Cats lash out at Freo s under-the-skin antics
Tom Hawkins, left, Taylor Hunt and Corey Enright struggle to stomach their 2012 finals defeat to Fremantle. Picture: Lachlan Cunningham/AFL Media

Geelong stars Tom Hawkins and Corey Enright have accused Fremantle of using niggling tactics and intimidation in a bid to gain the ascendancy in their games in recent years.

And Cats midfielder James Kelly has compared the rivalry to Geelong's famous clashes with Hawthorn as the bitter rivals prepare for tomorrow night's match at Patersons Stadium.

Fremantle and Geelong games have been littered with controversy in recent years, with a series of reports and off-the-ball incidents fuelling an intense rivalry.

Speaking on Geelong's website, Hawkins said Fremantle "get under your skin", while Enright said the Cats had grown tired of the Dockers' niggling.

"In the past, they've come out to intimidate us a little bit," Enright said. "I guess we've had enough of that and are trying to get a bit back."

Fremantle lost seven successive games to Geelong between 2006-2009, but have since won four of their last seven meetings, including two finals in Victoria in the Ross Lyon era.

Enright said those losses were still raw.

"We probably don't like them for kicking us out of two finals series in the past," Enright said.

"They've obviously got the wood on us. We need to improve and find ways to beat them."

Since ending Geelong's winning streak in 2010, Fremantle's average winning margin against the Cats is just 10 points.

Kelly said the rivalry wouldn't disappear quietly.

"It's one of those things that is only going to build and get worse," he said. "It's got a little bit of hallmarks of Hawthorn about it. Really tight contests every time and good, hard footy.

"I think personality wise, we're not too dissimilar in our styles of play - we're both pretty defensively minded and ruthless in the contest."

But, despite a bitter relationship at times, the Cats have also shown their respect for Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich as he prepares for his 300th game.

Captain Joel Selwood said the players wished him the best for his milestone, while defender Andrew Mackie said Pavlich's name had always been mentioned as he came through the junior ranks in South Australia.

"We went to the same school, but he was obviously a bit older and I just missed him," Mackie said. "But there are always one or two players that everyone talks about as a junior and coming through.

"Everyone knew he was going to be a star and he's turned out exactly like that, and he's a good man to go with all that.

"Matthew Pavlich has been a superstar player and I imagine they're going to want to get up for him. But at the same time, we've got a lot to play for as well."

The West Australian

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