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Kennet’s curse all between Hawks and Grand Final berth

The fierce rivalry between Hawthorn and Geelong has provided some of the best football we’ve seen in recent time. Nail biting final quarters and miraculous comebacks promise a thrilling match on Friday night, when the two battle it out on the MCG for a spot in the Grand Final.

On paper ‘Kennet’s curse’ is all that stands between Hawthorn and securing the first Grand Final spot up for grabs. The Hawks swept away Sydney in the second half of their Qualifying Final, limiting the Swans to a paltry 3 goals 5 to Hawthorn’s 11 goals 8. Keep in mind that this goal scoring rampage was without key forward Lance Franklin, due to suspension.

The Cats on the other hand, were embarrassed on the first week of finals with a rare loss to a visiting side in Fremantle. This spurned a more comprehensive performance against Port Adelaide at the MCG to ensure a comfortable 16 points. However, both games revealed some uncharacteristic vulnerabilities in the Cat’s game plan that need to be mended before Friday’s final.

Hawthorn will benefit with the return of two key forwards in Lance Franklin from suspension and Cyril Rioli from injury. Geelong are without Corey Enright due to a knee injury he sustained on the weekend and veteran forward Paul Chapman who received a one-match-ban for a dangerous bump on Port Adelaide’s Robbie Gray.

Although Hawthorn seem more likely to come away with a win, history suggests otherwise. The Cats remarkable 11 game winning streak against the Hawks has as much to do with Hawthorn’s concerning patten of comically throwing away leads as much as Geelong’s fire power. Take Round 1 of this year for example. The Hawks threw away a 2o point half-time lead, allowing Geelong to score 8 of the next 10 goals to secure an opening victory. Hawthorn’s last win against Geelong was in 2008, the same day they won their 10th premiership.

However, this Hawthorn team looks very different to the team that lost in Round 1 and so does Geelong.

Hawthorn’s forward line is easily one of the best in the competition. The partnership between Lance Franklin and Coleman Medalist, Jarred Roughead have contributed one third of Hawthorn’s goals this season, making the pair the most potent attacking duos in the league. The supporting Forward acts, Luke Breust and Jack Gunston have proven themselves as effective ball handlers and consistent scoreboard contributors throughout the season.

Geelong are familiar to finals pressure having played in 9 of the past 10 finals series. Unfortunately, this time around, Geelong don’t look as threatening. Fremantle first pounced upon the opportunity to run Geelong dry, before Port Adelaide gave the Cats a serious run for their money last week. Too many unfamiliar errors have crept into the Cats game in recent weeks as senior players like Jimmy Bartel, James Podsiadly and Andrew Mackie looked a little subdued, nowhere near the heights we have come used to.

The Verdict

Despite performances in the lead up to these two sides facing off, the form guide can easily be thrown out the window. For years Geelong have shown they’re a force to be reckoned with, recent history is on their side. Tempting as it is, Hawthorns efforts in recent weeks can’t be ignored. Geelong aren’t the team they used to be and without the extra week of rest, they will find it very difficult produce a win. Hawthorn are a side with a point to prove and have been waiting for another chance at the flag since their win in 2008. Friday presents the best opportunity they’ve had to break ‘Kennet’s Curse’.

Hawthorn by 13 in a tight final quarter.

Luxbet are offering $1.37 on Hawthorns to beat Geelong to put themselves into the Grand Final on the 28th of September

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