Round one is ancient history: Cats, Hawks

A round-one meeting feels like ancient history for AFL rivals Geelong and Hawthorn, with both coaches admitting plenty has changed since.

The Cats recorded an upset 30-point win over the Hawks on Easter Monday, when Patrick Dangerfield tallied 43 touches in a memorable club debut.

It is the only 2016 meeting the two sides have to draw on ahead of next Friday’s qualifying final at the MCG.

Dangerfield’s status as Brownlow medal favourite has been one of few constants in the following 22 rounds.

“It’s a little unique in that we haven’t played Hawthorn since round one, so testing ourselves against them has been impossible,” Cats coach Chris Scott said.

“I do say quite regularly that eight weeks is ancient history in AFL footy and I certainly subscribe to that theory.

“But it would be crazy not to go back and have a look at it to some extent, even to acknowledge how different the two teams are and (analyse) their strengths and weaknesses.”

Scott added the Hawks’ ability to evolve throughout the season has been impressive.

“We’re confident we have done that as well,” he added.

Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson echoed Scott’s thoughts, noting he was more interested in the Cats’ recent seven-match winning streak than what they did in round one.

Clarkson admitted he had been keeping a close eye on Geelong in recent weeks.

“The top five or six sides on the ladder, you’re always keeping an eye out for what they’re doing,” Clarkson said.

“Because what we did and what Geelong did in round one – it’s going to be very, very different to what we’ll see on Friday week.”

The Hawks have dropped two of their past four games and recorded an unconvincing one-point win over Collingwood in the final round of the season.

Scott wasn’t ready to join the pundits doubting Hawthorn’s hopes of a fourth straight flag.

“The performances across the season are an indication but we would expect them to play better than they have,” he said.

“We’re hoping to do the same thing.”

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