AFL great Wayne Carey has defended Tom Hawkins after the Geelong key forward endured a barren finals series.
Hawkins only kicked one goal per game in Geelong’s three finals and had minimal impact in Friday night’s season-ending loss to Adelaide.
There is speculation that Geelong will try to engineer a trade for the return of Gary Ablett and are also in the market for Jake Stringer.
They would be handy additions to the Cats attack and Carey says Hawkins could do with them.
“I tell you what he needs: he needs some support, because when he’s the only king pin up there then they’re so easy to defend,” Carey told Triple M.
“When he played his best footy he had Harry Taylor up there. He led to good positions so players had to engage Harry, therefore it gave him one-on-ones and space.
“He hasn’t had that all year and he didn’t have that last night.
“If you’re the only focal point it’s just so easy for defences to say ‘OK, we know where this is going’.”
Geelong changed their forward strategy after the qualifying final loss to Richmond, where Taylor played in attack and had a quiet night.
Taylor went back to defence for the semi-final against Sydney and Patrick Dangerfield was best afield, kicking four goals as their main marking forward.
They tried Dangerfield in attack again at the start of Friday night’s preliminary final, but it only last 14 minutes.
He had to return to the middle after the Crows made a strong start.
Carey said Hawkins was at his most dangerous when he played close to goal.
“He’s got to be taking contested marks, he’s a good mark,” Carey said.