When I flew with Etihad they were rather strict with check in luggage with many passengers and were willing to put on an extra charge for overweight baggage.
Hand baggage is rarely checked but as mentioned above you will probably get charged for being overweight on the baggage you check in (unless the flight is not full).
According to the Etihad website you are allowed bags with a total not exceeding 23kg per economy passenger. If your ticket was issued before June 15th 2010, only 20kg is permitted.
As mentioned in other posts you can expect to be charged.
Also according to the website you will be charged US$10 per kilo over the limit., so depending on when your ticket was issued you can expect to pay either US$50 or US$80. Either that or hope you have lenient check in agent.
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