26/05/2024
Geelong AFLW Round 1 2022 Georgie Prespakis

Georgie Prespakis starred in her AFLW debut. Photo: Geelong Cats AFLW

Falling short in the final quarter, Geelong will be buoyed by a high-pressure game-plan led by the long-sleeved Georgie Prespakis and cult hero Nina Morrison.

Falling short in the final quarter, Geelong will be buoyed by a high-pressure game-plan led by the long-sleeved Georgie Prespakis and cult hero Nina Morrison.

The Cats were a plus-17 with 66 tackles against the heavily-fancied Kangaroos, but weren’t able to spread from the contest as effectively as their counterparts. North enjoyed 42 more uncontested possessions and the waves of bounding Roos eventually resulted in a two goal to zero final quarter to run away 26-18 victors.

Despite the loss, Geelong will be thrilled with its high-pressure brand of football that had the club leading at three-quarter time. It was a huge contrast to the way the Cats played in 2021, which resulted in a one-win season.

New coach Dan Lowther was quick to imprint his philosophy on the group, and was steadfast in his message post-match about the way he wanted his side to play in 2022.

“To be in a winnable position at three-quarter time, and to let it slip is disappointing but there were some really positive signs,” he said post-match.

“It’s pleasing to have so much change occur in such a short period of time and be a consistent group.

“We’ve focused a lot over the last five months on playing a certain way and the expectation is that our players play that method and style. I think after half-time we kind of found our groove and played our way.”

Prespakis produces in debut and Morrison thrills in return

After a season of dominance at NAB League, VFLW and State levels, Prespakis was taken with the first Victorian selection at the AFLW Draft and she showed why in her debut.

The midfield bull burst through the first contest of the game with ball in hand to get her side on the front foot and continued on from there. She was a staple underneath every pack, either shovelling the ball out to runners on the outside or laying bone-crunching tackles.

As junior competition watchers have come to expect with Prespakis, her intensity at the coalface was on par with her opposition’s and she led from the front for Geelong. The 18-year-old ended her debut with 20 disposals and six tackles in the engine room.

After two knee reconstructions and near-on two years out of the game, the flowing mullet of Nina Morrison was a beautiful sight for football fans and she showed no signs of rust with a dominant first quarter running off half-back.

Just as Prespakis set the tone to start the game, Morrison’s running bounces on the outer wing to start the second half urged the Cats on. It eventually led to their first goal of the season courtesy of Phoebe McWilliams, and the Cats found themselves in front.

Morrison’s 14 disposals were class on the outside for Geelong and it was a brilliant, unscathed return for the star Cat after such a long period out of the game.

Lowther could hardly wipe the grin off his face as he spoke about Morrison’s first game in over 660 days.

“It was great [to see Nina Morrison out there]. Just to see her smiling post-game and pre-game and during the game is good for her to get through. It’s her first game in two years so she looks spent a couple of times there but she finds a way. She’s a gun.”

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