MELBOURNE - Defending premiers Hawthorn moved a step closer to a third consecutive grand final appearance with a 36-point win in a high-pressure qualifying final against Geelong last night.
Geelong surged late in the second term to level the scores at 6.5 (41) each at half time.
But the Hawks kicked nine goals to the Cats' four in the second half to win 15.14 (104) to 10.8 (68) in front of a crowd of more than 74,000 at the MCG.
Jordan Lewis and Jack Gunston kicked three goals each and Sam Mitchell and Bradley Hill were outstanding in midfield for the Hawks, who advance to the preliminary final in two weeks' time.
Geelong, which was superbly led by tireless skipper Joel Selwood, will face the winner of tonight's North Melbourne-Essendon elimination final next weekend in a knockout clash.
The Cats started the game full of running and kicked the first two goals of the game with Steve Johnson dominant. However, playmaker Sam Mitchell had an impact for the Hawks who scored the last three goals of the first term to lead 3.4 (22) to 2.1 (13) at quarter-time.
The Cats kicked four goals in the second term including Josh Walker's 51-metre effort after the siren to level the scores at half time.
Gunston kicked two of Hawthorn's four goals in the third term and the Hawks went to three-quarter time with a 14-point advantage, 10.8 (68) to 8.6 (54).
Luke Breust's goal early in the final term put the Hawks ahead by 20 points but Mark Blicavs responded with a goal for the Cats at the 11-minute mark.
With less than eight minutes left on the clock, Jarryd Roughead weaved one through from the boundary as the Hawks went 22 points clear.
Lewis put an exclamation point on the win with two last-quarter goals, prompting a fist-pumping celebration from Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson.
Hawthorn kicked clear with a five-goal last term to Geelong's two.