Hawkins' five sinks Saints in AFL fizzer

Tom Hawkins (right) booted five goals for Geelong as the Cats made easy work of St Kilda in the AFL.
Tom Hawkins (right) booted five goals for Geelong as the Cats made easy work of St Kilda in the AFL.

A dominant Tom Hawkins has helped Geelong burst St Kilda's bubble in a runaway 59-point AFL victory at the Gabba.

St Kilda entered on a four-game winning streak but were shunted back to the pack by the Cats, who were efficient early before kicking the last nine goals.

The Cats' 14.9 (93) to 4.10 (34) win on Monday night pushed them ahead of the Saints to third on the live ladder and ensured they will finish the round in the top four.

Hawkins dominated all over the park and managed a season-best five goals to rise to equal first in the Coleman Medal race with Josh Kennedy (24 goals).

He found support in Gary Rohan (four goals) who managed three majors in the second quarter and Sam Menegola (two goals, 26 disposals) was prolific.

Coach Chris Scott said 32-year-old Hawkins' commitment to the craft had set him up to thrive in this peculiar season.

"Some conclusions can be drawn from it (this season's form), especially with such short breaks between games," he said.

"Over the years as he's developed some maturity, become a leader and learnt to prepare to play well into his 30s.

"To me he's in better shape than he was when I first started coaching, just on 10 years now."

St Kilda were on terms early, winning the contested possession battle 59-45 at half time and earning seven more forward 50s than the Cats and incredibly finishing with four more at full-time.

But Geelong had 23 scoring shots from their 40 entries and by three-quarter time had tipped the scales elsewhere in their favour.

St Kilda initially kept pace behind Jack Steele (24 touches, five clearances) and late call-up Ed Phillips, who kicked two early goals after replacing managed ruckman Paddy Ryder in the side.

It meant Rowan Marshall was left one-out in the ruck against Geelong's Rhys Stanley and they exploited the early hit-out dominance with 24 of the game's first 26 possessions.

Josh Battle bombed a long-range goal to make it a six-point game midway through the second quarter but they were unable to score another.

Saints coach Brett Ratten said 20-year-old debutant Jack Bytel (18 touches, five clearances) and first-year forward Max King would learn plenty from their brush with a quality Cats side.

But he was critical of his side's defence, which allowed 12 scoring shots from 18 first-half entries.

"They just tackled, were more fierce around the ball and we didn't really lay a glove on them at times," he said.

"We might not play the way we want to, but we don't want to be getting beaten by 10 goals."

Geelong next face ladder-leading Port Adelaide on Friday at Metricon Stadium while St Kilda will have until Sunday to lick their wounds before facing Essendon.

Australian Associated Press