Both Hawthorn and Geelong have served up some enthralling contests over the years. (Photo: afl.com.au)

Ahead of the traditional blockbuster Easter Monday clash on Monday afternoon, The Inner Sanctum looks back at some of the major flashpoints of this modern rivalry built across the best part of 15 years. 

Ahead of the traditional blockbuster, Easter Monday clash, on Monday afternoon, The Inner Sanctum looks back at some of the major flashpoints of this modern rivalry built across the best part of 15 years. 

2008 Grand Final: The biggest Grand Final upset in the modern era

Having lost only one game during the home and away season, Geelong entered the 2008 Grand Final as clear favourites to secure back-to-back premierships. 

In its first grand final appearance since 1991, a youthful Hawthorn side arrived on the biggest stage, arguably years before its time. 

Prior to the opening bounce, Geelong forward, Matthew Stokes, took no time at all to test out the ribs of Hawthorn’s Luke Hodge, who had entered the match bruised from the week before. The Hawthorn backman simply lifted both arms above his head, baiting Stokes to give it his best shot.

A seesawing first-half finished with Hawthorn holding a slender three-point lead, however not before Geelong key forward, Cameron Mooney, earned himself an unwanted grand final moment after the half-time siren. Lining up for goal from point-blank range, Mooney sprayed his kick to the left in what proved to be symbolic of Geelong’s day.

However, the game perhaps is most remembered by a devastating third term from Hawthorn and its off-season recruit, Stuart Dew. A brilliant five-minute patch in the third quarter from Dew swung the game in Hawthorn’s favour. Two huge goals on his raking left boot extended Hawthorn’s lead to five goals with two minutes remaining in the quarter, ultimately proving the difference in the match.

Stuart Dew celebrates a goal during the third quarter of Hawthorn’s 2008 grand final victory. (Photo: afl.com.au)

It was much of the same in the final term as Hawthorn ran out 26-point winners, securing the club’s 10th premiership in its history. A fairytale afternoon for the Hawks and Shane Crawford in his last AFL game, but a nightmare for the highly fancied Cats.

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The birth of the “Kennett Curse”

Following Hawthorn’s triumph in 2008, Hawthorn’s President at the time, Jeff Kennett, didn’t mince his words heading into the 2009 season. 

Featuring on Fox Footy, Kennett declared that Geelong didn’t possess the “psychological drive” to beat Hawthorn when it mattered, causing a stir amongst the Cats playing group.

While it’s never been confirmed by those inside the four walls of the Geelong Football Club, it’s been well speculated that a Paul Chapman led pledge to never lose to Hawthorn again was born. Regardless of what was said, no-one could have predicted what was to follow. 

Jimmy Bartel kicks a point

Round 17 of the 2009 season set the scene for an iconic finish to one of many enthralling encounters between these two sides. With the Hawks leading by 28 points in early stages of the final term, the Cats rallied late to boot the last five goals of the game, setting up a heart-stopping finish.

Having lost both key defenders, Matthew Scarlett and Harry Taylor, to injury for the majority of the second half, the Cats needed a hero to emerge. Enter 2007 Brownlow medallist, Jimmy Bartel. With the scores tied up and seconds remaining, a scrappy kick from Geelong’s Joel Corey found its way into the arms of Bartel deep in the right forward-pocket at the Punt Road end. 

All Bartel needed was a behind to give Geelong victory, and as the rain tumbled at the MCG, he calmly slotted the most significant point of his illustrious career. 

Jimmy Bartel is mobbed by teammates after kicking the winning point. (Photo: geelongcats.com.au)

Tom Hawkins’ goal after the siren

In a match that is best remembered for its breathtaking finale, Hawthorn and Geelong’s Friday night clash in Round 19 of the 2012 season epitomised the ebbs and flows of AFL football. 

Geelong stormed out of the gates in the opening term, kicking nine goals to Hawthorn’s two to lead by a whopping 45 points at quarter-time. However, as is the norm between these two great rivals, the game was far from over.

Hawthorn responded in the second term to reduce the margin to 17 points and clawed its way back into the contest before the end of the half. After staying in touching distance in the third, Hawthorn made its move in the last, hitting the front for the first-time on the night courtesy of a Brad Sewell goal.

But with five minutes still remaining, Geelong would fight till the end, holding off repeated Hawthorn inside 50’s to stay in the hunt.

