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VFLW: Cats book Grand Final spot

The Cats will play the Hawks in the 2018 VFLW Grand Final - Geelong Cats
The Cats will play the Hawks in the 2018 VFLW Grand Final

Geelong has booked its place in the 2018 VFLW Grand Final after defeating Collingwood 5.12 (42) to 4.4 (28) in the preliminary final at Stannards Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The composed Cats controlled the match from the very beginning, with a goal to Maddy McMahon in the opening two minutes ensuring that they were always in front on the scoreboard. Geelong’s impressive tackling pressure denied Collingwood from scoring in the first quarter, as the Cats opened an 11 point lead at the first break.

It was an even second quarter as Geelong withstood increased pressure from Collingwood, with both sides booting a goal each to keep the margin the same at half time.

Consecutive goals within the final two minutes of the third quarter saw Geelong all but cement their win, as key forwards Kate Darby and Maddie Boyd increased the Cats’ lead to a game-high 27 points at three-quarter time.

Collingwood kicked three goals in the final quarter to narrow Geelong’s lead, but it was too little too late as an impressive goal to Cassie Blakeway consolidated the Cats’ history-making Grand Final berth.

Geelong VFLW coach Paul Hood praised his side’s composure in the high-intensity final.

“It was fantastic to get the score on the board early and have that momentum going in to the first break, and the girls did a really good job of making it a fierce contest from the get-go,” he said.

“A few things fell our way in the first quarter and really got us excited and they held on really well.

“This was one of our most complete performances.”

Hood said that he’s thrilled for his team to earn the reward of getting to play in the Grand Final.

“I’m excited to be a part of it, but most importantly I’m pleased for the players.

“To see them working at the footy club, all these extra hours doing all the little bits and pieces to become as rounded as they can as footballers, I’m really glad that they get this opportunity to play on a big stage.”

Maddy McMahon was named as Geelong’s best, playing the primary ruck role for the Cats due to a foot injury that kept Erin Hoare on the sidelines.

“She was terrific competing in the ruck and then getting behind the ball and taking marks and outnumbering at ground level, she was sensational,” Hood said.

“Maddy’s a pretty brave player, she did a lot of things today to just halt Collingwood’s momentum at different times.”

Maddie Boyd proved to be an important target in the forward line.

“She’s got such a great marking technique, she gives herself every chance every time. Maddie had some pretty sticky mitts today and was very serviceable for us, she played a great game,” Hood said.

According to Hood there were strong performances across the ground.

“Maddy Keryk was terrific inside, and Rocky Cranston played her normal bullocking game and did a great job.

“We thought both Anna Teague and Bec Goring really held solid down back for nearly all of the day and did great jobs in their one-on-ones and starting our attack.

“Lots of other players contributed too, there was a huge goal from Cassie Blakeway in the last quarter to keep us in front, and it’s really pleasing with how the girls went about it.”

The Cats will face Hawthorn in the Grand Final, and Hood is confident that his side has every chance of winning despite being narrowly defeated by the Hawks in the final home and away game of the season.

“In that game against the Hawks we kicked a couple of points early that maybe could have been goals and they were very accurate.

“Certainly they’re a great team and they’ll be really tough to beat, but the last two games against the Thunder and Collingwood have given us a really good grounding to go in prepared.

“We should go into the Grand Final with a lot of belief, knowing that we’re playing good footy at the right time of the year and we’ll give it our best shot.”

The next week will be business as usual as the VFLW Cats enjoy their Grand Final preparations.

“Training wise it’ll be pretty normal,” Hood said.

“You can’t avoid the excitement and hype around being in a Grand Final, and we’ve just got to embrace that and enjoy it.

“The girls have worked really hard for a long time now and they’ve got their chance to play on the biggest day at the VFL office, so we’re going to go out there and have a lot of fun and see how it pans out.”

The VFLW Grand Final will kick off at 12:30pm next Sunday at Etihad Stadium.

VFL Women’s Preliminary Final
Geelong Cats 5.12 (42) defeated Collingwood 4.4 (28)
Goals: Boyd 2, Blakeway, Darby, McMahon
Best: McMahon, Teague, Cranston, Keryk, Boyd, Goring
Injuries: Nil
Reports: Nil
@ North Port Oval

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs