TRAVIS Varcoe will never forget the awful feeling that struck him as his shot at goal veered off target, denying Geelong a chance to push its preliminary final against Hawthorn into extra-time.

Steve Johnson had snapped a left-foot kick inside 50, and Varcoe had taken possession of a bouncing ball with 40 seconds left on the clock and the Cats trailing by six points.

By the time he steadied and put the Sherrin on his boot, there were just 38 seconds remaining. It was likely to be the last score of the game.

To Varcoe's dismay, the shot missed to the right. It was indeed the last score; the final margin was five points.

The loss ended Geelong's 11-game winning run against the Hawks, which stretched back to the 2008 Grand Final.

"Straight after it, it was pretty shattering," Varcoe told during a break in pre-season training at Simonds Stadium.

"I felt bad, because it would have made the scores level and you never know what could have happened after that.

"But we've just got to suck it up. They were better than us on the night.

"We'll put it in the memory bank and get on with it. It's no good thinking too much about what could have happened."

Near trade spurs Varcoe

But just as Varcoe will never forget his feeling as his kick missed its target, he will also be forever indebted to his teammates for the way they reacted after the game.

"All the boys were great," he said. "Not just the guys that played, everyone came up to me.

"It wasn't like I was left out on the ground thinking I was the worst person in the world.

"They all know how tough the game is, and if it was anyone else they would have done the same thing.

"The best bit of advice probably came from Stokesy, who I look up to a fair bit and who has been through some hard stuff himself.

"After our team meeting, he came up and said, 'No matter what, remember it's just a game. And games don't come down to one kick.'

"That brought the whole thing back into perspective. You think the world hates you, but it's not that bad. No one's died.

"I was a bit sombre that night, but you get to wake up the next morning and it's a new day."

The 25-year-old's family, especially his stepdaughter Olivia, were every bit as supportive.

"She was pretty upset after the game, which was understandable," Varcoe said. "But she came up and gave me a hug. She was gorgeous."

Now in the thick of pre-season training, Varcoe is confident that his famous miss won't cause him any mental demons during the Cats' 2014 campaign.

"It doesn't haunt me," he said. "I don’t have nightmare or anything like that."

Twitter: @AFL_AdamMcNicol