Cats too good for young Hawks

Lui Zacher
February 24, 2023 / 10:23 pm

GEELONG’S three key AFL trade recruits have made promising starts as the premiers mauled a young Hawthorn side by 85 points.

Cats newcomers Ollie Henry, Taylor Bruhn and Jack Bowes were all prominent on Thursday at GMHBA Stadium, while fringe key position player Esava Ratugolea also impressed in the 21.12 (138) to 7.11 (53) romp.

In the first pre-season hitout between clubs on Thursday, the Cats continued where they left off from last September’s thumping grand final win over Sydney.

The two clubs were to play well into Thursday evening, but the first four periods were set aside mainly for their AFL players.

Henry, who was recruited from Collingwood to join his brother Jack at the Cats, kicked his fourth goal at the end of the fourth period.

Bruhn (GWS) and Bowes (Gold Coast) also showed plenty through the midfield.

Jack Henry kicked two goals early but did not return after the first two periods, and it’s understood he suffered a foot injury.

Henry is an option to fill in for Tom Hawkins, who is out of action after needing foot surgery.

Star key forward Jeremy Cameron also kicked four goals in the rout, while classy small forward Tyson Stengle had flashes of brilliance.

While it was only a dress rehearsal, it exposed the gulf in class and experience that the young Hawks must overcome if they are to be competitive this season.

They are rebuilding, with top onballers Jaeger O’Meara (Fremantle) and Tom Mitchell (Collingwood) gone and veteran forward Jack Gunston also moving to Brisbane.

After Hawthorn’s Jarman Impey kicked the first goal, it was all Geelong.

Will Day and Jai Newcombe were lively, and Dylan Moore kicked three goals, but the Hawks could not penetrate Geelong’s rock-solid defence and were torched regularly on the rebound.

Premiership defender Sam De Koning spent time in attack for Geelong, who were without Hawkins, Mitch Duncan and Gary Rohan.

The Hawks lost Changkouth Jiath to calf soreness before the hitout.

(C) AAP 2023


Image: Recruit Ollie Henry impressed in Geelong’s practice match against Hawthorn. (Geelong Cats Image/Susie Giese)