Geelong has the wood over their Victorian rivals having won the last seven matches between the two clubs, many of which have been classic encounters. The last time the Hawks beat the Cats was the 2008 grand final.
But that could all change on Monday and the past weekend's events seem to indicate it just might. Hawthorn have had a blistering start to the season and claimed the prized scalp of 2011 grand finalists Collingwood last weekend. Meanwhile, at Geelong, not only did they lose the game to Fremantle but they lost their cool as well with serial pest Hayden Ballantyne getting the better of them.
Ballantyne did everything in his power to get under the skin of the Geelong players and eventually he burrowed deep enough and hit a nerve. Club veteran and arguably the best defender in the game, Matthew Scarlett clearly had enough of the young Freo player buzzing around him and he clocked Ballantyne with a left hook flush on the chin. Whether Ballantyne crossed any lines with his sledging and rough house tactics remains to be seen but either way Ballantyne clearly isn't new to the sledging game. A number of AFL players from other teams voiced their approval of Scarlett's retaliation through social networking tool, Twitter.
None of that helps Scarlett thought with the Cats accepting a three-match ban for striking for the veteran defender. Scarlett is sure to be kicking himself for the brain snap as not only will he miss the blockbuster clash at the MCG but now his beloved Geelong defensive line will be stretched thin with the possible inclusion of Hawk big man, Jarryd Roughhead.
The 2011 premiers, the Geelong Cats will desperately hoping to avoid a 0-2 start to the 2012 season. While the Hawks will be hoping to continue their good form and end their streak of losses at the hands of the Cats. Either way it will be a titanic battle and one not to miss!
Adam Schoenmaker is a high school chaplain in the northern suburbs of Brisbane for three days each week and serves two days a week in his local church. Adam loves a good book, a classic album and all Queensland sporting teams.
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