There are big games and there are really big games, and Geelong-Hawthorn clashes fit into the second category.
Both sides are unbeaten after four rounds, with Hawthorn sitting on top of the bookies’ markets for the flag.
“It’s always a little bit different for the really big games,” Geelong coach Chris Scott told reporters on Tuesday.
“Most good clubs pride themselves on their consistency of process, and we’re not different to that, to an extent.
“But we do embrace the big occasions. We really value players who stand up on the big stage against the best opposition, and this will be a big stage and they will be very good opposition.
“We’re all just so proud to be part of this era and this rivalry.
“I can’t imagine a better time to be a Geelong or a Hawthorn supporter. I think we will all look back on this era and recognise it as one of the great times in football history.
“It’s a stand-alone game on Easter Monday at the MCG. I can’t imagine wanting for a bigger occasion to come and see two good teams go hard at each other.”
In the past decade Geelong have won premierships in 2007, 2009 and 2011, while the Hawks have claimed flags in 2008 and 2013.
The two clubs clashed in one of the great grand finals of the game’s history in 1989. However their recent rivalry kicked off when Hawthorn beat the Cats in the 2008 grand final.
In round one of 2009, the Cats began an 11-match winning run against Hawthorn that was broken in last year’s preliminary final.
The preliminary-final margin was five points and no doubt it sits heavily on the hearts of some of Geelong’s star players.
“We’ll be trying absolutely as hard as we can in this game, and previous results don’t influence that too much,” Scott said.
“But if it means something for some of our players, and we can use that as a positive, then I’m not going to work against it.”
Scott says the Hawks are playing great footy.
“They probably looked at their fixture and saw they played Essendon and Fremantle and Geelong in the first five rounds and knew they needed to be up and going, which clearly they are,” Geelong’s 2011 premiership mentor said.
“No one uses the ball better or attacks better than Hawthorn, but we give ourselves some chance of winning the game.”