THE TEMPERATURE has cooled on the Hawthorn-Geelong rivalry since it was at its most intense, when both clubs were counted among the leading premiership contenders.

But the flame still flickers and the Hawks' new breed - who pushed the Cats to within a kick in the corresponding fixture last year - are determined to re-stoke the fire in their Easter Monday showdown at the MCG.

"It's still a game that everyone wants to play because it's a landmark game and it's our version of Anzac Day, really," Hawthorn ruckman Ned Reeves said.

"It's a big game for us as a club.

"We're striving to climb the ladder, get better and push to be the best we can.

"The group that's playing at the moment is a lot younger than it has been in the past and we're all keen."

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Match Previews R5: Hawthorn v Geelong

Sportsbet's Nathan Brown and Matthew Richardson preview the game between the Hawks and the Cats at MCG

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First-year coach Sam Mitchell, a four-time premiership Hawk, played a central on-field role when the conflict with Geelong was at its hottest.

Mitchell's competitive nature came to the fore in recent days at Hawthorn training, where his players were put through extra body work in the hope it will spark them into action after a belting from St Kilda in round four.

"It was physical but it's not that uncommon, especially with Sam, he loves the real tough type of footy," Reeves said.

"We were due for a session like that anyway but the timing was probably perfect."

Ned Reeves celebrates a goal in Hawthorn's clash with St Kilda in round four, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

Hawthorn sprung a selection surprise for the Cats clash when they dropped midfielder James Worpel, with Daniel Howe and Finn Maginness also axed after the defeat to St Kilda.

Liam Shiels, Jacob Koschitzke and Tom Phillips all return.

Geelong have regained star duo Joel Selwood and Tom Stewart after the pair missed the round four win over Brisbane.