TRIPLE premiership wingman Isaac Smith will turn student by examining Geelong counterpart Mitch Duncan's game ahead of Hawthorn's rare trip down the highway on Friday.
No Hawk remains from the club's last visit to face the Cats at GMHBA Stadium, a 52-point win with Alastair Clarkson at the helm in 2006.
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The Hawks have been training with tighter boundaries with cones brought in at Waverley Park in an attempt to replicate the 170x116m dimensions at Geelong.
And Smith admits it will present a different challenge compared to the playing surface the Hawks are accustomed to at the MCG (161x138m).
"It's actually a positive, I grew up playing on thin grounds which was nice, and you don't get lost like at the MCG, you're only one kick away from the ball the whole time," Smith said on Monday.
"I know as wingers we're pretty excited to get down there.
"(It might change) a few of your patterns running forward and defensively, there's not as much room.
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"(I'll) watch a bit of tape on Mitch Duncan, he seems to play pretty well down there.
"He likes to get in a position to mark the ball a lot, you see him take a lot of marks down there, it'll be interesting to see how it plays out."
The Hawks will complete their main contact session on Wednesday, a hitout that will determine Jaeger O'Meara's availability after he suffered a fracture above his eye a fortnight ago.
After a round one win over 2019 top-four side Brisbane, the clash against the Cats kickstarts a tough run of games for the Hawks that include Richmond, North Melbourne and Greater Western Sydney.
"As an older guy, it's nice to play the stronger sides early on," Smith said.
"Last year these were the stronger sides and if we come out ahead of the ledger then I think we're in a pretty spot to take on the season."