Geelong return to their home ground this weekend following a narrow loss to reigning premiers Brisbane in Maroochydore.
The two-point loss to the Lions is the fourth game in succession where Geelong has challenged their opposition for until the final siren. Though this is a positive, the developing side still hasn’t taken the final step and walked away with the ‘W’ next to their name.
West Coast arrived in Melbourne following their Round 1 clash with Fremantle and have only managed to play two games in four weeks due to a Covid outbreak amongst their playing group.
Friday’s game will be their first match since Round 3 and their second last game before they head back home to Perth next week. They will be looking to finish their stay here on a high and will go in with confidence after beating the Cats in 2021 by their highest ever winning margin, 39 points.
Geelong will once again aim to show how much they’ve improved in the past 12 months and will be desperate to get their first win on the board in front of their home crowd.
Geelong Cats v West Coast Eagles
Friday 4 February 2022 at 7.10pm
GMHBA Stadium, Geelong
Last Time They Met
West Coast 8.5 (53) def. Geelong Cats 2.2 (14)
These two sides have only met once, with the occasion taking place last season in Round 7 on a Monday evening at Mineral Resources Park in Perth.
Geelong were looking for their first victory, whilst the Eagles were searching for their second.
With both sides sitting near on the ladder it was expected to be a close match, however the game quickly became one-sided with the Eagles dominating from the first bounce.
West Coast squandered their early opportunities in front of goal, but in the second quarter it began to click for the home side when small forward Imahra Cameron piled on three goals in six minutes.
The Eagles' confidence grew and more players became involved in the team’s attack, particularly Irish sisters Niamh and Grace Kelly who kicked two goals apiece.
Geelong was able to get on the board through Amy McDonald and Georgia Clarke late in the game, however it was too little too late and the Eagles walked away with their highest ever score and their biggest winning margin.
Lucky or unlucky 13?
When the Eagles take to the field this Friday night, it will be their first game in 13 days.
West Coast, who have been in a Melbourne hub for close to a month, were unfortunately struck down by a Covid outbreak amongst players which has resulted in the postponement of their last two of matches.
On the other hand, the Cats have fortunately played every weekend since the competition began on the dates they were originally scheduled to play.
Will the break help the Eagles? Or will the continuity of matches suit the Cats?
First win up for grabs
These two sides are yet to register a win in 2022, meaning unless it’s a draw, one will break their drought this Friday night.
Both clubs have had challenging fixtures to start the season.
The Eagles have faced the top two sides, Adelaide and Fremantle, as well as the improving Gold Coast Suns, with an average losing margin of 25 points.
Geelong have also had a difficult start, playing three teams in the top six - North Melbourne, Collingwood and reigning premiers Brisbane, along with inaugural AFLW team Carlton.
Geelong’s pressure has kept them with these sides for the majority of their games, with the average losing margin of nine points.
Who will get their first premiership points this weekend?
The Key Points
1) Swan’s on
West Coast captain Emma Swanson is key to the Eagles.
When searching through the key stat winners of the competition, the Eagles’ Swanson features on nearly every list.
Swanson is ninth in the competition for disposals, third for metres gained, 10th for contested possessions, sixth for clearances, 13th for tackles and fourth for inside 50s.
It’s fair to say that the Eagles skipper has had an exceptional start to the year.
The Cats will need to slow down her dominance if they hope to get their first win this Friday night.
2) Scheer class
Geelong’s big name recruit, Chloe Scheer, was able to showcase what she’s capable of in front of goals last week.
Long deliveries inside 50 put the Lions’ defence under the pump, resulting in three free-kicks and three goals in 15 minutes.
Much has been spoken of the Cats’ inability to hit the scoreboard, however last week’s game will have shown the home side that if they can go long and direct to their forwards, they can capitalise on their opportunities.
Scheer is such a classy user of the ball, they’ll want the ball in her hands as much as possible this Friday night.
How to Watch
Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster here.
For those wanting to follow along at home, the game will be broadcast live on Foxtel, and can be streamed through Kayo, womens.afl or the AFL Women’s and AFL Live Official Apps.
A pop up Sensory Zone on the Level 1 concourse of the Brownlow Stand will be operating at this week’s AFLW game, where sensory backpacks and a small quiet space will be available. The main Sensory Zone in the Players’ Stand will also be open throughout the match.