As the clock ticked under one minute, Hawthorn appeared all but certain to end their losing streak against Geelong. With the ball deep inside their forward 50, small forward Paul Puopolo looked destined to seal the game, however an attempted flying soccer kick at goal turned horribly wrong, spraying off the side of his boot and landing in the hands of Andrew Mackie, who would, in turn, launch a last-ditch attack.

Now trailing by two points with less than 30 seconds on the clock, Geelong skipper Joel Selwood streamed through the centre of the MCG and hit up a full chested Tom Hawkins.

Lining up from beyond the 50-metre arc, a young Hawkins kicked for goal as the final siren sounded. Striking the ball sweetly, Hawkins’ kick sailed through the big sticks, sending Cats fans into raptures and compounding Hawthorn supporters’ heartache.

Tom Hawkins kicks a goal after the siren to give Geelong the victory in 2012. (Photo: geelongcats.com.au)

Hawkins’ match-winning goal was his sixth of the night and third for the quarter, having tormented a young Ryan Schoenmakers all game.

In the words of Dennis Cometti, the cat was still on the back. Hawthorn had now lost to Geelong on nine consecutive occasions since the 2008 Grand Final, leaving the Hawks faithful to question if the ‘Kennett Curse’ would ever end.

2013 Preliminary Final: The curse is broken

On a night that would ultimately shape the Hawthorn playing group’s legacy, the 2013 Preliminary Final delivered in spades for any football fan. Full of tension and drama, the clash serves an iconic flashpoint in this modern rivalry.

Having secured 11 consecutive victories over Hawthorn, Geelong intended to pile on the pain and book themselves a spot in the decider. Meanwhile, Hawthorn entered the game desperate for a shot at redemption, following grand final heartbreak at the hands of Sydney the year before.

In a hotly contested opening half, the Hawks took a narrow four-point lead into the main break, with neither side able to gain the ascendancy on the scoreboard. 

However, a blistering third term from Geelong threatened to break the game wide open. Chris Scott’s side booted seven goals to Hawthorn’s three, including two majors in the final few minutes of the quarter to give themselves a considerable lead.

Trailing now by 20 points at three-quarter time, the Hawks looked destined to again fall at the hands of Geelong. But one of the most defining quarters in the club’s history was to ensue. 

The Hawks rallied in the final term to give themselves a shot at glory. Goals from Lance Franklin, Bradley Hill and Jack Gunston brought the Hawks to within a kick of the Cats, before an iconic goal from Shaun Burgoyne put them in front.

Receiving a handball from Gunston in the forward pocket, Burgoyne bolted towards goal and emphatically slotted his third major of the night. Celebrating with his arms spread like an eagle; Hawthorn fans were sent into a frenzy. 

Yet again, as was always the case between these two foes, a few twists and turns would still be in store.

The Hawks preceded to kick four points following Burgoyne’s goal, leaving the door ajar for the Cats who now trailed by six points. 

With 40 seconds remaining, Travis Varcoe found himself in space inside Geelong’s forward 50, however failed to convert his shot at goal in what would have levelled the scores and sent the game to extra time. 

Hawthorn would eventually hang on to win by 5 points, flipping the script and snapping their mounting losing streak against Geelong. It was a heroic performance from Burgoyne who finished the night with 24 disposals and three goals, including the match-winner.

An overwhelming amount of emotion filled the MCG that night, for those in the stadium witnessed a truly captivating game of football.

Isaac Smith’s miss after the siren

The stage was set for another intense finals encounter between the two sides as they faced off in the 2016 Qualifying Final . 

The Hawks appeared to be in control of the contest at the midway point of the third term, leading by 17 points. But Geelong arrested the momentum, finishing the third quarter strongly to lead by two points heading into the last. 

It was goal-for-goal in the final quarter, with Geelong’s Josh Caddy kicking what turned out to be the sealer.

However, the most significant moment would in fact come after the siren. Trailing by three points, Hawthorn surged the ball forward in the dying seconds of the game, allowing Luke Breust to hit up Isaac Smith 40 metres out from goal. Seconds later, the final siren would sound, giving Smith the chance to send Hawthorn to their sixth consecutive Preliminary Final.

Caught with a wry smile, Smith’s shot faded to the right, sending Geelong fans into delirium.

