WATCHING back the third quarter of Geelong's preliminary final defeat to Richmond was uncomfortable viewing for Tom Hawkins, who revisited the game with teammates on Monday.
The Cats had taken a 21-point lead into half-time but eventually succumbed to the never-ending waves of Tiger pressure, ultimately losing by 19 points and watching on as their conquerors triumphed in the Grand Final.
Spearhead Hawkins missed the match after being landed with a one-game suspension for striking Eagle Will Schofield in the semi-final.
He had looked on from the stands as the Tigers broke free of the Cats, who struggled to find a target forward of centre in the second half without the big man.
"I've moved on, but to be fair, I haven't seen much coverage of it. We don't really talk about it too much. Having said that, yesterday we watched a bit of the third quarter, and we analysed it," Hawkins said.
"(At the time) first half was good to watch, but the second half was hard. It was hard. I knew my fate relatively early in the week in terms of missing through suspension, but it wasn't until the few days after – you're disappointed for your teammates for probably the first 24 hours.
"I wasn't out there to help contribute, I was watching with Mitch (Duncan) and he was missing through injury, but we were disappointed more so for our teammates. Then [came] the burden of suspension and watching parts of the Grand Final, that was probably the hardest part of it."
The Cats boosted their tall forward stocks during the 2019 Telstra AFL Trade Period, bringing in former Crow Josh Jenkins in exchange for a second-round selection.
It's been a problem area for Geelong for some time now, although athletic young forward Esava Ratugolea showed promising signs at the tail end of the 2019 season.
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Hawkins said he believed the three talls could co-exist in the same forward line.
"I certainly think adding Josh to our list has strengthened it. Having small conversations with him, he feels like the last couple of years with his ankle he hasn't quite been able to do what he wanted over pre-season, so he gets a full run at it and our footy club gives him a lot of confidence," he said.
"We as players feel like he can help us. He's a pretty flexible player; he can play in the ruck, as a high half-forward and I think where his strength lies is where he plays deep forward, he's really crafty in front of goal.
"He's really powerful, he's quite nimble for such a big guy, that's probably what surprised me, how big he actually is in terms of tall and broad through the shoulders and thick legs. He'll be a bit of a handful. Hopefully for his sake, he can get a full run at pre-season."
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