Cats prowl in tight year
Tom Hawkins. Photo: Getty Images
IN WHAT is shaping as the most keenly contested AFL season for a decade, Geelong flatly refuses to accept that its time is past, power forward Tom Hawkins said this week.
''The AFL competition is so even at the moment,'' he said. ''There's no easy games. Anyone can win it this year.''
Hawkins said he had been privileged to play alongside great players, in a great era. Peversely, he said, some still remained underrated: Joel Corey and Corey Enright, for instance. But he said the emerging generation - Nathan Vardy, Daniel Menzel and the surprising Steven Motlop, for three - were good enough to take the baton.
''Geelong is really well set-up as a footy club,'' he said. ''You've got blokes that really want to break into the team, and blokes that know they're on the edge and they've really got to be playing good footy to hold their spot. That's healthy.
''We've got great values, and we instil those in young players. That holds us in really good stead for the future.''
Hawkins is emerging as a key to that future. He has sustained last year's irresistible finals form into the start of the season, establishing himself as the most improved player at the club and perhaps in the competition.
He said the competition was improving rapidly, too. ''It's great as a player, it's great for supporters,'' he said. It meant, he said, that as long as Geelong kept pace with the improvement, there was no reason it could not win another premiership.