Cats defeat Hawks
Cats defeat Hawks

It's the AFL most famous hoodoo, but heading into Friday's blockbuster match between premiership favourites Hawthorn and reigning premiers Geelong, neither team wants to acknowledge the Cats have the wood over the Hawks.

Since Hawthorn defeated the Geelong in the 2008 Grand Final, and then Hawks president Jeff Kennett questioned the Cats' psychological strength when facing his team, Geelong have unleashed an eight-match winning run, including six wins by fewer than 10 points.

Earlier this week, veteran Hawthorn midfielder Brad Sewell dismissed the hoodoo as a factor in the white-hot Hawks' preparation for this crucial match, while Geelong coach Chris Scott has described the Cats' successful run as 'ancient history'.

"Our supporters certainly hope so, they want to believe there is something there," Scott said.

"I don't really place much weight on it at all. The last game was Round 2 and as my great coach Leigh Matthews often said that anything longer than four weeks ago was ancient history.

"I'm not sure it means anything to Hawthorn, but I think our guys have a belief not so much that they can beat Hawthorn, but when they play their best they can beat anyone."

It is not so much the run of victories but the nature of the wins that has so many Cats' fans convinced they hold an advantage over the Hawks.

In Round 2, there was a distinct sense of deja vu, when the Cats clawed back an 18-point deficit at three-quarter time to win by two points, scoring the only four goals of the final term.

The Cats also overcame a three-goal margin at the final break in Round 12 last year, keeping the Hawks goalless in the final term to prevail by five points, while Geelong conceded the first four goals in Round 5 2011, only to overwhelm the Hawks by 19 points.

But the Hawks possess a certain deadly quality at the moment, having won their past eight games by an average of 81 points, including last week's 94-point drubbing of Essendon and a 47-point win over Collingwood which installed them as firm premiership favourites.

Scott is very much a fan of the way the Hawks have gone about their business in recent weeks, indicating it has been subtle improvements which have made the difference.

"They are probably moving the ball a bit quicker. I'm talking about the things that the analysts are talking about on TV really, I think it's there for everyone to see," the Cats coach said.

"There are some subtleties around their game that I think have been working well for them, but the main things are their use of the ball has been exceptional. Everyone knows what they're doing. It's just very hard to stop.

"But the best team in Round 18 or 19 is irrelevant to me. We probably think that they are as good as anyone going around, but whatever the result, we'll get back to work the week after," he said.

Conversely, Scott says the Cats have to overcome a perception they are light of former days.

"We are fighting to show the world in a way that we are still a very good team. We don't shy away from the fact we are a very different team to the team we were last year and in 2010 in 2009, but we still think our best is pretty good," he said.

"There's no better time to prove it, and we won't prove it categorically, but we will go some way to proving it and there's no better stage than Friday night at the MCG against the best team at the moment."


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