15/08/2022

It was another year of building towards success for the Cats in 2022. (Photo: Geelong Cats; Design: Will Cuckson)

While 2022 ended in disappointing fashion for a young Geelong side, the continued signs of improvement and a new gameplan shone through.

There were many positive moments in another challenging year for Geelong, as the club continued to grow.

Finishing Position: 12th (Two wins, eight losses)

With a raft of changes at the club, 2022 was expected to be another difficult season for the young Geelong side. With a new coach, a new coaching panel was also brought in. This, combined with an inexperienced list, meant it would always be difficult for Geelong to be a contender.

Geelong welcomed back young gun Nina Morrison, and the rewards were noticeable as the Cats’ young midfield went from strength to strength. This was a major highlight for Geelong fans as the club continued to build its list before making a case to contend in the coming years.

What worked?

One of the most exciting things we saw from Geelong in season 2022 was its midfield group.

2022 saw the debut season of an exciting, new look Cats midfield. Amy McDonald, Georgie Prespakis, Rebecca Webster and Nina Morrison all combined to create some headaches for opposition coaches.

Prespakis hit the ground running in the opening round despite the loss to North Melbourne. She collected 20 disposals, six tackles, and seven clearances in the victory, earning her a well deserved Rising Star nomination.

The Cats’ midfielders were outstanding all season, continuously winning a lot of the football and driving forward. But unfortunately, the inability to make the most of their chances cost them in the end.

The young and dynamic midfield would undoubtedly be the most exciting aspect of Geelong’s season and leavesCats fans with plenty to be excited about in 2023 and beyond.

What didn’t work?

Unfortunately, what didn’t work for Geelong in 2022 was its inability to create forward pressure, also lacking a scoreboard presence.

The Cats put together some of the lowest scores in the competition, none worse than their Round 9 effort, failing to kick a goal and registering nine behinds in the process.

As a result, they were ultimately defeated by the Saints in a poor outcome for the much-improved Cats.

If Geelong can fix this area of its game, either by trading for a focal point up forward to support the likes of Chloe Scheer or drafting well, it will begin to climb up the ladder. Geelong will be looking to give its loyal fans more to cheer about in season 2023.

Who impressed?

Coming off her first best and fairest award in season 2021, young gun Amy McDonald picked up where she left off.

In a stellar 2022 campaign, McDonald averaged 21 disposals, eight tackles and five clearances. All of these numbers are up on her career averages. Expect her to win yet another best and fairest for Geelong in 2022.

Elsewhere, former premiership forward Chloe Scheer proved to Cats fans why she was recruited from Adelaide.

Scheer’s first season in the hoops proved to be of quality, and showed Geelong fans what they’d been missing in their side. The dynamic forward averaged nearly a goal, eight disposals and two tackles, proving to be a vital player in the Geelong forward set-up in 2022.

Geelong will undoubtedly be looking to recruit well in the forward line once again, as it looks to improve upon their weaknesses.

High and lows

The highs

Geelong achieved just the two victories in season 2022, and the best one was a thrilling three-point victory over the Eagles in Round 2.

Coming into the game with zero wins registered, experts and fans alike were beginning to wonder whether the Cats would prove most of their doubters right and win the wooden spoon.

However, on a Friday night at GMHBA stadium, they would hang on for one of the tightest finishes in AFLW history.

Midfield duo Amy McDonald (24 disposals), and Rebecca Webster (20 disposals), were terrific all night long as they led the young Cats to victory. Webster also had 11 tackles and recorded 151 metres gained, on her way to a best afield game.

Meanwhile, Phoebe McWilliams booted two goals, while Chloe Scheer was rewarded for hard work as she kicked one.

However, this thriller would have yet another twist.

With the Cats trailing with less than two minutes remaining, young gun Darcy Moloney would burst through traffic and restore the Cats’ lead. Geelong would hold on for an unlikely victory, winning by three points.

The lows

When the Cats took on the Saints in Round 10, many expected them to pick up their third win of the season. Instead, what followed can only be described as a disaster.

Geelong would fail to kick a goal, and had many opportunities to do so, registering zero goals and nine behinds to their seventh loss of the season. Geelong would also register more scoring shots, yet their poor conversion led to defeat. The Cats also blew the opportunity for two straight victories in the defeat.

Young gun Nina Morrison fought hard in the defeat, registering 18 disposals and continuously driving the ball forward. However, it was to no avail as the Saints held on for a nine-point win.

Who’s on the move?

The Cats’ scoring woes won’t get any easier in 2022, with crafty forward and veteran Danielle Higgins announcing her retirement.

Higgins was an inaugural member of the Geelong side, and her experience will be sorely missed. She was an integral part of the Geelong forward set-up during her time at the Cattery. Higgins played 24 game across four seasons in the AFLW.

Where to next?

For the Cats, season 2023 and beyond is about continuing to build their list towards success. Geelong has one of the most exciting midfield groups in the competition, and if it can recruit well, the club will continue to surge up the ladder.

One of the key focuses for Geelong over the upcoming pre-season will be refining the ability to be consistent.

The Cats showed periods throughout games where they could match it with the best, only narrowly losing against finalists Brisbane and North Melbourne. Disappointingly, their fades within games ultimately cost them in the end.

However, it was a massive improvement for Geelong in season 2022. If the Cats can continue to string together good performances and recruit well, they could once again make strides up the ladder in 2023 and beyond.

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