Sam Mitchell was again one of the Hawks best against Geelong
HAWTHORN players are sick of losing to Geelong but understand it's up to them to dispel talk of a 'Kennett curse', Sam Mitchell says.
Mitchell has played in all bar one of Hawthorn's 10 consecutive losses to Geelong since they upset the Cats in the 2008 Grand Final.
The former Hawks skipper has averaged 31 possessions in those games, including a game-high 37-possession haul in the seven-point loss to the Cats at the MCG on Monday.
But Mitchell was taking no comfort from his own form when he spoke with AFL.com.au after Monday's game.
The mood was understandably sombre in the Hawks' change-rooms and Mitchell was feeling the pain of the loss as much as anyone.
"Of course, we're sick of it," Mitchell said when asked about the Hawks' losing streak against the Cats.
"I guess part of it is it's a good story, isn't it? You guys are going to write about it.
"But it's up to us to stop you writing about it by stopping it. But there's plenty to write tomorrow I'm sure."
Not for the first time since the 2008 Grand Final, the Hawks let a handy advantage slip against the Cats on Monday, having kicked away to a 30-point lead at the 24-minute mark of the second quarter.
The Hawks' inability to ram home such advantages against the Cats in recent times has sparked talk that former president Jeff Kennett had cursed his club with his provocative post-2008 Grand Final comment that Geelong lacked Hawthorn's "mental drive".
Mitchell's explanation for Monday's loss was far simpler.
"When you play a good side you know there's going to be ebbs and flows in a game," Mitchell said.
"We controlled the game early and they came back. They probably controlled it in the last quarter and a bit really, it felt like that to me.
"We just couldn't get the game played on our terms and they could. They've just got a knack of doing that, haven't they?"
Mitchell said the turnaround was due to both the Cats lifting their game and Hawthorn's inability to maintain its intensity.
When asked whether he'd been proud of his team's ability to fight the game out, Mitchell said the Hawks had lost and that was nothing to be proud about.
Asked whether Hawthorn's competitiveness against a strong side like Geelong was a sign it had entered the 2013 season in good form, Mitchell said he had not given the matter any thought.
"We've got to move on pretty quickly. In six days we've got to go to Perth and play West Coast – another good side – so it will probably go down to the wire again and (Patersons Stadium is) a big ground so there will be a lot of running again," he said.
"We'll spend tonight feeling sorry for ourselves I suppose and get up tomorrow and start preparing for West Coast."
Nick Bowen covers Hawthorn news for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Nick