Tom Hawkins is seen on crutches after Geelong's loss to Carlton in round 15, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

GEELONG veteran Tom Hawkins is facing a stint on the sidelines after injuring his foot in Friday night's 63-point loss to Carlton at the MCG. 

The five-time All-Australian, who turns 36 next month, exited the game late in the third quarter after pushing off his left foot on a lead and crashing to the turf. 

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Hawkins hobbled off the ground, kicked his mouthguard away in frustration before entering the rooms and is set for scans over the weekend to determine the severity of the injury. 

Geelong's games record holder, who is out of contract and could retire at the end of the season, underwent surgery on the same foot in the weeks after the 2022 Grand Final win over Sydney and missed most of the pre-season.

Cats coach Chris Scott said Hawkins has been dealing with a toe injury but this fresh injury is unrelated and concerning. 

"I'm not saying the news is good news, but I'm not saying the news is bad either," Scott told reporters on Friday night. 


"He had to come off with a foot issue – it's mid-foot – he has had an issue with his toe but it is a fair way away from that. The experts we have don't know, so I certainly don't have anything more to add. 

"They are not saying (that it might be season over) and I certainly don't want to say anything that alleviates the concern because we are concerned, but I don't want to jump to conclusions either."


Scott is confident Geelong captain Patrick Dangerfield won't have a case to answer when Match Review Officer Michael Christian assesses a tackle made by the Brownlow medallist on Sam Walsh in the opening minutes of the game. 

"I don't (worry about his availability next week)," he said.

"The way holding the ball is being interpreted at the moment, if you have hold of an arm, you are very likely to get a free kick for holding the ball. 

"Pat didn't sling him, he had more of an arm and with that kind of momentum, you both go to ground. That's the way I saw it."


Carlton coach Michael Voss labelled the performance the most complete of his first 61 games in charge of the club he joined at the end of 2021.

The Blues registered their highest score (138) of the season to date, leading for 130 minutes on the back of a convincing win in inside 50s (+15), tackles (+14), contested ball (+11) and clearances (+11). 

"It was probably the most balanced game we've had across all our phases," Voss said on Friday night.


"We weren't relying on one area, but clearly, we had stoppage dominance, we had pressure on the ball, we were able to set the game up in our front half; we're still preaching that consistency message. 

"That momentum started three or four weeks ago and after the bye we've been able to pick it up straight away, which is pleasing to see. We had a much more balanced profile today, we weren't relying on one particular area. The pressure we were able to bring forced Geelong into areas that maybe they wouldn't normally make."


Voss lauded the performance of Tom De Koning after he beat his younger brother – Geelong key defender Sam – in an enthralling ruck battle, finishing with 34 hitouts, 25 disposals, 20 contested possessions, 10 score involvements, seven clearances and a goal. 

"I'm OK to celebrate people and what they're doing – we should when they are in great form," Voss said. 

"I get the theatre around it and it is a great talking point for everyone to take some intertest in, even a little bit of bumping at breaks. But in reality, I think he is just so focused on being able to play a certain way. 

"He has certainly taken his game to another level. He has taken his training to a completely different level as well. It's not complicated where he has found himself."


After taking the scalps of star midfielders Zach Merrett, Zak Butters and Touk Miller in the past three games, Alex Cincotta was handed the critical role on five-time All-Australian defender Tom Stewart and nailed the brief, continuing to cement his spot in Carlton's best 22.

"We rate Tom really highly – I'm sure the rest of the competition does as well – he is just a superb player and he gives them a lot of drive and a lot of composure. He sets up so well behind the ball and is so hard to beat. The type of player to play on him takes a bit of thought. With 'Cinc' and the role he has been playing, he is big and quick, so we felt it was the right match-up," he said.

"We had to make some adjustments around the midfield but he was able to execute it. He is a hungry dog, he is desperate to be in the team. You love coaching those players. They are just prepared to do everything, the navy blue jumper runs deeper for him, it's not just about playing AFL, it is about living out his boyhood dream and doing what he's doing. I go to him every week and tell him the role, and he says, 'No worries, I'll get it done for you.' It has been good addition to our team."

Carlton is clear in second spot after banking a 10th win of the season, while Geelong is now 8-6 after starting 2024 with seven straight wins.