Cats’ strong start key to record win

AFTER back-to-back losses the past fortnight, Geelong got its season back on track in a big way, dominating St Kilda en route to the Cats’ highest score and largest win. Geelong won 11.5 (71) to 3.3 (21) off the back of a dominant 40-1 half-time score, and leading by as much as 45 points early in the third term. Though the Saints did manage to kick three of the next four goals in the third term to trim the deficit to 33 points, the Cats steadied to kick the only three goals of the last quarter and run away with the 50-point victory.

“We made a bit of a point pregame to get off to a really good start early,” Geelong AFLW head coach Dan Lowther said. I think we’ve just started slowly over the last two or three games. That was a big issue for us or point for us going into this game which is to start hard, start fast.”

The way the Cats were able to start was around their ball movement and composure with ball-in-hand. Lowther said the ability to win the ball at the coalface and then get it forward to dangerous spots was key, rather than blazing away.

“I think we were up the way we moved the ball, we showed a lot more composure, had a good balance between live play and controlled play whereas in the past we’re probably too live in regards to moving the footy, so we got that balance better tonight,” Lowther said.

“Finding some marks in A-Mid you get the ball deeper into forward 50 is important and I thought our forward players that we had playing that role, Darbs (Kate Darby), Shelley Scott, Nina Morrison, Jacqueline Parry, Chloe Scheer, they all roll through at times, provide us that movement and that target that we needed. A lot of those things clicked, our back half were super again. But our midfield made it very difficult for our opposition to go forward so hats off to all three areas.”

The overall win and records that came with it in front of a home fanbase at GMHBA Stadium “meant a lot” to the team. While the Geelong men’s team is preparing for its AFL Grand Final, the women’s side fed off that atmosphere and enjoyed the support from the stands, with the whole of Geelong buzzing.

“I’ve said all week Grand Final week, our men’s team have obviously had a really huge week on the track and the community’s excited so we’re trying to use a bit of that to inspire us today as well,” Lowther said. The win means a lot because it just gives them some really good momentum and belief with how they’re doing things I suppose from a gamestyle perspective but also with how we train, with how we play.

“We get to go into the weekend now and look at the grand final and watch the men’s game and hope that we have some success there. But it means a lot, I think for the club as well so it’s exciting. The crowd were exceptional again, I just don’t think they understand as a crowd just how much influence they have on games.”

Though there were few areas to nitpick, the Cats did drop off during that third term, which Lowther said was due to a drop off in the key wins around the coalface, and the opposition lifting its pressure.

“We probably lost our way around the contested ball numbers, they dropped, our tackle numbers dropped,” he said. To their credit they lifted their work rate around stoppage and contest. They were throwing extra numbers around the contest to outnumber so we probably didn’t win in that area to start with, and then as the quarter progressed we just couldn’t get our hands on the footy enough.

“They had some forward entries that looked quite dangerous at times, but again our defence did really well, our mids transitioning back, we just felt we lost our way around contested ball and tackle numbers, but that lifted after three quarter time.”

The Cats were able to play a debutant in former Northern Knights winger/defender Brooke Plummer, who Lowther said “loves” her footy.

“You couldn’t get the smile off her face pre-game, during the game,” he said. A couple of times there she had Kate Shierlaw on her as an opponent and she just couldn’t stop smiling as if she was standing next to one of her idols, it was interesting but she’s infectious in terms of her habits and she’s going to be a really good player for us going forward.”

Geelong set its sights on a massive clash up at Mars Stadium next Saturday, October 1, with the Cats taking on the red-hot Western Bulldogs.

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