Season 8 AFLW preview: Geelong

GEELONG was a side that never looked out of the contest, with the Cats having some incredible defensive efforts in Season 7, then finding the secret to scoring after the first month. In the end, the Cats narrowly missed out on a top four spot, and then were bounced by North Melbourne in the elimination final, but could take away plenty from their season.

The Cats had huge wins over St Kilda and Sydney in the run home, while being unlucky in some others. That included the elimination final where they went down by two points in tough conditions, the same losing margin Geelong had against Adelaide over in South Australia. Had they beat the Crows, they would have headed into the finals with a six-game winning streak and a double chance, but instead, bowed out in the first week.


#1 Mikayla Bowen
#2 Annabel Johnson
#3 Amy McDonald
#4 Darcy Moloney
#5 Jacqueline Parry
#6 Julia Crockett-Grills
#7 Kate Surman
#8 Kate Darby
#9 Nina Morrison
#10 Georgie Rankin
#11 Meghan McDonald
#12 Renee Garing
#13 Olivia Fuller
#14 Chloe Scheer
#15 Shelley Scott
#16 Chantel Emonson
#18 Anna-Rose Kennedy
#19 Brooke Plummer
#20 Zali Friswell
#21 Rebecca Webster
#22 Rachel Kearns
#23 Samantha Gooden
#25 Mia Skinner
#26 Claudia Gunjaca
#31 Ingrid Houtsma
#32 Gabbi Featherston
#39 Abbey McDonald
#41 Georgie Prespakis
#44 Melissa Bragg
#45 Aishling Moloney
#46 Erin Hoare


In: Anna-Rose Kennedy, Aishling Moloney, Kate Surman, Erin Hoare, Samantha Gooden (inactive)
Out: Georgia Clarke, Kalani Scoullar, Maddy McMahon, Laura Gardiner, Maddy Keryk


Round 1: vs. Western Bulldogs @ GMHBA Stadium
Round 2: vs. Sydney @ North Sydney Oval
Round 3: vs. North Melbourne @ GMHBA Stadium
Round 4: vs. Port Adelaide @ Alberton Oval
Round 5: vs. Melbourne @ GMHBA Stadium
Round 6: vs. Essendon @ Reid Oval
Round 7: vs. Fremantle @ GMHBA Stadium
Round 8: vs. Collingwood @ Victoria Park
Round 9: vs. Richmond @ Ikon Park
Round 10: vs. Hawthorn @ GMHBA Stadium


  • Clearance stars
  • Elite defence
  • Age profile of list
  • Remain in Victoria for final six weeks

Geelong’s midfield is as good as anyone’s in the league. Boasting the inside brilliance of Amy McDonald, as well as young guns Nina Morrison and Georgie Prespakis, it is a trio that most teams envy. The Cats midfield was so deep in Season 7, Laura Gardiner could not get a look in and headed north to the Swans, while Darcy Moloney looks to have found a niche inside 50 as a pressure forward who can hit the scoreboard. Throw in Rebecca Webster, and then on the outside Mikayla Bowen, and the group will put any on-ball division to the test.

Defence wins flags, and Geelong has a very good record at keeping teams to low scores. Just twice, teams kicked 30 or more points, and in one of those – the Western Bulldogs – Geelong still took home the chocolates. In five of Geelong’s 11 games, teams scoring two goals or less, and that is credit to the likes of Meghan McDonald, Chantel Emonson and Claudia Gunjaca who all played key roles in that defensive 50.

Furthermore, the overall list profile of the Cats – which is quite young all things considered – is one to get fans excited. They are not a team that is nearing the end of their era, with the majority of the side either beginning their careers, or on the verge of hitting their peaks. Coupled with a fixture that does not see Geelong leave Victoria in the last six weeks, the Cats are a serious side to watch in Season 8.


  • Can Geelong capitalise on its scoring chances?
  • Will Erin Hoare be the answer to the ruck concerns?

There were a lot of ‘what ifs?’ with Geelong’s Season 7, and a large part of that stemmed from the goalkicking accuracy. More often than not it was more about not having those meaningful close shots, but the Cats’ accuracy of 42.1 per cent (goals from scoring shots) was the second worst in the league behind the Magpies. If they start converting some of those missed chances, then the Cats will bank the wins they narrowly missed out on last season.

The other area Geelong struggled in was the ruck department in the wake of Mel Hickey retiring. Olivia Fuller worked hard around the ground, but the Cats identified their hitouts (ranked 16th in the league) as an area to target over the off-season. They brought back former ruck Erin Hoare, who at 194cm will get her hands to it plenty and hopefully provide silver service to the midfield.


There are no shortage of potential contenders in this one, but Prespakis is likely to draw the most votes from the Cats. She was suspended last season and only played the eight regular season games, but still managed to crack into the top 10 with 15 votes. Boasting that powerful burst along with a natural knack of impacting games off her own boot, she will receive plenty of attention from opposition sides this season.


Moloney kicked four goals in her 11 games last season, and while she was best known for being a midfielder at junior level, the ball-winning talent showed she can be a danger up forward this preseason. Kicking three goals in a low-scoring win over Collingwood in the match simulation last weekend, she is primed for a huge Season 8.


Geelong is the dark horse in the AFL Women’s Season 8 race to the flag. While many will look at Melbourne, or one of the established top four sides, Geelong has gone about its business well. Not losing any star players over the off-season, and replacing those the Cats did, the midfield and defence should put them in a challenging position. By addressing the ruck and forward needs, Geelong is right up there in calculations.

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