Tom Hawkins doesn't need reminding of the threat posed by former teammate Lincoln McCarthy in Thursday night's AFL clash at the SCG, admitting the Brisbane forward has broken Geelong's hearts before.
Hawkins is referring to McCarthy's match-winning effort in the final stages of his first clash with the Cats, rather than the 26-year-old's decision to seek a fresh start at the end of the 2018 season.
McCarthy was drafted in 2011 by Geelong but managed just 29 games at the club because of injuries.
The small forward was traded to the Lions and was a revelation in 2019, playing 24 games and helping his new club return to finals for the first time since 2009.
The highlight was arguably in round 22 against Geelong, when he clambered over Cats defender Jack Henry to pluck a spectacular mark and then slot home a goal to deliver the Lions a one-point win.
"Other than that, I've been really happy and proud to watch him play from a distance," Hawkins said.
"Really happy he is playing well.
"He was injury riddled at Geelong and couldn't quite get going consistently for periods of time but he's been able to do that up in Brisbane.
"I wish him nothing but the best.
Except maybe not on Thursday night, he's broken our hearts before."
Hawkins, among the Cats players hunting a third premiership, suggested everybody at the club always knew McCarthy had immense potential.
"He's a really tough player" he said.
"He's courageous and can take some contested pack marks, which is unusual for a player of his size.
"He played some great footy at Geelong.
"At times he was struck down by some pretty serious injuries, he just didn't have that continuity as a young player that I had, Joel Selwood and Harry (Taylor) had."
Meanwhile, 261-gamer Hawkins clarified recent comments about his future.
"There's no plans to retire at the end of the year, (or) 2021," he said.
"Who knows, '22, I'm optimistic about how long I can play."
Australian Associated Press