Hawthorn has scored an outstanding 24-point upset win over rivals Geelong and are only one game outside of the AFL top eight.
The Cats’ post-bye wobbles continued on Sunday at the MCG as the well-drilled Hawks won 12.13 (85) to 8.13 (61).
Hawthorn won despite being a man down from early in the second quarter, when defender Jarman Impey was forced out of the game with a leg injury.
Hawks midfielder Liam Shiels marked his 200th game with a game-high 29 disposals and two goals, while Patrick Dangerfield was best for the Cats.
Hawthorn dominated Geelong, blunting the Cats’ ball movement and giving them few easy inside 50s.
While the Hawks are on a three-game winning streak, Geelong have won only two of five since their mid-season bye.
The Cats are just a game clear of emerging Brisbane at the top of the ladder.
After a goal-for-goal start, the Hawks had a three-goal run and led by 11 points at the first change.
Early in the second quarter, Impey landed awkwardly in a marking contest and his right leg buckled.
The stretcher was brought out before Impey limped from the field with the help of two trainers.
The Hawks threatened to take control, but could not capitalise and sprayed 3.9 for the quarter.
A goal to Tim O’Brien in the opening minute gave Hawthorn a game-high lead of 29 points and they had doubled Geelong’s score.
But the top side immediately counter-attacked, ramping up the pressure and going on a three-goal run in five minutes.
Then it was Geelong’s turn to waste their chances, kicking four-successive behinds at the end of the term.
They were all gettable shots andm instead of potentially leading at the last break, the Cats were down by 19 points.
Tom Hawkins’ booming goal from a tight angle, two minutes into the last quarter, reduced the margin to two goals.
James Frawley won a crucial one-on-one contest against Gary Rohan, with Esava Ratugolea out the back for a certain goal had the Hawks defender not gained possession.
Hawthorn rebounded and O’Brien kicked his third goal to give them a crucial three-goal buffer at five minutes.
Geelong blew another couple of chances and Hawthorn were able to close out the game, with young key forward Mitch Lewis kicking his third in the last minute for the icing on the cake.
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