02/03/2024

The Geelong AFLW side is looking for a big improvement in season seven. (Photo: Geelong Cats; Design: Will Cuckson)

After a disappointing 2021 campaign, winning just one game, Geelong was hoping to show improvement in 2022. Whilst only securing two wins for the season, the side was much more competitive in a majority of games, with percentage of 80 (compared to 40) demonstrating this improvement.

Last season:

12th (two wins, eight losses)

The two wins for the Cats came against lowly ranked West Coast and Richmond, however, the club can take much from the close losses to highly fancied sides in North Melbourne (eight points), Brisbane (two points) and Collingwood (11 points).

Amy McDonald was again the standout player for the Cats last season, winning the best and fairest for the second season in a row. Rebecca Webster and Maddy McMahon also had terrific years, rounding out the top three in the best and fairest, well ahead of the rest of the vote-getters.

What to look forward to:

The Cats drafted a number of young, talented footballers in the recent draft, and supporters can look forward to the impact they can have this season.

Mia Skinner, in particular, returns to the club after being originally selected in 2019 but missing the entire season due to injury. Her goal-kicking ability should be great to watch.

It is also exciting to see how the Cats fare this season in general after a couple of down years results-wise. Last year’s effort should give supporters confidence that the club can compete each week.

Biggest unanswered question:

With all of the top 10 in last season’s best and fairest still at the club, the biggest question will be whether there can be enough natural improvement in the list to challenge for a finals spot.

The club has drafted well and has brought in experience from other clubs to bolster its depth, but without the natural improvement of the current playing group, improvement is unlikely.

The Cats have always had issues scoring, so the perennial question remains whether they can take advantage of field position on the scoreboard. They have added Jackie Parry from Melbourne as well as drafted to fill this void in Skinner, but whether consistent goals come each week is still an unknown.

More AFLW Season Previews

AFLW Season Seven Preview: St Kilda Saints

AFLW Season Seven Preview: West Coast Eagles

AFLW Season Seven Preview: Essendon Bombers

It’s a big year for:

Nina Morrison – the 2018 number one draft pick has battled knee injuries since her scintillating debut, but was finally able to find some consistency last year, finishing fourth in the best and fairest.

With another pre-season under her belt, the club, and Morrison herself, will be expecting big things.

Her ability to impact in the midfield at a level higher than last year will go a long way to the Cats improving overall.

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Fixture highlights:

The highlight for the Cats and their supporters is really the opportunity to play at a wide variety of unique grounds throughout the season.

The fixture sends them all over the country – Fremantle Oval in Perth, the University of Tasmania Stadium in Hobart, Mars Stadium in Ballarat, Norwood Oval in Adelaide and Reid Oval in Warrnambool.

While the travel schedule is tough, it gives the club the chance to prove that it can start to match it with the contenders of the competition again.

Games against perennial finalists Fremantle, Collingwood and North Melbourne early in the season will give the side and supporters a great indication of the improvement from last season.

Full fixture:

R1: vs. Richmond, August 28 (GMHBA Stadium)

R2: vs Fremantle, September 3 (Fremantle Oval)

R3: vs Collingwood, September 10 (GMHBA Stadium)

R4: vs North Melbourne, September 16 (University of Tasmania Stadium)

R5: vs St.Kilda, September 22 (GMHBA Stadium)

R6: vs Western Bulldogs, October 1 (Mars Stadium)

R7: vs Essendon, October 9 (Reid Oval)

R8: vs West Coast, October 15 (IKON Park)

R9: vs Adelaide, October 21 (Norwood Oval)

R10: vs Sydney, Date TBC (GMHBA Stadium)

Ins/Outs:

Ins: Mikayla Bowen (West Coast), Jackie Parry (Melbourne), Shelley Scott (Melbourne), Ingrid Houtsma (Richmond), Mia Skinner (Geelong VFLW), Brooke Plummer (Northern Knights), Abbey McDonald (Calder Cannons)

Outs: Rene Caris, Madisen Maguire, Carly Remmos, Denby Taylor (retired), Danielle Higgins (retired), Phoebe McWilliams (Carlton), Jordi Ivey (Melbourne), Steph Williams (Richmond)

Inactive: Renee Garing

Predicted Round 1 line-up:

Ladder range:

10th-14th

The Cats have a challenging draw but showed major improvement last season.

If they can turn a couple of close losses into wins, they could end up not too far from the top eight.

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