Maddy and Georgie Prespakis

Maddy (R) and Georgie Prespakis. Photo: @catswomens Twitter

Older sister Maddy took the chocolates in the inaugural Prespakis Cup, but Georgie again showed her immense potential in a thrilling match-up.

It was an encounter billed as the battle of the Prespakis sisters as Carlton ventured down the highway to take on Carlton on a humid Saturday night.

Young champion Maddy seemed determined early to assert her authority on both her head-to-head battle and the contest in general.  As Georgie worked her way into the game however, she also showed that she has the ability and the desire to match the deeds of her illustrious elder sister.

The key to the outcome of the sisterly battle was purely experience. Maddy Prespakis was prepared to go to any area of the ground to win the ball, bobbing up as often within the defensive 50 metre arc as in attack.

Georgie in contrast needed to work harder to get hold of the ball than her sibling. All of her possessions in the first half were contested as she battled to get clear. 

In the second half her own running performance allowed her to show glimpses of her immense talent. This was highlighted by an audacious double side-step in the third term running inside 50, with only a Vaomua Laloifi spoil on the line denying her a deserved goal.

The dominance of the elder Prespakis was illustrated early in the last term by a solid tackle which saw the younger sibling collect the hip of teammate Rachel Kearns, leading to her withdrawal from the contest for five minutes with a bloodied nose. It was a gruesome collision that fortunately resulted in no serious injury.

Maddy Prespakis finally tallied 16 kicks and 13 handballs, very few of which were wasted in a best-afield performance.  Georgia’s seven kicks and eight handballs weren’t quite as damaging, with the result being a 4.7 (31) to 2.5 (17) win to the Navy Blues.

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The first half was a tight affair with scoring opportunities few.  Geelong began the game determined to go forward but time and again momentum was turned around by a dominant half-back line led by captain Kerryn Harrington, Gabby Pound and the impressive Laloifi.

Carlton was prepared to utilise skilful switches of play to get their runners free on the break, and even though they had but 26 per cent of time in their forward half, they were rewarded with the only goal of the first term through Elise O’Dea.

After Nicola Stevens missed two chances that on another day she may have kicked, Geelong ran the ball down the field for Kearns to level with an immensely popular first league goal.  Stevens, however, atoned after being found by a piercing Courtney Jones kick into the forward line, restoring Carlton’s advantage.

After Jones kicked the only major of the third term, Carlton missed three early chances to put the game to bed before being given a late scare as Phoebe McWilliams goaled for the Cats, but O’Dea and Stevens combined to put Georgia Gee into an open goal to seal the four points for Carlton.

A complete dominance of the uncontested possession count (167-91), illustrated the work that Carlton was prepared to do to give the player with the ball an outlet to whom they could pass, and this is effectively where the match was won.

This is, by and large, a young, developing Geelong unit. They will give many more illustrious sides a scare, especially on their home deck, and will improve greatly as the season progresses. 

Carlton on the other hand will work to develop the polish that assistant coach Nic Newman called for at the three-quarter time break.  They will need it if their industry is to culminate in a finals berth.

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