Jeremy Cameron celebrates a goal during the R17 match between Geelong and Hawthorn at GMHBA Stadium on July 6, 2024. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

GEELONG on its home ground has proven to be a bridge too far for the improving Hawthorn with the Cats securing a comfortable and crucial 51-point win.

Given the congested top end of the ladder, it's a vital victory for Geelong, which dominated all four quarters and was a class above in the 16.14 (110) to 9.5 (59) result.

CATS v HAWKS Full match coverage and stats

Hawthorn's loss was compounded by a significant collision involving Mitch Lewis, who copped an accidental Jake Kolodjashnij elbow to the back of the head in a marking contest, and appeared to tweak his left knee (which was already strapped) as he hit the deck in the fourth term. 

Jeremy Cameron – initially matched up with 192cm Josh Weddle in the absence of the injured James Sicily – missed the first three shots on goal in the first three-and-a-half minutes. But up against Jack Scrimshaw for the rest of the match, he finished with four majors.

It was rinse and repeat for the Hawks in the opening term – Geelong would miss a shot, the Hawks would kick towards the Reg Hickey stand, it'd be turned over and come straight back into the forward 50.


Then the Cats hit their stride, quite literally. They ran in waves, with the likes of Max Holmes, Patrick Dangerfield and Tom Stewart driving their legs to break through Hawthorn's defence as 200-gamer Gary Rohan kicked two in a minute.

James Worpel broke through for the Hawks' first goal in the last minute of the quarter, and returnee Lewis – via a speedy Nick Watson steal – opened the following term to start to build the first hints of momentum.


But it was a momentary blip in the game, Geelong continually finding that one extra handball to get the ball out in space, and creating three consecutive snap goals from open play as the margin jumped out to 41 after Shannon Neale's second. 

It was just the fourth time Hawthorn had played at GMHBA Stadium since the turn of the century, and the first time with a crowd since 2006 – and like many before them, they appeared to struggle with the narrow dimensions.


Hawthorn's intensity lifted in the third term, particularly around the contest but their skills and decision-making when clearing from defence was an issue.

Worpel and Will Day worked hard all match for the Hawks, while the evergreen Mitch Duncan was once again one of Geelong's best, especially early when the game was in the balance.


Lloyd Meek well and truly controlled the hitouts against Sam De Koning and Mark Blicavs, but the pair dominated around the ground, their combination of height and mobility proving too much for their opponents whether that be up forward, on the wing or in defence.

Livewire Hawthorn forward Watson didn't have too many opportunities in attack, but worked hard to push up the field and apply defensive pressure, laying a number of run-down tackles on Geelong's half-backs, particularly in the third term as the Hawks made a mini-rally. 


The slow building return of Patrick Dangerfield
The Cats skipper missed nearly two months with a hamstring injury, taking a very cautious approach to his rehab and return given his soft-tissue history. Now three weeks into his comeback, Dangerfield is slowly building in influence and confidence, his searching kicks tidying up the team's inside 50 entries and opening up the ground in general play. Dangerfield had 17 disposals against Carlton, 22 last week versus Essendon and 14 in three quarters against the Hawks, before being rested and eventually subbed for the final term.

Patrick Dangerfield in action during the R17 match between Geelong and Hawthorn at GMHBA Stadium on July 6, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Improved Hawks still a step behind the best
Sam Mitchell's side has come on in leaps and bounds this season, securing some crucial wins against GWS, Brisbane and the Western Bulldogs, but the Cats proved too strong at home. In one of the most even seasons in recent memory, the Hawks - who entered the game on the back of five straight wins - are still in the mix for a breakthrough finals appearance, but life has got a little more difficult after this most recent loss. 

Versatile Cats experimenting ahead of finals?
Geelong is ensuring it has as many cards to play as possible ahead of yet another potential finals appearance. Shaun Mannagh made his name in the VFL as a gun small forward, but impressed with his defensive intensity through the midfield, while Stewart – in his second outing in the role – looks like he was born to crash packs in the middle. Jack Bowes has been building nicely across all three lines, and few can run with De Koning and Blicavs wherever they're deployed.

GEELONG          4.5     9.7     13.11     16.14     (110)
HAWTHORN     1.1     4.3     7.5     9.5     (59)

Geelong: Cameron 4, Close 4, Rohan 2, De Koning 2, Neale 2, Miers, Blicavs
Hawthorn: Chol 2, Moore 2, Lewis 2, Worpel, Jiath, D'Ambrosio

Geelong: Stewart, Dempsey, Duncan, Dangerfield, Bowes, Cameron
Hawthorn: Worpel, Day, Moore, Meek, Impey, Amon

Geelong: Nil
Hawthorn: Lewis (head)

Geelong: Ollie Henry (replaced Patrick Dangerfield in the fourth quarter)
Hawthorn: Harry Morrison (replaced Jack Gunston in the third quarter)

Geelong: Mitch Knevitt (illness) replaced in selected side by Jhye Clark
Hawthorn: Nil

Crowd: 33,188 at GMBHA Stadium