Geelong will face Port Adelaide for the first time in AFLW history this weekend, as they travel to Alberton Oval for their round four clash on Saturday.
The Cats sit comfortably in sixth spot on the ladder through three weeks, boasting a very healthy percentage despite falling short against North Melbourne last Friday.
Port Adelaide claimed their first win of the season last weekend against St Kilda on the back of a three goal final quarter, as they currently sit 14th on the ladder.
The Power entered the AFLW competition in 2022, winning just one game for the year but the Cats did not face them during their inaugural season.
Winning this weekend would further entrench Geelong inside the top eight, with the potential to move back into the top four as the season nears its halfway point.
The Cats will look to continue their strong form in the back half, holding one of the stingiest defences so far this season with just 89 points conceded across the opening three matches.
The Stat That Matters - Clearances
Looking at the first three weeks of the season, quite simply, clearances win matches.
The Cats were dominant around stoppages in their opening two wins, combining for a +20 differential (65 - 45) against the Western Bulldogs and Sydney.
North Melbourne flipped the statistic on its head last Friday, beating Geelong 35 – 18 in the clearance battle as they stormed home in the second half to claim the four points.
Similar trends have played out in Port Adelaide’s opening three weeks, soundly beaten in their first two games before winning the clearance battle 33 -27 in their win over St Kilda last Sunday.
Boasting one of the strongest midfield groups in the competition, look for the Cats to once again dominate around stoppages to gain ascendency in a crucial clash with the Power.
Players to Watch
1. Meg McDonald
The Geelong Captain reaches an incredible milestone this week, becoming just the third Cat in history to play 50 AFLW games.
The 32 year old has been rock solid down back this season, averaging 13 disposals and six marks per game while forming a brilliant partnership with Claudia Gunjaca in defence.
With the Cats playing a more aggressive style of football this season, McDonald is an experienced and reliable asset to have in the back line to stop opposition counter attacks.
The skipper will be crucial to keeping Port Adelaide’s key forwards quiet this weekend, as the club looks to celebrate her extraordinary career with a win.
2. Chloe Scheer
Since joining Geelong in season six, Chloe Scheer has spearheaded the Cats forward line booting 21 goals in her opening two seasons at Kardinia Park.
The key forward started superbly this year with a five goal haul against Sydney in round two, but was kept quiet by a strong North Melbourne defensive unit last weekend.
With the Cats being held goalless in the second half against the Kangaroos, they will undoubtedly be looking to inflict some serious scoreboard damage on the Power this Saturday.
They say it is hard to keep a good player down, so look for Scheer to be back to her scintillating best in front of goal.
3. Erin Hoare
With the clearance battle noted as a pivotal statistic for this week’s result, a strong ruck performance from Erin Hoare would give the Cats the upper hand around stoppages against Port Adelaide.
Returning from a four year break, the 34 year old has transitioned back into the Cats line up seamlessly as she averages 17 hit outs per game across the opening three weeks.
Hoare’s experience will be vital this weekend against Port Adelaide’s rookie ruck, hoping to give first use to the likes of Georgie Prespakis and Amy McDonald through the middle.
Meg McDonald – 50 AFLW Games
From the Coach
“Last week shows that Port Adelaide continue to improve, it was an extremely resilient win.
They were down at three quarter time, to fire up and come back to the get the victory was impressive.
They will be buoyed by that, so we need to make sure that we are up for the challenge.
They are a strong contested team; they have a really good midfield group and emerging rucks that support their drive. Then they have some talent up forward too that we need to be wary of.
As long as we bring our contested work and our A-Game around decision making and fundamentals, I think we’ll go okay but it will be a really strong test for our group.”
Dan Lowther – Geelong AFLW Head Coach
Quote of the Week
"Dan Lowther came into the review this week, with the question around how do we as a group play our best footy.
You know the answer internally, but it’s great to get the group together and figure it out in terms of how we can play our best as a team.
That is what we really want to hone in on this week, like we do every week but really focus on what we do well and how we win games.
Play to our structure and our system, then the outcome will take care of itself.
We are pumped to play Port and to bring our best."
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