IN a new approach to the AFL Women’s end of season reviews, Rookie Me Central casts both a glass half full and half empty lens over each side’s campaigns.
The team under the microscope today is Geelong, who showed marked improvement in Season 7 to finish just outside the top four.
GLASS HALF FULL
The growth of Amy McDonald
Someone who took great strides this season was Amy McDonald.
In a midfield which boasts exciting young talent in Nina Morrison and Georgie Prespakis, McDonald finished with the highest average disposal count amongst her teammates this season, and averaged over 260 metres gained per game.
Although she flies under the radar for many, the All Australian selectors certainly noticed her, awarding her a deserved place in this year’s squad.
The return to finals
Having not made finals since 2019, the Cats finished the year in fifth to once again earn their place in the postseason.
Although things did not go to plan in a heartbreaking elimination final loss to North Melbourne, the fact that they made it is a huge step and a foundation on which to build upon.
Adding some much needed firepower
Heading into this season, much of the talk surrounded Geelong adding a few key targets up forward to give the Cats’ midfielders more viable targets to kick to, and they did that, adding the likes of Shelley Scott and Jacqueline Parry in the offseason.
And it did help, creating a multi-focal attack which helped the Cats kick many a winning score. With the aforementioned pair joining gun goalkicker Chloe Scheer, Geelong broke new ground in that department this season.
GLASS HALF EMPTY
A mindset that was too defensive?
As much as Geelong ended up kicking more goals this season than it had in the past, at times the Cats still got bogged down in a defensive mindset – particularly early on. It lead to three scores of 16 points or under in the first four rounds, before the gameplan began to evolve and made for more expansive scoring.
Goal kicking accuracy
Despite all their improvements this season, one department the Cats can seriously extract more value from with work over the offseason is their goal kicking accuracy. In Season 7, they registered more behinds than goals in eight games, and it proved a costly factor in their elimination final loss.
Not progressing further in the finals
As much as there was a lot of growth for the Cats this season, they still did not make it past the first week of finals. Given the strength of their regular season, bowing out in the first week would have been a disappointing result.
Season 7 was a huge step forward for Geelong. The Cats found a few extra pieces they needed, and made it back into finals for the first time in a few years. There are still some issues to fix up, but overall Season 7 was a huge step in the right direction for the Cats.