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Where: Melbourne Cricket Ground
When: Friday September 5 – 10.50am (BST)
Watch live: Click here to watch online with AFL Global Pass!
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The opening match of the 2014 AFL Finals series sees Hawthorn come up against bitter rivals Geelong on Friday at the MCG.
It just wouldn’t be finals time if the Hawks and the Cats didn’t square off and the two have produced some modern day classics on the big stage.
They played each other just two weeks ago in a game both sides have taken confidence from, however the stakes are much, much higher under the bright lights of the MCG in September.
Hawthorn received a blow on Thursday after Matthew Suckling was ruled out of the match due to knee issues, while Brian Lake looks likely to take the field after seemingly overcoming a hip injury and will shoulder the responsibility of keeping Cats forward Tom Hawkins quiet.
Geelong star Steve Johnson looks set to play after missing the last three weeks through injury which will come as a massive boost for the Cats.
Johnson is a September specialist and will be certain to cause the Hawks all sorts of problems even if not at 100%.
This one is huge. Make sure you tune in!
1. Hawthorn holds a 5-3 edge in finals against Geelong. The Hawks have won five of the past six finals between them, dating back to the 1989 Grand Final.
2. Expect plenty of set shots at goal on Friday night. Geelong has taken the most marks inside 50 this season, with an average of 11 a game. The Hawks are third with 9.6.
3. Geelong is the AFL’s second best team at taking contested marks, largely thanks to Tom Hawkins, who leads the competition with 50 this season.
4. Hawthorn has won 11 of its 16 qualifying finals. Geelong has won eight of its 15.
5. There is a huge discrepancy in clearances between the teams. The Hawks are the competition’s best with 40.8 a game; the Cats are the worst with 33.4.
6. Jordan Lewis could win Hawthorn’s best-and-fairest this season, but the prolific midfielder is only the fifth-highest ranked Hawk in the Official AFL Player Ratings.