Since the Hawks' 1989 triumph over the Cats, both sides have played in a combined 13 Grand Finals for eight flags – including Hawthorn's 2008 victory over Geelong.
Here's how the team line-ups would look with every player available who has represented both clubs from 1989 to now.
Who would win?
B: Corey Enright, Matthew Scarlett, Tim McGrath
HB: Michael Mansfield, Harry Taylor, Ken Hinkley
C: Joel Corey, Joel Selwood, Garry Hocking
HF: Patrick Dangerfield, Tom Hawkins, Jimmy Bartel
F: Paul Chapman, Gary Ablett snr, Steve Johnson
R: Brad Ottens, Gary Ablett jnr, Paul Couch
Inter: Cameron Ling, Peter Riccardi, Darren Milburn, Bill Brownless
Coach: Mark Thompson
Just picture Ablett jnr streaming out of the centre to find his dad at the top of the goalsquare. The strength of the starting midfield has pushed Brownlow medallists Dangerfield and Bartel to half-forward to operate in a dangerous forward 50 with Chapman and Johnson. McGrath got the nod narrowly over Tom Stewart, while Milburn's longevity was hard to ignore and places him just over Lance Franklin's nemesis Tom Lonergan and Mark Blicavs. Bill Brownless' goalkicking prowess (fourth most for the Cats in 1989-2020) has him in over close friend Barry Stoneham. Hinkley and Mansfield (both dual All-Australians) just edged out Andrew Mackie and Andrew Bews.
B: Gary Ayres, Chris Langford, Josh Gibson
HB: Luke Hodge, Chris Mew, Grant Birchall
C: Robert DiPierdomenico, Sam Mitchell, Shaun Burgoyne
HF: Cyril Rioli, Dermott Brereton, Luke Breust
F: Lance Franklin, Jason Dunstall, John Platten
R: Ben McEvoy, Michael Tuck, Shane Crawford
Inter: Jarryd Roughead, Jordan Lewis, Brian Lake, Tom Mitchell
Coach: Alastair Clarkson
Imagine filling up a team full of flag winners and sending them out. That's basically what this Hawthorn side is. Incredibly, Tom Mitchell is the only player in this team who hasn't won a premiership. Langford narrowly edges Norm Smith medallist Lake for the full-back spot, while Mitchell scrapes in ahead of triple-premiership stars like Isaac Smith for the final spot on the bench. McEvoy pips Paul Salmon in the ruck for his work in dual premiership successes, while the team is so successful and so strong that even Darren Jarman and Gary Buckenara are left in reserve.
HEAD-TO-HEAD SINCE START OF 1989
Overall: Hawthorn 30 wins, Geelong 28 wins
Finals: Hawthorn six wins, Geelong two wins
Matthew Scarlett v Jason Dunstall: Scarlett contended with guns such as Matthew Lloyd, Fraser Gehrig and Brendan Fevola… but how would he go on Dunstall? The three-time Coleman medallist would have the six-time All-Australian for strength, but Scarlett's closing speed would keep it close. Worth the price of admission alone.
Steve Johnson v Gary Ayres: Three North Smith medals between them, this pair know what the big stage is about. One-on-one in a battle of strength, Ayres would have Johnson's measure, but how much rope would he give the mercurial Geelong forward?
Corey Enright v John Platten: Platten is already a Hawthorn Team of the Century member in the forward pocket… and Enright would be a lock for Geelong in the 21st century. The Cat's wish to zone off, intercept and start attacks would be hampered by needing to keep 'The Rat' in check.
THREE STARRING PERFORMANCES SINCE 1989
Gary Ablett snr (GF, 1989): At his miraculous best with a brilliant marking display. He booted nine goals against his former side and went home with the Norm Smith Medal in a losing team. Match Gordon Coventry's 1928 record for most goals in a VFL/AFL Grand Final.
Patrick Dangerfield (R17, 2017): After an early knock, Dangerfield was pushed to full-forward to play out the match. Anchored to the goalsquare, he kicked 5.6 including three majors after half-time from 20 disposals.
Jason Dunstall (R1, 1992): In a year the Cats played in a Grand Final, Dunstall monstered them in opening round, piling on 12 goals. With Ablett Snr held to one goal down the other end, Dunstall was the difference in the 20-point win.
MOST BROWNLOW VOTES IN GEELONG v HAWTHORN GAMES SINCE 1989
- Shane Crawford (23 votes)
- Sam Mitchell (20 votes)
- Joel Selwood (15 votes)
- Jason Dunstall (10 votes)
- Joel Corey (9 votes)
Tom Hawkins' goal (R19, 2012): Despite leading all night, the Cats fell eight points behind the Hawks 28 minutes into the last term. Enter Tom Hawkins. He kicked a major before the Hawks let two opportunities slip trying to break the 'Kennett Curse'. With less than a minute on the clock, the Cats gained possession again deep in defence …