GEELONG has come from five goals down to win its 10th straight game against Hawthorn, this time defeating the Hawks by seven points at the MCG on Easter Monday.
With triple-premiership players Steve Johnson (suspension/knee) and James Kelly (suspension) watching from the sidelines, the Cats trailed by 30 points 24 minutes into the second quarter.
They fought back by kicking six unanswered goals either side of half-time, opened a 21-point lead midway through the last quarter, then survived a late comeback from the Hawks and won 13.15 (93) to 12.14 (86).
The result means Hawthorn is yet to beat Geelong since the 2008 Grand Final.
It also means the Kennett curse – said to have begun when, in the wake of the '08 decider, then-Hawks president Jeff Kennett said the Cats "lacked the mental drive" to beat his team – lives on.
Chris Scott's men looked slow and their kicking skills were terrible during the first half.
The Cats' gamble to field Trent West, who had knee surgery a month ago, and first-gamer Mark Blicavs in the ruck also looked to have backfired, as Max Bailey, Jarryd Roughead and David Hale helped Hawthorn dominate the centre clearances.
But a never-say-die performance from skipper Joel Selwood dragged Geelong back into the contest.
We have no hold over Hawks, says Scott
Selwood finished with 33 possessions, while Paul Chapman was another hero for the winners, turning back the clock with a virtuoso performance that yielded 25 touches and a goal.
Billie Smedts, Mathew Stokes, Andrew Mackie and Corey Enright were other outstanding performers for the Cats, while Tom Longeran held Hawthorn star Lance Franklin to just two goals.
Tom Hawkins, who was well held by Josh Gibson for much of the afternoon, Smedts, Duncan and James Podsiadly all kicked two goals for Geelong.
"I hope our fans enjoy this for everything it's worth, because it's not going to last forever," Scott said.
"I'd like to think that even though the Hawthorn fans would be hurting, they'll be looking forward to next time as well.
"I'm pretty sure the whole AFL community will be looking forward to the next one."
Already without captain Luke Hodge (knee), the Hawks lost star recruit Brian Lake (calf) before the match, but it mattered little during the early stages.
The 2012 Grand finalists were ignited by youngster Bradley Hill, who picked up 10 possessions in a brilliant opening quarter.
However, Hill and many of his teammates faded after the long break as another extraordinary chapter in one of footy's great modern rivalries played out.
Sam Mitchell was a tireless performer for Hawthorn, finishing the afternoon the leading possession-getter on the ground with 37.
"We could have gone into half-time a little bit further in front, I thought, given the way we were playing, and we were really pleased with that," Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson said.
"But as we know with the Cats, it's hard to keep them down for four quarters.
"Then a lot of the stats reversed in the third quarter, and we were able to correct some things and get a more even contest in the last quarter.
"But … it took us until five minutes into the last quarter to stop their momentum. We had so much energy for the contest.
"We ran hard, worked for one another, but we ran out of gas in the end."
Hawthorn faces another extremely tough assignment next weekend when they travel to Perth for a Sunday clash with West Coast at Patersons Stadium.
Geelong will be aiming to continue its strong start when it takes on the winless North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
HAWTHORN 4.3 8.9 10.10 12.14 (86)
GEELONG 1.5 5.7 10.12 13.15 (93)
Hawthorn: Franklin 2, Breust 2, Savage 2, Lewis, Guerra, Hale, Rioli, Smith, Roughead
Geelong: Hawkins 2, Smedts 2, Podsiadly 2, Duncan 2, Chapman, Varcoe, Selwood, Mackie, Christensen
Hawthorn: Mitchell, Sewell, Birchall, Lewis, Schoenmakers, Puopolo, Rioli
Geelong: Selwood, Chapman, Mackie, Taylor, Stokes, Lonergan, Enright, Smedts
Hawthorn: Lake replaced in selected side by Bailey
Geelong: Rivers (knee)
Hawthorn: Hill replaced by Anderson in the third quarter
Geelong: Caddy replaced by Horlin-Smith in the fourth quarter
Umpires: Stevic, Stewart, Nicholls
Official crowd: 76,300 at the MCG