Midfield muscle helps Geelong earn upset

GEELONG pulled off a huge upset in the AFL Women’s yesterday afternoon, defeating reigning premiers Melbourne by five points in the second semi final.

After dominating for three quarters the Cats almost let things slip away in the final quarter but held on to pull off the win and move on to a Preliminary Final.

Geelong’s dominance really began in the midfield, leading it to dominate in particular centre clearances and to generate a lot of run out of the middle. This also led them to finish +7 in the inside 50 count and really have Melbourne on the back foot.

All the Cats’ midfielders played their part, especially the likes of Georgie Prespakis, Nina Morrison and Amy McDonald.

The player that had the biggest influence though was Prespakis. Although she only had the 18 disposals (three Cats had more disposals than her), Melbourne gave her too much freedom and she was allowed to create a lot of forward charge for the Cats, which helped her set up Geelong’s forward for plenty of attempts at goal.

She also finished with 376m gained for the match, which was the highest for anyone across both sides. Not only was she winning plenty of clearances, but she was given plenty of space to clear the pack and drive forward.

Prespakis also combined with Morrison to dominate the clearance battle, picking up five clearances to go with Morrison’s 10.

It was not just with the ball that Prespakis dominated. She laid 13 tackles across the game, which was a game high and showed her desperation and the intensity with which she played the game yesterday.

Speaking post match, both Morrison and coach Dan Lowther spoke of the flexibility of the midfield group, and how that and their depth has given the Cats a huge advantage this year.

“The great thing about our midfield group all year has just been the depth of players through and that it might be one person’s day one week and another person’s the next,” Morrison said. “I think we just really gel well together super well and compliment each other’s strengths, so I thought both of them (Prespakis and McDonald) were really good again today.”

“I think we’re ultra flexible with our inside players,” Lowther added. “We know that they can play outside as well as inside, and to combat opposition who want to try and get an advantage we can’t just rely on one player to hold up their end of the bargain, so to have Amy do her thing, Nina to step up with her strong contest work in transition and Georgie to get free at the right time.

“Throw in Darcy Moloney in there as well and Julia Crockett-Grills and Renee Garing and whoever has to come in to support. To have that flexibility is important.”

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