Geelong hero Tom Hawkins could be wiped out of Friday night’s preliminary final against Richmond after a clumsy strike on Will Schofield marred his brilliant return to form.
Hawkins — who pushed the Cats 14 points clear with his fourth goal halfway through the last quarter — collected the Eagle defender with a swinging round-arm motion to the back of the head.
Melbourne great Garry Lyon said on SEN: “He ain’t playing again this year” after the off-the-ball hit in the third term.
Legendary goalkicker Wayne Carey said Hawkins’ hopes of escaping with a fine when match review officer Michael Christian assesses the incident would be boosted by Schofield playing out the semi-final thriller at the MCG.
Matthew Richardson told Channel 7: “It was off the footy I just don’t get why he was doing it. The fact it was a long way off footy doesn’t help him”.
Tom Hawkins could be cited for his high hit which floored Will Schofield.Picture: Supplied, AFL PhotosSchofield appeared rattled for a couple of minutes, but his ability to play on indicated he was not concussed.
Christian — who has not suspended any player since Round 18 — is likely to grade the third-quarter incident high contact and low impact.
If Hawkins’ action is deemed intentional then he is set to sit in the stands when the Cats and Tigers battle for a place in the Grand Final.
That would leave sidekick Esava Ratugolea (three goals) to spear Geelong’s attack.
Hawkins, who was bizarrely not asked about the incident by Channel 7 post-match, said the Cats wanted to “throw the first punch”.
“We were under a fair bit of pressure externally. But internally we knew this group was good enough. It is a new team, it’s a new make-up,” Hawkins said after the Cats avoided becoming the first minor premier since 1983 to bow out in straight sets.
“We wanted to play ballsy football and I thought we did. Getting (Mark) Blicavs and Sam Menegola on the wing, two excellent runners and they set the tone for us.”