Hawthorn rookie Kade Stewart has turned into an unexpected after-siren hero with his long-distance shot on Friday night landing his side somewhat of an underwhelming four-point win over Geelong in Launceston.
Underwhelming that is in the sense the three-game West Australian won the preseason clash from 45 metres out to little fanfare.
Stewart raised his arm as it sailed on target to celebrate putting the Hawks back in front, but not to claim every youngster’s dream before the final siren sounded.
Players even more so than fans were subdued in the 0.15.8 (98) to 1.13.7 (94) result in front of just 8512.
Hawthorn just outscored the Cats two goals to one in a final quarter that lasted just 22:27 after two of the first three quarters went all but past the 30-minute mark.
Geelong had fortunately cast aside a lopsided first half to ensure a February thriller by three-quarter time at University of Tasmania Stadium.
On a night when the loudest cheers should’ve been reserved for the returning Jarryd Roughead, an exciting nine-goal premiership quarter deafened the Hawks applause.
Geelong had proven unstoppable in the middle part of the term, slamming on seven goals inside just 12 minutes to turn around a 41-point deficit into a five-point advantage at the last change.
It was a quarter worthy for premiership points that had everything.
Everything that included even Cyril Rioli running into an open goal to spray his 10m shot wide.
But that was nothing compared to Tom Hawkins almost accidentally ground kicking along the boundary that went inward enough to not go over the boundary line but outwardly to find the goal line.
The heavily-dominant Geelong crowd akin to a Cats home clash at Simonds Stadium just lapped it all up.
But earlier the Cats appeared to be caught out still warming up in a 11-goal to four half.
Literally, when their new preseason tight-snugging strips accompanied with short sleeves resembled pre-game warm-up shirts.
Geelong did score first inside 73 seconds through Mark Blicavs and got another soon after from Steven Motlop.
But Hawthorn, like Hawthorn do, responded with an intensity that is reserved for the AFL season proper, driving home five straight goals inside the next eight minutes.
Ben McEvoy marked the first uncontested, Rioli and Will Langford showed their usual smarts close to goal, and when Ryan Schoenmakers and Stewart goaled barely two minutes apart, the Hawks were out to a 19-point lead.
But what started out to be polite preseason applause for the first six casual goals turned up a bit when Roughead sank his first goal since melanoma on his lip that was diagnosed in May 2015 spread to his lungs last year.
Hawthorn had proved to be too clever around goal face for a rusty Cats defence.
Only a super-goal late from Andrew Mackie – one of only two Cats to have played an AFL match in Launceston – stemmed the initial bleeding.