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VFLW: Cats fall short

Nina Morrison finished with a game-high 20 disposals for the Cats - Geelong Cats
Nina Morrison finished with a game-high 20 disposals for the Cats

The Cats have fallen short to a classy Hawthorn outfit by 13 points in the Swisse VFLW Grand Final at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Hawthorn gained control of the match in the early stages of the game to kick the opening goal in the first four minutes.

But the Cats continued to contest and a goal to Maddie Boyd saw Geelong trail by just two points at quarter time.

Both sides applied strong defensive pressure in the second quarter, but it was the Hawks who managed to do the damage on the scoreboard and establish an 11 point lead at the main break.

Geelong came out firing in the third quarter and controlled much of the play, but struggled to capitalise on opportunities in front of goal. A goal to the Hawks late in the quarter all but sealed their victory.

The Cats never stopped contesting and a goal to Kate Darby early in the final quarter ignited the crowd, but Hawthorn proved to be too strong on the day in their 4.6 (30) to 2.5 (17) win.

Geelong VFLW coach Paul Hood spoke of his pride for his team despite the tough result.

“It’s a fairly bitter pill to swallow, when you get this far and so close but I’m really proud of the group and the way that they contested and went about the game,” he said.

“We kept creating opportunities to score and get back in it, but unfortunately we couldn’t quite take them like we’d like to today.

“But right to the end of the game they never stopped trying and I’m very proud of the group for that.”

AFLW signing Hannah Burchell was named as the Cats’ best.

“We were really impressed with Hannah and her work on the wing and ability to actually break lines and take it forward,” Hood said.

“She took some really nice marks too and played a terrific game.”

Cassie Blakeway also played a pivotal role for Geelong.

“Down back, Cassie took some really brave marks and took a few big hits,” Hood said.

“She really put her body on the line for the team which she always does which is really pleasing.”

Geelong’s youngest players impressed once again, with Nina Morrison gathering 20 disposals and Olivia Purcell laying a game-high 11 tackles.

Hood said that his side never gave up, but just couldn’t quite outplay the impressive Hawks.

“We kept working so hard to get the ball our way and unfortunately it just wasn’t our day.

“It was never any fault of the desperation or effort of the players, they really put everything on the line and unfortunately the Hawks were just a little bit better today, credit to them.”

While it wasn’t the finish to the season that the Cats wanted, Hood is confident about the future of women’s football in Geelong through the AFLW and VFLW.

“The experience we get from days like today and playing three finals, all knockout finals, the girls standing up in big moments is terrific.

“All of that is really going to build the excitement and hope amongst the team for next season, plus the players that we’ve signed up that aren’t playing with us yet and some that we’ll get in the upcoming draft.

“We feel confident that we’re going to have a really competitive team and put our best foot forward.”

VFL Women’s Grand Final
Geelong 2.5 (17) defeated by Hawthorn 4.6 (30)
Goals: Boyd, Darby
Best: Burchell, Morrison, McMahon, Keryk, Blakeway, Purcell
Injuries: Nil
Reports: Nil
@ Etihad Stadium

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