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Battle of the midfielders: Mitchell v Dangerfield betting preview

Geelong Cats vs. Hawthorn Hawks, Easter Monday, March 28, 2016, 3.20pm AEST, Melbourne Cricket Ground, watch on Fox Footy, Seven Network

Geelong Cats: $2.20 with (line -7.5: $1.92)

Hawthorn Hawks: $1.67 with (line +7.5: $1.92)

AN Easter Monday rivalry that has lost a bit of its lustre in recent years is set to be reignited when reigning triple AFL premier Hawthorn takes on a rejuvenated Geelong.

After a dominant run for the Cats, where the Hawks couldn’t buy a win for years, thanks to the ‘Kennett Curse’, Hawthorn has won the last four clashes between the two clubs and five of six, including a 10 goal shellacking in round one last year.

But, with the Cats locked and loaded with a bevy of recruits, led by the big fish Patrick Dangerfield, we can’t see that happening again here.

New men Lachie Henderson and Zac Smith will also line up for the Cats, who boast a combination of Dangerfield and Selwood in the midfield, combined with the likes of towering running machine Mark Blicavs.

If any team can match it in the guts with Hawthorn’s rotating door of gun midfielders, it is the Cats.

But Hawthorn at the MCG is a tough proposition for any side and it is probably going to take a little bit of time for the new Geelong line up to gel.

The Hawks are the most potent team in the AFL, piling on a massive 109 points per game in 2015. There’s no Jarryd Roughead to call upon up forward, with his injury set to keep him out until the middle of the season, but is that a curse or a blessing?

Of course, any side would want the big red head on the pitch, but it may just provide more space for the likes of Jack Gunston, Luke Breust and Cyril Rioli to cause some havoc.

For the Cats, Tom Hawkins up front is the key, and the big Tomahawk will be licking him lips at the opportunities he is set to receive from that potent midfield.

The best thing about the Cats reloading is the potential for this rivalry to go back to the fever pitch it once was two or three years ago.

Could we see a Hawthorn vs. Geelong grand final in 2016?

We wouldn’t be surprised and this one could be the precursor.

How many possessions will Patrick Dangerfield and Sam Mitchell get?

Patrick Dangerfield disposal odds

20 or more: $1.01

25 or more: $1.32

30 or more: $2.60

35 or more: $8.50

40 or more: $28

At 25, the kid has come home and, incredibly, is probably just about to hit his prime. It’s a scary proposition for every other club, especially seeing him coupled with Cats’ captain Joel Selwood, who is among the best midfielders in the game.

No other team possesses two players with more combined talent in the midfield. Dangerfield automatically makes the Cats contenders and that pair will make the in and under stuff that much harder for Mitchell and company.

It remains to be seen exactly how it all comes together, but Dangerfield is far too talented not to succeed. It’s all about the men around him coming along for the ride.

You feel like this Cats side is more talented than any outfit Dangerfield has rolled out with in Adelaide.

We do think that the Hawks are a very, very tough proposition, first up in a new outfit, so we’re going to go conservative and pick a little money for jam, with our tip for him to exceed 25 or more at $1.32 with

Sam Mitchell disposal odds

20 or more: $1.01

25 or more: $1.18

30 or more: $2

35 or more: $5.60

40 or more: $20

Will the extractor ever slow down?

Wait, he’s always been slow.

But slow doesn’t mean anything when you’re as tough and skilled as the Hawks’ four time premiership hero.

Like a fine wine, Mitchell is getting better in his later years. Almost 33, The nuggety gun averaged a career high 31 disposals last season.

But he didn’t go absolutely crazy against the Cats in either game last season, with 21 in round one and then 28 in round 20, and that is why we are holding a few reservations here as well.

But the man has had a massive preseason and looks, remarkably, like he might be able to improve on the lofty heights of 2015.

Just ask the Kangaroos.

They beat the living suitcase out of him in the NAB Challenge, but he still managed to rack up a remarkable 45 possessions.

Nope, that’s not a typo.

That featured 23 kicks, 22 handballs and five marks in the Hawks’ easy win.

He kicked off the NAB Challenge with 28 against Carlston as well, so that is some pretty damn good form going into the season proper if you ask us.

We usually walk on the edge and we are going to do it again.

We reckon Sammy is in for a big one against the Cats as he will be primed to ensure the Hawks don’t slip up against their reloaded arch nemesis, so we think the $5.60 for him to collect 35 or more disposals could be worth a flyer.

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