Hawkins steals show in Cats' AFL final win

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His partner in crime Jeremy Cameron might have had the attention but Tom Hawkins proved the difference for Geelong in Friday night's AFL semi-final.

Hawkins booted five goals as the Cats claimed a hard-fought 35-point win over GWS at Perth's Optus Stadium to book their spot in a preliminary final.

Early on, it looked as though Cameron might steal the show in his first game against his old side.

Geelong famously sold the proverbial farm for Cameron, giving up three first-round draft picks to secure the prized free agent last year.

The former Giant booted the Cats first major and slotted another classy snap shot in the second quarter, proving to be a handful for 11th-gamer opponent Jake Stein.

But while Cameron did his best work early, Hawkins only got better as he went on, eventually turning the tables on Giants opponent Sam Taylor in a fascinating battle.

GWS looked to have all the momentum early in the fourth quarter, booting three straight goals to threaten a late comeback.

Enter Hawkins, whose clever left-foot snap from a set shot sailed through to take the wind out of the Giants' sails.

The Cats talisman, who last week played his 300th AFL game, added two more from there to finish with 5.1 from his 19 disposals and eight marks.

Taylor had held Hawkins to one goal in a best-afield performance when the Giants won their round-21 meeting at GMHBA Stadium.

This time, the 33-year-old wasn't going to be outmatched, although he insisted their previous meeting hadn't played on his mind too much.

"To be honest, I always try to concentrate on what I do really well," he told the Seven Network.

"I try and play to my strengths and when I'm at my best, I can play well against anyone."

Friday night's 15.13 (103) to 10.8 (68) victory means the Cats will face minor premiers Melbourne in a preliminary final in Perth next week.

Hawkins laughed off any concerns about a corked thigh sustained when Giants ruckman Shane Mumford crashed into him in the third term.

"We're going to rock and roll out of quarantine and give it a crack next week," he said.

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