This served as the first nail in the coffin for Hawthorn’s four peat aspirations, who would go on to lose to eventual premiers, the Western Bulldogs, the following week. On the flip-side, it was a sweet victory for Geelong, who had failed to beat Hawthorn in its previous three finals encounters. 

Ultimately, it was just another nail-biter to add to the collection. Yes, another. 

Patrick Dangerfield heroics

After being thrashed by Geelong to the tune of 86 points on Easter Monday, Hawthorn entered their Round 17 clash with the Cats in 2017 hoping to atone for their early season blow-out. It also marked Luke Hodge’s 300th AFL game, a significant day for himself and the Hawthorn Football Club.

In his first season with Geelong, superstar recruit, Patrick Dangerfield, loomed large to spoil Hodge’s celebrations. However, a leg injury sustained in the first term threatened to derail his day.

An attempted kick from the powerful midfielder resulted in his leg colliding with Hawthorn’s Jarryd Roughead, forcing him to be carried off the ground. Nevertheless, a hobbling Dangerfield returned to the field in the second term, occupying a spot inside Geelong’s forward 50.  

From that point onwards, Dangerfield put on a masterclass, kicking five goals and six behinds contributing to his 15 score involvements. Even the milestone man, Luke Hodge, couldn’t contain him, who attempted to minimise his influence in the latter part of the game.

Poetically, Isaac Smith would have a chance in the final seconds of the match to steal the win off Geelong. Taking a mark inside 50 with a mere eight seconds left, Smith preceded to play on and once again drag his shot to the right, handing Geelong a dramatic three-point win.

Roughead’s point to win it

Only one point separated the sides in Round 2 of the 2018 season, in what was a high scoring affair at the MCG. 

Hawthorn led at every break heading into the final term, holding an 18-point lead at three-quarter time. Yet as is the case in these encounters, no lead is ever comfortable.

Geelong produced their best spell of football for the day in the last term, kicking four goals in a row to level the scores and hold all the momentum with just under four minutes remaining.

But in the final two minutes, Hawthorn’s captain, Jarryd Roughead, would be the beneficiary of an Isaac Smith kick, taking a mark deep in the right forward pocket. Snapping on his preferred left foot, Roughead missed to the near side, giving the Hawks a one-point lead and mirroring Jimmy Bartel back in 2009 to hand his side the victory.

Hawthorn on-baller, Tom Mitchell, finished the day with 40 touches and two goals in a monumental performance, while Gary Ablett Jr. collected 35 touches to go with a goal in a losing side.

Round 3 2021: Jordan Clark runs the length of the ground

In what was largely a dour affair up until three-quarter time, this game sprung to life as a young Hawks outfit showed dare and spirit to will themselves back into the contest.

Trailing by four goals and having kicked only five themselves up until the three-quarter time, the Hawks gave the Cats an almighty scare, closing the gap to four points with three and a half minutes left in the game.

However, a remarkable goal from Geelong youngster, Jordan Clark, minutes earlier proved to be the decisive moment. After receiving a handball from Jack Henry in the centre-square, Clark would go on to link up with both Hawkins and Henry again to stream into an open goal and give Geelong much needed breathing space. His speed and athleticism was on full display in a breathtaking counter-attack from the Cats.

Geelong hung on for a five-point win after a drama-filled last term. The game also marked the first time wingman Isaac Smith lined up against his former side, following his trade to Geelong in 2020.

Isaac Smith embraces former Hawthorn teammate Shaun Burgoyne after his new side’s five point win. (Photo: afl.com.au)

Looking ahead to this week’s clash

Plenty of intrigue surrounds this season’s clash between Hawthorn and Geelong. Having been involved in this modern rivalry for many years as a player, Sam Mitchell will now lead the Hawks as coach for the first time on Easter Monday.

Despite both club’s being on different trajectories in terms of their premiership ambitions, this clash seems to always deliver regardless of ladder position. 

In its last 10 encounters, Geelong have won seven and enter the game having won its last three against the Hawthorn.

Hawthorn will be looking to respond following its 69-point thrashing at the hands of St Kilda last week, while Geelong will be hoping to extend its record to 4-1 in season 2022.

Let’s hope that this year’s Easter Monday battle provides the footy public with another memorable chapter in this fierce rivalry.

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