Hawthorn club president Jeff Kennett, after whom the losing streak was named.
Hawthorn club president Jeff Kennett, after whom the losing streak was named.

The Kennett curse was the name given to Australian Football League club Geelong's dominance against rivals Hawthorn in the period between Hawthorn's upset win against Geelong in the 2008 AFL Grand Final[1][2] and Hawthorn's win in the 2013 preliminary finals.[3]


See also: 2008 AFL Grand Final

Geelong and Hawthorn contested the 2008 AFL Grand Final.[4] Geelong went into the match as the favourites; they were the defending premiers, and had lost only one match for the entire season;[5] however, Hawthorn prevailed by 26 points to claim its 10th premiership.[6] Ahead of the teams' first-round meeting at the start of the 2009 season, then-Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett publicly questioned Geelong's mental drive to defeat Hawthorn.[7]

What they don't have, I think, is the quality of some of our players; they don't have the psychological drive we have. We've beaten Geelong when it matters.

Additionally, following the upset Grand Final loss, Geelong players made a private pact, which was later made public by Paul Chapman, to never again lose to Hawthorn.[9][10] Following Kennett's comments, Geelong won the match in Round 1, 2009,[11] and proceeded to defeat Hawthorn in eleven successive matches: a run that included a number of close games and come-from-behind victories that seemed to highlight the existence of the so-called 'curse'. During this 11-game run, Geelong won two Premierships, one in 2009, and another in 2011 which included a 31-point Qualifying Final win over Hawthorn. Kennett's demeaning comments in 2009 came to be seen[by whom?] as the initiating event of a curse on Hawthorn, dubbed by fans and media as the "Kennett curse". Kennett himself (who stepped down from the Hawthorn presidency in 2011) said in 2013 that while he was not proud of what he had said, he did not wish he could take it back.[12] The curse ended with Hawthorn finally defeating Geelong by 5 points in the thrilling 2013 First Preliminary Final, after Kennett's reign as Hawthorn president had ended. Hawthorn then went on to win the Grand Final the following week. Ironically, Paul Chapman, the player who first mentioned the Geelong players 'pact' to never lose to Hawthorn, played his last game for Geelong a week before the Hawthorn game, having missed the Preliminary Final due to suspension.


Over the period of the curse, the rivalry between the clubs remained strong. All matches were played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, drew at least 63,000 spectators, and although Geelong won all eleven matches, most matches were close and/or involved one team coming from a long way behind. Nine of the eleven matches were decided by ten points or less, and five by less than a goal (six points), with two decided by kicks after the final siren: Round 17, 2009, with a behind to Jimmy Bartel;[13][14] and Round 19, 2012, with a goal to Tom Hawkins.[15] The Cats' 11-match winning streak against the Hawks is the longest by any team following a VFL/AFL Grand Final loss to their opponent.[16]

# Round/Year Winner Score Widest Margin Winning Margin Venue Attendance
1 Round 1, 2009 Geelong 15.21 (111) – 16.7 (103) Geelong by 43 8 Melbourne Cricket Ground 69,593
2 Round 17, 2009 Geelong 15.9 (99) – 14.14 (98) Hawthorn by 28 1 Melbourne Cricket Ground 64,803
3 Round 2, 2010 Geelong 14.16 (100) – 13.13 (91) Hawthorn by 24 9 Melbourne Cricket Ground 68,628
4 Round 15, 2010 Geelong 12.13 (85) – 11.17 (83) Hawthorn by 13 2 Melbourne Cricket Ground 69,220
5 Round 5, 2011 Geelong 17.15 (117) – 15.8 (98) Hawthorn by 26 19 Melbourne Cricket Ground 78,579
6 Round 12, 2011 Geelong 13.10 (88) – 13.5 (83) Geelong by 20 5 Melbourne Cricket Ground 63,476
7 Qualifying Final, 2011 Geelong 14.14 (98) – 9.13 (67) Geelong by 37 31 Melbourne Cricket Ground 73,400
8 Round 2, 2012 Geelong 14.8 (92) – 13.12 (90) Hawthorn by 18 2 Melbourne Cricket Ground 69,231
9 Round 19, 2012 Geelong 18.10 (118) – 17.14 (116) Geelong by 51 2 Melbourne Cricket Ground 65,287
10 Round 1, 2013 Geelong 13.15 (93) – 12.14 (86) Hawthorn by 30 7 Melbourne Cricket Ground 76,300
11 Round 15, 2013 Geelong 11.16 (82) – 10.12 (72) Geelong by 33 10 Melbourne Cricket Ground 85,197

Source: Footy Wire

The losing streak ended as follows:

# Round/Year Winner Score Widest Margin Winning Margin Venue Attendance
12 Preliminary Finals, 2013 Hawthorn 14.18 (102) – 15.7 (97) Geelong by 20 5 Melbourne Cricket Ground 85,569

The curse looked to continue, with Geelong leading by 19 points midway through the final quarter, but Hawthorn rallied and kicked three goals and seven behinds to Geelong's solitary point to overrun the Cats by 5 points.[17] Paul Chapman, who earlier had publicised the Geelong players' pact never to lose to Hawthorn, missed the preliminary final due to suspension.[9] He was then traded to Essendon at the end of the season.


The rivalry still produces exciting games and routinely draws crowds of 63,000+ to each game (the COVID-19 pandemic notwithstanding). The following year, Geelong beat the Hawks by 19 points in Round 5 but then were blown out in their Qualifying Final to the Hawks two weeks after losing to the Hawks by 23. Those were the first half of four straight Hawthorn wins through 2015. The Cats did win their most recent finals meeting, a qualifying final, in 2016 by 2 points. During the home-and-away games since 2016, Geelong has had an overall edge, with Geelong's five wins to Hawthorn's three, including the last three wins.

See also


  1. ^ The Kennett curse – AFL.com.au
  2. ^ It's no monkey, that's a gorilla | Geelong, VIC, Australia
  3. ^ Hawthorn edges Geelong to book place in AFL grand final and lift Kennett curse, ABC Grandstand Sport (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), 20 September 2013
  4. ^ Hawks set up dream final with Cats – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
  5. ^ Preview of AFL grand final: stats, profiles and analysis | The Roar
  6. ^ Hawks rise over Cats to claim premiership – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
  7. ^ Geelong lacks drive: Jeff Kennett | Herald Sun
  8. ^ Whateley, Gerard (30 March 2013). "Geelong Cats got your tongue? No, but they've got your measure".
  9. ^ a b Forget The Kennett Curse, it should be renamed the Chapman Factor | News.com.au
  10. ^ Geelong star Paul Chapman says Cats never want to lose to Hawthorn again | Herald Sun
  11. ^ Cats escape to avenge grand final heartbreak – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
  12. ^ Hex gets Wiki guernsey Peter Hanlon (3 July 2013)
  13. ^ Bartel behind buries Hawthorn | Sports News | Fox Sports
  14. ^ Geelong defeat Hawthorn in rivalry round thriller | The Roar
  15. ^ Cats stun Hawks to win after the siren – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
  16. ^ AFL Finals: Hawthorn v Geelong preview – Hawks out to end the Kennett curse with win over Cats, ABC Grandstand Sport (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), 17 September 2013
  17. ^ http://www.afl.com.au/news/2013-09-20/hawks-stop-the-streak Hawks stop the streak


  1. ^ Only the first ten matches in this streak are detailed, as this article was published the day before Geelong's eleventh consecutive victory over Hawthorn.