Is Tom Hawkins the most important player in the competition?
Like a fine wine, Tom Hawkins is only getting better with age. The 32-year-old continued his fine run of form with a best on ground performance against the Power at Metricon Stadium. His six goals against Port Adelaide meant he remained at the top of the Coleman Medal standings but his importance to the Cats extends beyond the goals he kicks himself.
Remarkably, despite kicking more goals than any other player in 2020, he is also the competition leader in goal assists. Almost unbeatable in the air this year, he leads all comers for marks inside 50, he provides the kind of target that helps keep the Cats crumbers well fed.
How the Game Was Won
For the second time in a week the Cats made short work of a team in good form and above them on the ladder. To bookend their week, like they had against the Saints on Monday, the Cats had over 100 marks and 200 uncontested possessions on Friday night.
This determination to hold on to the ball at all costs had a twofold effect. In refusing to take risks with their time in possession it drew Port outside of their defensive structures allowing them better looks going forward. It also meant that they were better set up themselves behind the ball on the occasions that they did turn the ball over.
In doing so Port’s greatest attacking weapons were almost completely blunted. The number one team in the competition for long kicks, contested marks and inside 50s they were below the competition average in three against the Cats. Unable to attack on their terms they were a shadow of the team that overcame the Tigers a week earlier.
On the other hand, or at the other end, the Cats scored almost at will whenever they ventured forward. With Tom Hawkins taking more marks inside 50 than the entire Port Adelaide team, their efficiency inside 50 was well above season averages for the club and competition.
What the Coaches Said
After started the week with victory over the then second placed Saints, Chris Scott was understandably pleased to end it with a win over the ladder leaders. “We are happy, absolutely,” he said. “I don’t mean to talk it down, but I am just wary that this is a bit more unusual than previous seasons and we are conscious that the good teams will have their moments.
“I couldn’t be happier with the outcome and with the way we have approached, not just the games over the last few weeks, but the whole situation. There has been an air of positivity around the whole club.”
Ken Hinkley felt his team was beaten by a much better team on the night. “To Geelong’s credit… they were just dominant,” he said after the game. “We had a really strong performance last week, we were ready for this week but we just didn’t play with the energy that you need and the hunt. Geelong were so much better than that. They were well organised and they’ve been in pretty good form. It’s a bit of an outlier for us tonight but we have to look at it, we have to debrief it pretty closely and see how well the opposition did things to us that we don’t enjoy.”
As good as Geelong had been, Hinkley was disappointed with his team’s fourth quarter. “Geelong gained total belief in the game and they were just running all over us and we weren’t able to hold them up enough,” he said. “That was equally disappointing because you can lose but you shouldn’t get cleaned up in any quarter. “We were in the game – as silly as it sounds – we were three or four goals down, and then by the end of the game to get beaten by ten goals is really disappointing.”
GEELONG 2.3 4.3 7.7 14.7 (91)
PORT ADELAIDE 0.1 1.6 3.7 4.7 (31)
Geelong: Hawkins 6, Rohan 3, Atkins, Fogarty, Guthrie, Henderson, Menegola
Port Adelaide: Farrell, Georgiades, Lycett, Woodcock
Geelong: Hawkins, Dangerfield, Blicavs, Guthrie, Menegola, Taylor, Bews
Port Adelaide: Boak, Amon, Houston, Powell-Pepper
Geelong: Simpson (hamstring)
Port Adelaide: Nil