'Curse' sees Selwood lead Geelong to victory over Hawks
A NEVER-SAY-DIE effort from Cats skipper Joel Selwood helped his side claw its way back from a 20-point half-time deficit to beat arch-rivals Hawthorn by seven points in another epic at the MCG on Monday.
Selwood gathered 33 possessions and a goal as Geelong's 13.15 (93) to 12.14 (86) victory extended its hoodoo against the Hawks to 10 games.
After Hawthorn upset Geelong to win the 2008 grand final, Cats star Paul Chapman famously declared his team did not want to "ever let Hawthorn beat us again".
Geelong has now won all 10 games since, creating what has become known as "the Kennett curse", so named because then Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett declared after the grand final win that Geelong "lacked the mental drive" to beat his team.
Hawthorn fans must have hoped the tide was about to turn when their side jumped out a 30-point lead deep into the second quarter.
With big men Max Bailey, Jarryd Roughead and David Hale on top at the centre clearances, and veterans Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis, Brad Sewell and Brent Guerra combining with young speedster Bradley Hill to pick up possessions at will, the Hawks were completely dominating their opponents.
But missed shots at goal proved costly, and when Tom Hawkins and Travis Varcoe booted late goals for the Cats the spectre of another cursed fadeout loomed large.
With Selwood setting the example, the Cats lifted their workrate and execution in the third quarter, opening a 21-point lead after booting the first four goals of the term.
While Geelong was able to set up loose players and move the ball into its forward line with great efficiency, Hawthorn was forced to bomb it long inside its forward 50, giving Cats defenders like Andrew Mackie, Tom Lonergan and Corey Enright the opportunity to smother star Hawks forward Buddy Franklin.
Hawthorn battled on manfully, and while missed opportunities by Jack Gunston and Luke Bruest in particular proved costly in the final quarter, Geelong always seemed in control.
GEELONG 1.5 5.7 10.12 13.15 (93)
Goals: Hawkins, Smedts, Podsiadly, Duncan 2, Chapman, Varcoe, Selwood, Mackie, Christensen.
Best: Selwood, Chapman, Mackie, Taylor, Smedts, Stokes, Enright
HAWTHORN 4.3 8.9 10.10 12.14 (86)
Goals: Franklin, Breust, Savage 2, Lewis, Guerra, Hale, Rioli, Smith, Roughead.
Best: Mitchell, Sewell, Birchall, Lewis, Schoenmakers, Rioli.