GEELONG spearhead Tom Hawkins is more than happy to share his forward line with Patrick Dangerfield in Saturday night’s AFL preliminary final against Brisbane.
Hawkins won his first Coleman Medal this season and last week became the third Cats player to reach 600 career goals, joining past champions Doug Wade and Gary Ablett Snr.
He and Dangerfield kicked four goals apiece in the semi-final thumping of Collingwood.
The versatile Dangerfield spent the vast majority of his time in attack.
It remains to be seen where the 2016 Brownlow Medal winner will line up against Brisbane.
“Pat’s such a dynamic player and he’s really hard to match up on so he often takes the best defender,” Hawkins said.
“It depends, too, because Pat’s got the ability to go into the midfield, so he might be down there for short bursts.
“I tend to try and play a little bit higher and leave Pat a bit deeper but that changes depending on the opposition.
“He’s great to be able to play alongside because he draws the footy to him and draws defenders to him, which makes our job easier.”
Hawkins kicked 0.5 in the qualifying final defeat to Port Adelaide as the Cats’ inaccuracy proved costly.
But he bounced back with 4.1 against the Magpies and said there was no secret to getting it right other than continuing to work on the craft.
Hawkins faces another showdown with All-Australian defender Harris Andrews in a personal battle at the Gabba that could go a long way towards determining the outcome of Saturday’s preliminary final.
The Cat ace kicked three goals in a 27-point win for his side when the pair last met, in round six at the SCG.
“He’s a great player and he’s got some great strengths, his ability in one-on-ones and the way that he reads the game is as good as anyone,” Hawkins said.
“We’ve played on each other a bit over the last few years and I’ll take confidence from the last time we played, but also what I did on the weekend, and just go out there and try to play my game.”
Hawkins tipped first-choice Geelong ruckman Rhys Stanley to play against Brisbane despite having his knee looked at by medical staff late in the win over Collingwood.
“Rhys got a knock late in the game but he trained today and seemed to be moving pretty freely,” Hawkins said on Tuesday.
“It’s tough for the coaches to pick the best side but it’s nice to be healthy and have players available.”
(C) AAP 2020