K rock Football

Hawkins ready for run to finals

Tom Hawkins in action during Geelong’s Round 16 win over Sydney. (AAP Image/David Moir)

TEN days shy of his 30th birthday, Tom Hawkins says he is feeling fresh as Geelong looks to again put itself in a position to have a crack at the AFL premiership.

The power forward, who will play game 225 against Adelaide on Thursday night, says he takes extra care with his preparation.

“I’m getting to the age now where you really have to be mindful of what you’re doing,” Hawkins said.

“I think I’ve been pretty good at that the last couple of years … you just have to keep an eye on things a bit more.

“The body feels great. But there’s a lot more work that goes into it now than when I was in my early 20s.

“I’m feeling really good physically. Mentally, I’m feeling great. I’m looking forward to the second half of the year.”

Hawkins kicked ten goals in the first seven rounds (he was a late withdrawal from the Round 5 win over Port Adelaide), including being held goalless against Melbourne and St Kilda.

But since returning from suspension for umpire contact against Greater Western Sydney in Round 7, he is averaging just under three goals, 16 possessions and seven marks a game.

“I’ve probably found a bit more continuity than what I had at the start of the year,” Hawkins said.
“I’m feeling a bit more confident in the way that I’m playing, which certainly helps, and probably the way we’ve structured up has helped me get the opportunity to get a bit more up the ground, and I’ve also been able to get back inside forward 50.
“I’ve had a bit of luck along the way, but just trying to stay confident in my ability and work hard out on the ground.
“In saying that, I don’t think I’ve had any standout games, which you are always trying to do to be the best possible player you can be for your teammates.
“I’ve been happy that I’ve been a bit more consistent, but I’m still always striving to be better.”
Making Hawkins’ form even more impressive is that in a revolving door forward line he has been one of the few consistent faces in during 2018.
He’s unsure what makeup it will take if Geelong can get everyone fit and healthy by September.

I’d love for ‘Sav’ (Esava Ratugolea) to get the opportunity if we can play finals at the end of the year – I’d love for him to get the experience of playing a final as a 20-year-old,” Hawkins said.

“Lincoln McCarthy, hopefully, he can get back. Cory Gregson’s still well in the mix. ‘Menz’ (Daniel Menzel), whether it’s this week or next week, will come back into the side and he’s a really important piece of our puzzle.

“I just want everyone to be fit and healthy and give themselves a chance to play.

“I don’t know what our best line-up looks like, but it’s fair to say the coaching staff haven’t had the opportunity to pick their best side this year, purely due to the fact we’ve had injuries and then sometimes suspension.”

However, the point might be moot if Geelong can’t get over the top of Adelaide this week.

A win keeps the Cats in the mix for a top-four finish, but also makes it difficult for last year’s grand finalist to again be there in September.

“I think we’ve got a draw in the second half of the year that throws up a couple of big games, really important games, that are almost worth eight points in a lot of ways with where we’re positioned at the moment,” Hawkins said.
“We get the opportunity again this week to head interstate and try and get another scalp, so that’s the way we’re looking at it.
“We’ll go out and hunt Adelaide as the opposition. We feel they play really good footy at Adelaide Oval.
“Probably their form and personnel that they’ve had in and out in the last five or six weeks probably isn’t a true indication of what they’re capable of, so we’re under no illusion.
“At their best, they’re as good as anyone, and that’s how we’ve got to prepare. It’s a great opportunity for us as a team to head over and beat a side interstate.”
Twitter: @tom_king79








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