Hawthorn and Geelong are one result away from conjuring the perfect tonic to the AFL’s long wait – a meeting of the arch-rivals in week one of the finals.
Cats coach Chris Scott is among many predicting a boring weekend off, with the start of the finals delayed by a week in a fixture experiment.
But should the Hawks beat Collingwood this Sunday, it will set up a qualifying final that may prove worth the wait.
Geelong did their bit to make the blockbuster meeting happen with a 111-point victory over Melbourne.
Afterwards, Scott said he’d prefer to be preparing for a final this weekend.
“In terms of the flow of the season and continuity – which I know is important to key people at the AFL – I think it’ll be a bit of a downer,” he said.
“But let’s hope the finals series more than makes up for it.
“If (the Hawks clash) does come to pass in a fortnight’s time I think it will be a big occasion and good for footy.”
Scott admitted the chance to finish in the top-two, made possible by Adelaide’s upset loss on Friday night, was driving his players against Melbourne.
Their reward is an MCG final, which will be against Hawthorn if Alastair Clarkson’s side win and Greater Western Sydney if the Magpies upset the three-time premiers.
Surprisingly, Scott said securing a home tie was never the priority.
“With the footy we’re playing we’d be confident that we could travel and get the job done as well,” he said.
“I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant or like we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
“We didn’t put a hell of a lot of time into thinking about where we were going to finish. It was more about playing our best footy.”
Should the Hawks claim a win, they’ll run into their arch-nemesis Tom Hawkins in red hot form.
The Geelong big man bagged 6.1 against the hapless Demons and Scott said his side felt the flow-on effects from his scoring streak.
“He was outstanding … really strong in the contest too,” he said.
“It’s a good confidence booster for him but it does help the team as well when your big power forward is in dominant form.”