Cats’ round 6 clash set

Tom Hawkins at training and at a press conference on Wednesday. (Rebecca Hosking) 210296_15

By Luke Voogt

Geelong will play St Kilda at Marvel Stadium in round 6 on Friday, July 11, the AFL has announced.

The AFL has yet to release fixtures for the following few rounds, but said Geelong would head to a Perth hub after round 6 subject to “West Australian Government protocols”.

Meanwhile, Geelong are hoping to take their form from a blistering 33-to-1 last quarter into this weekend against Melbourne, according to key forward Tom Hawkins.

“In the last quarter we played really daring football, we were on the front foot, we were attacking really well,” he said.

“It’s more about taking that sort of approach into the game early against Melbourne.”

The final quarter was the only major positive for the Cats, who fell just short of an incredible comeback in their shock loss to Carlton on Saturday night.

“We were really disappointed as players and as a football club in how we performed,” Hawkins told a press conference on Wednesday.

The Cats struggled to handle the pressure of the Blues, whose lead stretched to 42 points midway through the third.

“I don’t want to discredit Carlton here at all because they played really good football as well, but we were just really poor,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins defended fellow forward Esava Ratugolea after he punched the ball on the goal line, denying Hawkins a certain goal when the Cats were 42 points down.

“Footy’s a funny game. You’ve only got half a second to make a decision,” he said.

“I want him to continue playing the way he plays … he’s going to be a very exciting player to watch over the next 10 years.”

But the Blues could barely get their hands on the ball in the final term as the Cats stormed back with five unanswered goals.

Geelong squandered several chances to draw within a kick, including when Gryan Miers, despite having an otherwise good game, made a poor decision to play on following a free kick near goal.

Tom Atkins kicked a goal to get the Cats within two points but Jack Henry was caught holding the ball with 30 seconds left, ending their hopes.

Hawkins, who has kicked four goals in three games and turns 32 next month, is in the final season of a five-year contract.

But he indicated he was in no rush to re-sign.

“My manager will work through that but it is not something we have really been seeking out from the footy club,” Hawkins said.

Ruckman Rhys Stanley will likely miss Geelong’s clash with Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday afternoon due to a medial ligament strain in his knee.

His omission will only help star Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn supply his midfielders at stoppages.

The Cats will have to adapt to the wider MCG after a couple of weeks at Kardinia Park.

Melbourne’s last (scheduled) match against Essendon was postponed after Bomber Conor McKenna tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday. He has since tested negative.

Whether the Demons will benefit from the surprise rest, or Geelong’s extra game time will give the Cats an edge, is unknown.

But the desire to make up for last Saturday’s shock loss should spur the Cats onto victory.

Geelong by 27 points.