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Match report: Hawkins stars as Cats sink Lions

Highlights: Geelong v Brisbane The Cats and Lions clash in round 19

A SEVEN-GOAL haul from in-form forward Tom Hawkins and a scintillating display of football either side of the main break has allowed Geelong to pull away from Brisbane and record a 42-point win at GMHBA Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

However, the Cats' day was soured by a left ankle injury to star defender Tom Stewart in the opening term after his foot buckled under the weight of a Rhys Mathieson tackle, leaving him in a moon boot and unable to play out the match.

CATS OVERPOWER LIONS Full match coverage and stats

Both sides wasted chances early but Geelong broke loose with a minute left in the first half. The Lions seemed set to hold on to a one-point lead, but two quick goals, and then another three in the opening minutes of the third term, broke the game open.

It was no surprise to see Hawkins and Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield at the forefront of Geelong's charge as it posted a 18.12 (120) to 11.12 (78) victory to see it jump from ninth to fourth when the siren ended.

The patch that ended the Lions' chances started with a terrible turnover from defender Ryan Lester, which landed in Daniel Menzel's hands with less than a minute left in the second quarter. Scott Selwood ended up kicking the goal.

Then Hawkins slotted a set shot from outside 50m after the siren, after being on the end of a spearing kick from Mitch Duncan.

To start the third term, Rhys Stanley dominated the ruck battle and allowed Dangerfield to run rampant through the midfield, with Hawkins booting another couple to extend the margin to 30.

SHOOTING STAR Five talking points

The win also gave the Cats a much-needed percentage boost, up 2.1 points to 120.3.

Gun Brisbane backman Harris Andrews wasn't given an easy task in his first match since round 14 after being on the end of a sickening clash with Greater Western Sydney forward Jeremy Cameron that left the Lion with a brain bleed, being handed the job on Hawkins.

Although Hawkins was best-on-ground, leaving him second in the Coleman Medal race four goals behind North Melbourne's Ben Brown, he was also the beneficiary of some exceptional service.

However, his coach Chris Scott pointed out Hawkins did play exceptionally well.

"I don't think we spoon fed him the whole game, I thought he was really good in the contest on a really good player, too," Scott said.

"Sometimes the performance of the individual is even more meritorious when you're on a really good player. We thought Hawk was really good and our midfield in particular started to find the gaps in the second half."

WATCH Back-to-back brilliance from Hawkins

Cats champion Gary Ablett continued his fine form (38 disposals, 16 contested possessions) while Dangerfield also starred in the midfield (26, 15), with Duncan and Sam Menegola showing off delightful foot skills.

Impressive rookie Jack Henry once again went forward and booted three opportunistic goals, and was also involved in a bone-rattling collision with a behind post in the third quarter as he and former Cat Josh Walker went backwards in a marking contest.

For the Lions, Dayne Beams did his best to stem the tide amassing 37 disposals and a brilliant goal, thanks to an assist from ruckman Stefan Martin.

Mitch Robinson fought hard, keeping Geelong skipper Joel Selwood quiet early, while Darcy Gardiner again stood up down back, but it wasn't enough to keep Geelong from winning its 11th straight game at the Cattery against Brisbane. 

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan said his side was "extremely competitive" in the first half.

"We fought it out pretty well, we didn't turn it up. At times, it looked like Geelong were just going to go away with the game and we'd find a way to fight back, so I was really pleased with our players from that perspective," Fagan said.

An outstanding left-foot snap from Menzel late in the contest capped off Scott's 400th match as player and coach.

MEDICAL ROOM
Geelong: Defender Tom Stewart went down with a left ankle injury in the first term and didn't return, with fears it could be syndesmosis damage. Fellow backman Jed Bews copped a knock in a marking contest from teammate Mitch Duncan and went to the bench but soon returned to the field.

Brisbane: The Lions appeared to emerge unscathed.

NEXT UP
Geelong is in for a massive test next Friday night as it comes up against a rampant Richmond at the MCG. The following afternoon, Brisbane is back at the Gabba as it faces a North Melbourne outfit needing wins to keep its finals chances alive.

GEELONG        2.4       7.6       11.11   18.12 (120)
BRISBANE       2.4       5.7       7.10     11.12 (78)

GOALS
Geelong: Hawkins 7, Henry 3, Menzel 3, S.Selwood 2, Parfitt, C.Guthrie, Menegola
Brisbane: McStay 2, Beams, Zorko, Rayner, Robertson, Taylor, Christensen, Hipwood, Robinson, Barrett

BEST 
Geelong: Hawkins, Ablett, Dangerfield, Stanley, S.Selwood, Parfitt, Menegola
Brisbane: Beams, Zorko, McStay, Robinson, Taylor, Gardiner

INJURIES 
Geelong: Stewart (left ankle)
Brisbane: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Deboy, McInerney, Mollison

Official crowd: 28,226 at GMHBA Stadium