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Hawks score massive win over ladder-leading Cats

Coach Chris Scott is adamant there's no need to throw out the Cats with the bathwater despite AFL rivals Hawthorn continuing Geelong's mid-season wobble.

The Hawks have won three in a row and are just one game outside of the top eight after Sunday's massive 12.13 (85) to 8.13 (61) win at the MCG.

By contrast, Geelong are 2-3 since the mid-season bye and, while they remain top, barnstorming Brisbane are only a game behind.

"We're aiming for balance - don't kid yourself and don't get overconfident," Scott said.

"Deal with the reality as it is.

"I don't think we'll go away and think now, all of a sudden, we're hopeless and we have to throw out the way we play.

"But at the same time, we're not going to say 'ah, it's one of those weeks, don't worry about it' ... that would be a big mistake, too."

The Cats have been the league's most-prolific scoring team this season, but have tallied only eight, seven and eight goals in their three post-bye losses.

Geelong had just eight inside 50s in Sunday's last quarter, while the Hawks racked up 15.

Even so, the Cats could have been in front at three-quarter time but for four woeful shots on goal.

They were 19 points down at the last change and the Hawks held their nerve superbly, with James Frawley's outstanding defensive play setting up a crucial goal to Tim O'Brien early in the final term.

Scott said he would prefer to have wins on the board and have issues now, rather than closer to the finals.

"Is it a slump? I can't really think of anyone off the top of my head who hasn't gone through their ebbs and flows throughout the season and we're clearly one of them," he said.

Scott said Geelong were too safe with their ball movement in the first half and this played into Hawthorn's hands.

"They defended in a way that requires the opposition to ask questions of them," he said.

"If you play safe, they'll defend really, really strongly."

In his 200th game, Hawks midfielder Liam Shiels led the way with a game-high 29 possessions and two goals, while Patrick Dangerfield starred for Geelong.

Young Hawks key forwards Mitch Lewis and O'Brien kicked three goals apiece.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson noted Cats defender Harry Taylor alone comfortably covered Conor Nash, O'Brien and Lewis in terms of AFL experience.

"That experience is obviously what makes the Geelong defence really strong and potent," Clarkson said.

"We were pleased our guys were at least able to compete on equal terms."

Hawks defender Jarman Impey might be sidelined for the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury early in the second term.

They are unsure whether he will need a knee reconstruction, with Clarkson saying their fingers are crossed.