Case Study: Influence of Amy McDonald and Georgie Prespakis

GEELONG got its 2023 AFLW campaign off to an emphatic start yesterday afternoon with a huge 48-point win over the Western Bulldogs.

Geelong made a statement early and it was a long way back for the Bulldogs. The win was really led from the middle, with Georgie Prespakis and Amy McDonald playing starring roles.

In this week’s Case Study, we take a look at the respective games of the pair of Cats midfielders and their influence on the match, and they helped ensure Geelong made a huge statement to begin their 2023 campaign.

Full time stats

Georgie Prespakis: 34 disposals, 11 tackles, nine clearances, 641m gained

Amy McDonald: 28 disposals, 12 tackles, nine clearances, 364m gained

One thing that particularly Prespakis did very well in centre bounces was making sure that Kirsty Lamb and Ellie Blackburn had no shot at running the ball out of the middle. With two crunching tackles in successive centre bounces, it was clear that Prespakis knew how dangerous they can both be in that situation and was hellbent on stopping them.

Between the pair, their influence truly did stretch across the ground. Although they did both venture across all of the ground, McDonald was more influential up to the forward 50 line, while Prespakis did her strongest work up from the defensive line.

Prespakis was quick to influence the attacking part of Geelong’s game with their first inside 50 of the game coming off her boot. Meanwhile McDonald had influences on both the attack and defensive components of Geelong’s game early, taking a nice defensive intercept before later setting up Jacqueline Parry for one of her goals with the feeding kick to the tall forward.

When it comes to the contest, they both play very different roles. Although Prespakis is not afraid to get under the bottom of the pack if need be, McDonald is more likely to be the one at the bottom of the packing fighting for the football. Prespakis on the other hand is more likely at the bottom of the pack if she is tackling an opponent, but in attacking situations is more likely to be the one on the outside of the pack as the outlay target.

With this positioning, Prespakis’ willingness to just run and run all day was eident. She finished with 641m gained, which was well above anyone else on the field. For comparison, the second highest tally on the field was Blackburn with 399m gained.

McDonald even got to enjoy getting on the scoreboard, slotting a major in the last term to help really set the icing on the cake for the Cats. Prespakis almost got a goal too in the second term, but her shot ultimately was deemed to have gone slightly wide.

Even without ball in hand the pair were still making a difference. Between them they laid 23 tackles, and were the only players to record double digit tackle counts.

By comparison the top tacklers for the Bulldogs were a defender in Isabelle Pritchard and a ruck in Alice Edmonds, which is another sign of how well Geelong were winning the midfield battle.

Although McDonald and Prespakis led the way for the Cats, they did not do it all alone, which is something the Bulldogs could not say about their own midfield. Julia Crockett-Grills and Nina Morrison both played solid parts through the midfield, while for the Bulldogs Blackburn at times was doing it all on her own at times.

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