Captain Joel Selwood has called the work Geelong put into Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell an attempt to “influence” the AFL star.
One of the features of the Cats’ epic qualifying final win over Hawthorn on Friday night was a series of furious physical clashes, with key players such as Selwood and Mitchell frequently involved.
At one stage, Selwood and his brother Scott went toe-to-toe with Mitchell in a push and shove.
Scott Selwood was recalled specifically to tag the influential Hawthorn utility and it was an eventful duel.
“We obviously want to influence the players that we think set them up really quite well and Sam is one of those,” the Geelong captain said.
“We have much respect for him.
“We sat Scott on him for fair periods of the game and then in other parts we let him run free.”
Asked about the Selwood brothers v Mitchell scrap, the Cats captain said it was not planned.
Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge played most of the game with his head bandaged, typifying the game’s aggression.
The match review panel will also probably look at a first-half clash between the Cats captain and Hawks onballer Jordan Lewis.
“I heard it after the game but I’m not sure what the incident was,” Selwood said.
“I don’t know that he has too much to worry about.”
Selwood added the overriding emotion after the game was relief and he said the Cats got out of jail with the two-point win.
It was the most-watched game on free-to-air TV since last year’s grand final.
Cats key forward Tom Hawkins called it one of the best games he had played in and Selwood said they were thankful to reach the preliminary final.
Selwood also had sympathy for Hawthorn onballer Isaac Smith, whose shot at goal after the siren went through for a point.
The Cats captain said immediately after the ball left Smith’s boot, he thought it was a goal and they would have to play the semi-final next weekend against the Western Bulldogs.
“He’s a very good kick and I actually watched it from in front of him,” Selwood said.
“It came off his boot really well but it just faded away.
“I did think it was going in.
“I’m sure he’d put his hand up to take that kick again one day.”
The Cats were 17 points behind in the third term and Selwood said they had plenty of room for improvement.
“We didn’t picture the game like it was last night – we probably moved the ball a bit quick at times and allowed them to use the ball, use the game style they wanted,” he said.
“It was a game of inches in the end.
“They’re a good footy side and they’re going to hold momentum for a long time.
“For us, it was just about hanging on and then when we got our opportunities, just to take (them).”