up scoring chains.


The Cats are a top four side for a reason and their potency in the front half is the main catalyst for it. 

Tom Hawkins coming into Round 5 was the equal leader in the Coleman Medal and Jeremy Cameron already has a bag of six this year, courtesy of Collingwood (including four of the last seven goals of the game). 

The Hawks didn’t bring in Kyle Hartigan in the matchups with Harry McKay, Charlie Curnow and Max King in the last fortnight and won’t bring in Kyle Hartigan here. 

Denver Grainger-Barras will have his hands full, either taking on Esava Ratugolea or Jeremy Cameron. 

Cameron is more dominating with his pace and his one-on-one work while Ratugolea is a run and jump style forward who needs the ball kicked to his advantage. 

As per usual, it’s all about the pressure the midfield can put on up the ground. 

Jaeger O’Meara, Tom Mitchell, Jai Newcombe, Josh Ward and Liam Shiels need to ensure the Cats don’t get prime ball use. 

The Cats have been the ‘too old, too slow’ club in the last few years, but their long kicking tactics to minimise a lack of pace has been very effective.

From 16th in long kicking last season to fourth heading into Round 5, Geelong want the ball in their forward half so their quicker players (Isaac Smith, Brad Close, Gryan Miers etc) can set up scoring chains and are one of the teams in the competition in scoring chains from the back half. 

The Hawks’ back six for the first three weeks were the best defence in the competition but are conceding 32 scores from 46 inside 50’s (69.5%), the highest concession of scoring per inside 50 this year. If it happens again, it’s game over. 

Jacob Koschitzke of the Hawks celebrates a goal during the round 21 AFL match between Hawthorn Hawks and Collingwood Magpies at University of... Jacob Koschitzke is back for the Hawks | Getty Images[/caption

TH Spotlight: Jacob Koschitzke 

It was truly a shock to see ‘Kosi’ not named in the Round 1 side, but our second leading goalkicker in 2021 has a chance to re-establish himself in the best 22 and stay there permanently.

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