29/05/2024

It was a dominant midfield display from the Cats. (Photo: Geelong FC/Website)

Geelong has secured its fourth consecutive win with a dominate midfield performance against the West Coast Eagles.

The Cats’ midfield was boosted by the return of young gun Georgie Prespakis, who missed the last two weeks due to suspension.

The Cats were strong out of the stoppage with Cats winning the stoppage battle 25-8 and winning the overall clearance battle 28-23.

Despite Eagles ruck Sarah Lakay dominating having 32 hit outs for the match, the Cats were strong out of the stoppage, nullifying the impact of Lakay by not allowing the Eagles midfielders first use of the footy.

A key factor to that was Cats ruck Olivia Fuller being able to able to get her own clearances out of the ruck contest. Fuller finished the match with five clearances, 16 disposals, and 10 hit outs.

There were a number of contributors in Geelong’s midfield with Prespakis (21 disposals and eight clearances), Amy McDonald (20 disposals and six clearances), and Nina Morrison (19 disposals and two clearances) all major ball winners out of the middle.

The Cats were able to maintain possession and control territory which stemmed from the side’s dominance out of the middle. They were also able to control the air, with Chloe Scheer, Shelley Scott, Kate Darby and Prespakis taking control from a contested marking perspective.

Although inaccuracy almost cost the Cats as they kicked four goals and 10 behinds for the match which kept the Eagles in the contest.

Eagles coach Daniel Prior said post-match that he felt that the Cats kept his side in the game but the Eagles turned it around in the second half.

“They missed a lot of opportunities,” Prior said.

“I think we got going a bit better in the second half but that first half they had a lot more territory than us and made it really hard for us to score. We played with a few things and fixed a few things, they kept us in the game a little bit.”

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Connection the key for young Cats

The Eagles have a core of young stars that are starting to show what they’re capable of. Ella Roberts once again had a strong game while Lakay was strong in the ruck.

Prior said that there will be some hard work being put in but the Eagles are on the right path to be able to contend in the future.

“I think we’ve got some good young players coming through. Sarah Lakay in the ruck keeps developing. Ella Roberts forward, I think she kicked our first one early in the game,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of young players, Jade Britton out on the wing running machine, she can run all day, Charlie Thomas develops in her second year. We’ve had three nominations for the Rising Star in the last three weeks.

“We feel like we’re on the right path, it’ll turn for us we’ve still got some hard work to go but there are patches in games you think that if we do that for four quarters, we’ll be ok. That’s just the evolution and growth of our group, it’ll take time.”

Sophie McDonald continues to be a key cog in the Eagles’ defence. This week she was able to limit Chole Scheer to just one goal after a three-goal haul the week before.

Prior said that he believes that McDonald should be in contention for a spot in the All-Australian backline this season.

“Only underrated by people outside our footy club, she’s [Sophie McDonald] been fantastic for us. She should be spoken about in All-Australian contention as a key back,” he said.

“Out of eight games, she’s been beaten once so we continue to throw those jobs at Soph. She does her homework, she studies her opposition and that’s clearly why she gets the job done on the weekends.”

Looking forward, Geelong will head over to Adelaide to face the reigning premiers while West Coast will face the Western Bulldogs in Perth.

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