Despite just two wins from 10 matches in season six, the close losses to perennial finalists Brisbane and North Melbourne showed that Geelong was on the verge of a breakout season. Seven wins and a well-deserved finals berth meant that despite the disappointing finish, the Cats can be very proud of their season.
Finishing position-5th (seven wins, three losses) – lost the Elimination Final to North Melbourne
From two wins to seven in season seven, plenty must have worked for the Cats, it all started in the middle of the ground. Amy McDonald, off the back of two straight best-and-fairest wins, was arguably even better in Season Seven. Her ability to win the hard ball, lay strong tackles when not in possession, and outrun her opponents cemented her spot as one of the competition’s elite players.
For the first half of the season, the Cats were competing well but struggling to turn their dominance around the ground into scoreboard pressure. The move of Shelley Scott permanently forward, combined with more room and isolation for Chloe Scheer changed all that, with the side going from struggling to kick three goals a game to kicking 11 against the Saints and a whopping 15 against the Swans. More support next season for these two will only see the Cats improve further.
It could be argued that really, not much didn’t work compared to Season Six. The defence was rock solid all season, although relied heavily still on captain Meg McDonald. Greater support for her would ensure that when the forward line was failing to fire, the team could stay in games for even longer against top-quality opposition.
More support is also needed for Georgie Prespakis and Amy McDonald in the middle of the ground. Rebecca Webster had good games floating between the wing and in the middle, but when McDonald and Prespakis were not dominating, neither were the Cats. More depth was needed and it showed in key moments.
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Despite already being a star, Georgie Prespakis took her game to another level in Season Seven. She dominated the first half of the season in particular, kicking the match-winner against Richmond in Round One while also leading the coaches’ award at the midpoint of the season. An unfortunate suspension followed by a niggling injury meant she wasn’t able to impact in the last couple of games the way she would have liked, but at just 19 years of age, the future is bright for this Cats star.
From just two wins the season prior, there could easily be half-a-dozen high points of the season. The last-minute win against the Tigers and the hard-fought one-point thriller against top eight contenders the Western Bulldogs were both huge highs, however, to score the second-highest score in AFLW history, break the 100-point barrier, and all in front of their home fans to secure a home final, that is hard to top.
Unfortunately, the ability to dominate the midfield but not hit the scoreboard, as was the case earlier in the season, came back to bite the Cats in the Elimination Final. They dominated North Melbourne for large chunks of the game, but just couldn’t capitalise, losing in heart-breaking fashion. They would have certainly fancied themselves against the Tigers the following week and then, who knows.
Where to Next?
Anything short of finals next year will be considered a huge backward step. Some greater consistency going forward of centre and a couple of top-four scalps next season would be what is wanted from the coaching staff, playing group, and supporters alike.
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