Tom Hawkins has booted five goals with Geelong trumping reigning premiers Hawthorn by 19 points to remain the only undefeated side after five AFL rounds.
The two clubs put on another MCG thriller, the Cats winning 15.16 (106) to 12.15 (87) in a dramatic contest featuring everything fans have come to expect from the Easter Monday fixture.
It was a high-quality affair befitting the crowd of 80,222 and wouldn’t have looked out of place in September.
It was tight.
The Cats controlled proceedings early on but their lead never blew out beyond 12 points until Hawkins kicked a great goal from the 50m arc late in the third quarter.
Led by captain Luke Hodge, the Hawks responded and spent the early stages of the final term in front.
Hawkins stepped up again, clutching three contested marks in the final quarter when the game was in the balance and converting on each occasion.
“I’m slowly getting the confidence back,” said Hawkins, who finished with a game-high seven contested marks.
Victory was only assured when Steve Johnson capped a standout performance with a third goal, giving his side a 23-point point lead with three minutes remaining.
It was willing.
Hawkins finished the game with No.34 on his back after having two of his No.26 jerseys ripped by the opposition, revealing deep scratches on his chest after a scrap with Will Langford in the second quarter.
Hawkins and Langford’s tussle was one of many spot fires in a heated match.
Johnson’s game was a mixed bag – a handful of turnovers but also 34 touches, six clearances and no shortage of creative guile – yet he rivalled Hawkins for best afield honours.
Hamish McIntosh, taking on Hawthorn for the first time as a Cat, typified impressively his side’s immense forward-line pressure.
Cats skipper Joel Selwood’s influence was quelled early by Langford but he found more of the ball in the second half and helped tee up some crucial goals.
Sam Mitchell, for the fourth time in a row against Geelong, was a standout for Hawthorn but couldn’t drag his side over the line.
Luke Breust and Jack Gunston kicked three goals each for the Hawks, and lifted early in the final quarter as the Hawks threatened to run over the top.