Geelong coach Chris Scott calls Tom Hawkins’ AFL suspension a mistake – and says a lot of people agree.
The Cats are fuming over the key forward’s one-game ban for striking GWS co-captain Phil Davis.
It means Hawkins will miss Saturday night’s big match against top side North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.
Had Geelong taken the case to the tribunal, they would have risked a two-game suspension.
That means if the third-placed Cats failed, they also would have been without their spearhead for next week’s match against the fourth-placed Western Bulldogs.
“No-one should assume that we are happy with it – I think that goes without saying,” Scott said on Thursday.
“I don’t need to say it any more. We clearly disagree. I think the football world disagrees.
“In football and in life sometimes mistakes are made and you have just got to deal with it so we think we’re really well prepared to deal with the situation.”
While many think Hawkins’ punishment for punching Davis to the neck was harsh, Carlton captain Marc Murphy dissented.
Murphy agreed the suspension was “pretty stiff”, but he said Hawkins was in trouble because his punch made clear contact with Davis’ chin.
The Cats have Rhys Stanley and Nathan Vardy to potentially take Hawkins’ place.
Scott said they would try to turn Hawkins’ absence into an advantage.
“We don’t have anyone in our club who can play his role the same way he does,” Scott said.
“So there is the opportunity for us to set up a little bit differently, make ourselves a little less predictable to the opposition.
“The challenge for the opposition now is to wonder what we are going to do.”
The Cats have won four of their past six games without Hawkins.
Scott added they are planning for North to play star ruckman Todd Goldstein, who missed last week’s big win over Richmond with a knee injury.