Geelong star Tom Hawkins must fight to overturn a one-match striking ban at the AFL tribunal if he is to play in Friday night’s blockbuster preliminary final against Richmond.
- Geelong won through to the AFL preliminary final with a 13.10 (88) to 10.8 (68) victory over West Coast
- They will face Richmond at the MCG next week for a spot in the grand final
- Tom Hawkins booted four goals against the Eagles, but the Cats may lose him for the prelim after an off-the-ball incident
Hawkins was running alongside Will Schofield in the third quarter of the Cats’ 20-point semi-final win over West Coast at the MCG, when he swung at the defender and caught him high.
Match review officer Michael Christian assessed the incident as intentional conduct, high contact and low impact, which draws a one-match suspension with an early plea.
Hawkins was facing pressure going into the game after the Cats spearhead had been inconsistent or out of form for several weeks.
He made amends against West Coast with a powerful display, taking four contested marks and having seven score involvements, kicking 4.1 for the match.
For all his good work, however, he will now miss the prelim unless the Cats can mount a successful challenge at the Tribunal.
Richmond was already favourite to advance after the Tigers’ impressive win over the Lions in Brisbane in the qualifying final a week ago.
The Tigers kicked 18.4 at the Gabba, and without Hawkins — who kicked four of the Cats’ 13 goals against West Coast — the task facing Geelong will be even harder.