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HEAD TO HEAD: Played: 150, Hawthorn 67, Geelong 82, drawn 1
LAST TIME: Geelong 18.10 (118) def Hawthorn 17.14 (116), Round 19, 2012 at the MCG
WALKING WOUNDED: The Hawks are sweating on the fitness of a key quartet. Livewire Cyril Rioli (ankle) and defender Josh Gibson (ribs) will put their respective ailments to the test this week, as will captain Luke Hodge (knee) and former Bulldog Brian Lake (calf). But Hodge and Lake are less likely to feature in the blockbuster clash than Rioli and Gibson. Brendan Whitecross and Matt Suckling will definitely be absent as they recuperate from knee reconstructions.
Geelong will be without Josh Hunt who is recovering from glandular fever and ex-North Melbourne ruckman Hamish McIntosh (knee). Cats big man Trent West (knee) is still at least a week away and the club are hopeful Daniel Menzel will be available in 2-3 weeks after undergoing a third knee reconstruction late last year. Geelong will be short on talls in Round 1 with Dawson Simpson (back) also on their injury list.
FORM: Hawthorn had a very uninspiring pre-season. Other than their 81-point thumping of North Melbourne in their final hitout, the Hawks lost four matches on the trot to Gold Coast, Brisbane, the Bulldogs and Richmond – the last two by a solitary point.
Conversely, Geelong have been one of the form teams of the past few months. They beat West Coast in Perth and with very undermanned sides smashed Adelaide by 63 points and defeated North Melbourne by 12 before thumping Collingwood by 51. Their only defeat of the NAB Cup came against Fremantle in one of their abbreviated Round 1 matches in mid-February.
B: Josh Gibson, Brian Lake, Brent Guerra
HB: Grant Birchall, Ben Stratton, Shaun Burgoyne
C: Isaac Smith, Sam Mitchell, Bradley Hill
HF: Cyril Rioli, Lance Franklin, Luke Breust
F: Jack Gunston, Jarryd Roughead, Paul Puopolo
Foll: David Hale, Brad Sewell, Jordan Lewis
I/C (from): Jed Anderson, Shane Savage, Luke Shiels, Max Bailey, Ryan Schoenmakers, Kyle Cheney, Jonathan Simpkin
B: Jared Rivers, Tom Lonergan, Corey Enright
HB: Taylor Hunt, Harry Taylor, Travis Varcoe
C: Andrew Mackie, Paul Chapman, Joel Corey
HF: Jordan Murdoch, Shannon Motlop, Billie Smedts
F: James Podsiadly, Tom Hawkins, Mitch Duncan
Foll: Mark Blicavs, Joel Selwood, Jimmy Bartel
I/C (from): Trent West, Josh Caddy, Mathew Stokes, Allen Christensen, George Horlin-Smith, Josh Walker, Jake Stringer