It’s one of the great rivalries of the modern age and it will get another instalment on Friday night as the Geelong Cats and Hawthorn Hawks do battle from GMHBA Stadium in the return weekend of the AFL!
As usual, we have a full preview and betting tips for the Friday night clash below.
Friday, 12th June, 7.50pm (AEST)
The Cats and Hawks have played in some absolute thrillers since the turn of the millennium and with both teams shaping up to be top eight contenders this season, this game has the potential to be another fantastic one.
The Cats will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss in Round 1 back in March when they travelled to Sydney to take on the Giants and were defeated by 32 points. Veteran Gary Ablett was arguably the Cats best player, accumulating 24 touches and a goal in the loss. You have to imagine the break came at the wrong time for Ablett, with the 36 year old having just completed his 19th pre-season before being put on ice for two months.
The Cats have some injury concerns to worry about as well as the potential fitness problems for some of their veterans. Nakia Cokatoo is out indefinitely with a hamstring injury while Josh Jenkins and Jake Kolodjashnij will miss at least Round 2 with a back and a hip injury respectively. Jack Steven will need to prove he has recovered from a stab wound suffered just a few weeks ago if he hopes to make his debut for the Cats.
The Hawks and Cats last met in Round 18 last year, where the Hawks were 24 point winners. Patrick Dangerfield was fantastic in that game, racking up 27 touches and the star has a dominant record against the Hawks. In 14 games since 2012, Dangerfield averages a mammoth 31.5 touches per game against Hawthorn. Win or lose, back him to have a strong game here.
The Hawks captured a good win in Round 1 and will be looking to make it 2-0 on the 2020 season. They started as underdogs at home against a Brisbane side that many were picking as early Grand Final contenders and recorded a comfortable 28 point win. Tom Mitchell was fantastic in his return to footy after breaking his leg, racking up 25 touches while Luke Breust, Shaun Burgoyne and Chad Wingard combined for nine goals in the win.
The Hawks have a really solid injury list heading into the Round 2 clash. Jaeger O’Meara, Jarman Impey and Blake Hardwick are the only potential players missing from the best 22, and all three will undergo a test to possibly play this Friday night.
Liam Shiels had 29 touches in the Hawks last contest against the Cats and had 24 touches in the Round 1 win over the Lions despite Mitchell’s return to the lineup. We think there is great value about Shiels to rack up 25+ on Friday night, especially if O’Meara does miss through injury.
Tough game to call here. If it was at the MCG we think the bookies would have this game a lot closer in the odds, however, you have to respect the Cats at GMHBA Stadium, even with no fans in attendance. The Cats will be desperate to bounce back after the Round 1 loss and have rarely lost at home since their run of dominance started all the way back in 2006.
Like the Cats to win at home and like them to cover the 10.5 point spread.
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