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‘This is mental’: AFL leading goal kicker’s finals half from hell

He is one of the biggest obstacles in footy, so there was a hint of irony in the fact that, on the big stage against Port Adelaide, Tom Hawkins’ biggest obstacle was … himself.There were shades of the Geelong star’s performance against Port Adelaide earlier in the year when he found himself with space to…

He is one of the biggest obstacles in footy, so there was a hint of irony in the fact that, on the big stage against Port Adelaide, Tom Hawkins’ biggest obstacle was … himself.

There were shades of the Geelong star’s performance against Port Adelaide earlier in the year when he found himself with space to work with against the Power defence.

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Unlike that night in Round 12 though, Hawkins’ goal-kicking performance was far from what it had been, with the Coleman Medalist managing just three behinds from four set shots in the first half.

By full time he had kicked zero from six attempts.

The worst miss of the lot came in the second quarter when, after marking 20 metres out on a slight angle, Hawkins quickly swung onto his left boot and hooked the ball badly for his third behind.

“That’s laying off the pressure,” Brisbane Lions great Jonathan Brown noted on Fox Footy at halftime.

“That’s the pressure getting the better of an experienced campaigner.”

St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt agreed, noting “this is mental” for Hawkins, while Melbourne great Garry Lyon said “that’s set up beautifully for his left to right goalkicking and he goes left foot around the body without thinking about it.”

Channel 7 commentator Bruce McAvaney was of a similar view, simply surmising: “It’s in his head now”.

With conversion so crucial in finals, the misses could come back to haunt the Cats as they make a desperate bid for another premiership.

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