GEELONG VFL coach Matthew Knights says the Cats’ rivalry with Hawthorn simmers down to its second tier as both affiliates prepare for a do-or-die semi-final clash at Casey Fields today.

Box Hill, largely dominated by Hawthorn-listed players including Max Bailey, Broc McCauley, Chance Bateman and Kyle Cheney, played its most lethal second half of the season to dismantle Sandringham in last week’s elimination final.

It is considered an outsider to win against the Cats today, but it doesn’t faze Hawks coach Damian Carroll, who gained plenty of confidence out of last week’s hitout.

The Hawks forward line became potent last week with Amos Frank and Brad Hill providing plenty of spark alongside Adam Pattison, the focal point along with McCauley.


”There’s not too many people thinking that we can get over the top but internally we feel that we’re in a good position to attack a very good side,” Carroll said.

”We had a good side in [last week]. There’ll be a few changes this week that we have to deal with but we think that we’re in a pretty good position.

”We have to be at our best but we’re certainly ready for the challenge,” he said.

Hawks defender Jarrad Boumann returns for Stephen Gilham, who suffered a calf strain last week. He is only expected to miss one week.

”[Gilham] indicated to me that he’s certainly hopeful that we could have a win and give himself another chance at it. I think he’s determined to get back and give himself every chance,” Carroll said.

Beau Muston is also likely to return to add more ammunition to a midfield brimming with confidence.

Knights said his highly-favoured team will be raring to go for the occasion after being a dealt a 22-point loss to Port Melbourne last week.

”They’ve got a pretty big Hawk contingent at the moment when you’re talking about guys like Bailey and Gilham, they’re pretty good footballers in their own right, we’re going to have to play very well to succeed,” Knights said.

”Geelong and Hawthorn have built up quite a significant rivalry over the years … so that’s going to be an exciting game for our guys to be a part of because there is that rivalry there.”

Certainly, David Wojcinski and Shannon Byrnes will add vital experience for the Cats as they push for a finals return with youngsters Billie Smedts, Cameron Guthrie and Simon Hogan.

Geelong has a blend of VFL-listed talent including Troy Selwood, Dom Gleeson and Andrew McLean. The winner plays the Werribee Tigers in a preliminary final next Sunday.