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Storylines re-visited: round 17

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 15: Isaac Smith of the Hawks misses a shot on goal to win the game with 5 seconds on the clock during the 2017 AFL round 17 match between the Geelong Cats and the Hawthorn Hawks at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 15, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
Hawthorn's Isaac Smith fires towards goal with just seconds remaining on the clock

The Cats got over the Hawks in another epic encounter at the MCG and now sit in second position on the AFL ladder after 17 rounds.

Cats Media identified three points of interest to follow throughout the game. Here’s how they played out.


Minding Mitchell

Three disposals and a goal.

So read the stat sheet for Tom Mitchell after 45 seconds of the Cats’ blockbuster match up with the Hawks on Saturday afternoon.

Geelong’s Scott Selwood was a late withdrawal hours before the bounce and the Cats were forced to reassess their method of quelling Hawthorn’s prime mover, whose start and first quarter were cause for concern.

“What happened in the first quarter couldn’t continue or we were going to lose the game,” Cats coach Chris Scott said of Mitchell post-match.

“We were disappointed that the plan we went into, albeit a late plan because we had a late plan, was ineffectual.

“He was getting the ball but he was involved in clearances; he was involved in, I think, the three goals they kicked from clearances, he kicked a couple himself.

“He was a dominant player on the ground early. Clearly we had to do something.”

That something was Mark Blicavs, who was tasked with blanketing Mitchell’s influence when the Hawthorn no.3 was already up and going – with 19 disposals already to quarter time.

“To get something, you’ve got to give something. So we did sacrifice something that we went into the game with and Blicavs went onto him. I think that was a really interesting match up after that,” Scott added.

“It’s quite rare that you see a 198cm player running with such a good inside, ground level player.”

In the end, Mitchell tallied 43 disposals (18 contested), nine clearances and two goals but Blicavs could certainly hold his head high walking from the ground with a three-point win.

Tom Mitchell had alarm bells ringing for the Cats on Saturday afternoon. (Photo: AFL Photos) 


These Hawks and those Hawks

After an 86-point drubbing on Easter Monday, we wondered whether the game’s greatest modern-day rivalry was dead and buried.

It was the Cats’ biggest win over Hawthorn since 1949 and left the Hawks winless after four rounds but Alastair Clarkson’s side had improved since round four.

The question was though, by how much? And the answer: enough to make this another unforgettable chapter in that of Geelong versus Hawthorn.

Even with six minutes remaining and a 17-point lead in favour of the Cats, the Hawks rallied to have their chance at victory in the dying seconds – if not for another Isaac Smith miss.

Fans of both sides and neutrals alike had hoped Easter Monday was an aberration and Saturday afternoon proved it was exactly that.

The rivalry is alive and well. (Photo: AFL Photos)


Love him or hate him

The word “fitting”, as an adjective at least, is defined as “suitable or appropriate under the circumstances; right or proper.”

That Hodge’s right foot snap got the Hawks to within four points with just 22 seconds remaining in his 300th game is “fitting” by that definition and any other.

The four-time premiership player went about his business against the Cats with his trademark ferocity and leadership and despite not leaving the ground with the win (much to the delight of Cats’ fans), Hodge was rightfully met with thunderous applause from more than 70,000 people.

Luke Hodge is chaired from the ground following his 300th game. (Photo: AFL Photos)

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs