Hawkins eyes AFL return

By Daniel Hughes

Former Finley footballer Tom Hawkins has already started training with the Geelong Cats again.

Training restarted just before the AFL released its fixture for the next four rounds of the 2020 season.

The Cats will return to the field on June 12, against Hawthorn.

All games will be played without crowds for now, and all four Cats games will be played in Victoria.

Despite three of the next four games being on their home turf, Hawkins is not convinced the location will have a bearing on results at this stage of the game.

“Our first four games are looking good,” he said.

“We’ve been looked after with games at home to start. It will be nice not to have to travel too much as well.

“I think the draw will even out as the year goes on though, to ensure each team gets equal home games.

“It seems like most teams are in their inter-state hubs for the first four fixtures.

“It will be interesting to see how much home grounds play a part with no one in the stadium. Usually a crowd is such a big part of the home advantage.”

The league has placed strict testing conditions on AFL players and staff in order to prevent an outbreak among them.

“Also, if someone contracts it we’re implementing the right process to isolate them to not affect any other players,” Hawkins said.

“We must follow strict protocols now to flag anyone with early symptoms.

“We are being temperature tested every day before training and have a COVID-19 test twice a week.

“For now, we will keep on keeping on, I’m really enjoying being back with the boys at training.

“We just need to ensure we stay fit over the next couple of weeks. Hopefully no one suffers any injuries.”

Hawkins said it's hard to predict who will come out on top on June 12, with the Cats and Hawks splitting their two games last season.

The Cats will then take on Carlton at home on June 20, Melbourne at the MCG on June 28 and the Gold Coast at home on July 4.