Dangerfield, Hawkins set to return

Tom Hawkins is set to return to the Cats' side after being managed against North Melbourne. (Ivan Kemp)

Undefeated Geelong will regain captain Patrick Dangerfield and star veteran Tom Hawkins for a blockbuster with the Brisbane Lions after dispatching hapless North Melbourne in a 75-point rout.

The hosts went 5-0 for the first time since 2017 on Sunday when they toyed with the winless Kangaroos, extending their lead at every break to take out the match 21.13 (139) to 10.4 (64) at GMHBA Stadium.

Superstar Jeremy Cameron snared six goals, making the most of Hawkins’ absence after he was managed out of the side just an hour before the first bounce.

Speedster Max Holmes was tremendous with two goals and 24 possessions, young tall Shannon Neale (three goals) had the best outing of his six-game career, and Brad Close slotted four majors.

Geelong shared the love with five multiple goal-kickers, as small forward Tyson Stengle was again lively with two goals after a welcome return to form in kicking four last week.

Cats coach Chris Scott confirmed post-game that Dangerfield and Hawkins would be available for next Saturday night’s match at the Gabba.

“He’s the ultimate team man,” Scott said of Hawkins.

“We’ve flagged consistently that we will manage our list.

“The good news is he was available to play this week and we think he’ll be better next week for missing (against North).

“The conversations aren’t difficult because I think our players understand it.”

There were few bright spots for North following a 70-point thumping by the Brisbane Lions last week, but young forward Eddie Ford took his chances with an equal career-high three goals, while Harry Sheezel had a game-high 38 possessions.

“We had 30 clanger kicks to their 15 … they (Geelong) probably turn into 5-7 goals just on their own and that’s the difference between the sides,” North coach Alastair Clarkson said.

“Some of that comes with experience and composure. It’s going to take a while for us to get there, but we feel like we’re on the right path.”

Star forward Nick Larkey kicked two goals from tough positions as he continued to perform to a high standard in a poorly-functioning team – possibly the AFL’s version of Allan Border making runs in the Australian cricket side of the 1980s.

Colby McKercher, North’s first selection in last year’s draft, was subbed out at quarter-time after a hit to the ribs in the first term and was sent to hospital to be assessed.

When they last won the first five games of a season seven years ago, Geelong made a preliminary final before losing to Adelaide.

After playing just one finalist from last year so far this season, Geelong will face a far sterner test when they take on the resurgent Lions, who dominated Melbourne at the MCG last Thursday night.

The Kangaroos will set themselves for a shot at their first win of the season when they face fellow strugglers Hawthorn next Sunday.