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VFLW: Cats secure finals spot

Georgia Clarke celebrates kicking one of her three goals against the Blues. - Geelong Cats
Georgia Clarke celebrates kicking one of her three goals against the Blues.

Geelong’s VFLW side has clinched a spot in this year’s finals series with a convincing win against Carlton in the final home-and-away game of the season.

The Cats held Carlton goalless after quarter-time in the dominant 7.6 (48) to 2.3 (15) victory.

Four goals in the opening quarter handed the Cats control of the match from the start. Georgia Clarke proved to be dangerous in the forward line, booting two impressive goals much to the delight of the crowd at GMHBA Stadium.

Geelong came out firing in the third term as Clarke kicked her third goal in a dominant day out. Kate Darby was rewarded for an impressive mark in front of goals, giving the Cats a five-goal lead at the final break.

Jordan Ivey kicked the only goal of the final quarter in a standout performance to seal Geelong’s 33-point win and second straight finals appearance.

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Geelong VFLW coach Natalie Wood said that the win and finals berth is a credit to her side’s ongoing development.

“Our focus was wanting to play a really good brand of football today, and with that excited to get the win,” Wood said.

“Obviously a couple of results have gone our way so we sneak into the finals which is fantastic, just in that it gives the girls an opportunity next week to build even further from what they were able to put together today.

“We felt that we’ve been really building. We haven’t always won our games over the last month but we’ve felt that our teamwork and our unity, and probably more so the belief with the players has been growing.”

Wood said that the main message to the players was to be bold in their movement of the football.

“It was our focus today. I think we’ve been pretty solid as a defensive unit and pretty solid as a really contested group of players as well,” Wood said.

“We had a somewhat safe movement pattern and we just wanted to release the shackles a little bit on the players, and ask them to be a bit more bold in some of their open play ball movement.

“We just spoke to the players that it’s a risk we want them to take. It was fantastic to see them really put on a terrific show.

“For us that’s the biggest tick coming out of today’s game, that ball movement but also having the players appreciate that you can only get that if you keep maintaining being hard at the contest.”

Georgia Clarke’s transition to the forward line has proven to be advantageous for the Cats.

“That’s her third or fourth game as a forward. Georgia’s spent a lot of time as a defender but she had a natural want to get the football,” Wood said.

“We think Georgia’s been really improving week to week, not just her forward craft but the gel of it all. It’s great to see her just coming in leaps and bounds.”

There were standout players across the ground for Geelong.

“Jordi Ivey was our captain today, she moved between forward and midfield and particularly in the first quarter her dominance up forward was outstanding. She leads the group really well, she’s a selfless player, she epitomises being hard at the contest,” Wood said.

“Denby Taylor as well, playing her second game as a winger for us, so again a younger player learning a role. She’s just elite by foot, left and right side, and she actually set up a lot of that play.”

Vic Country star and 2019 AFLW Under-18 All Australian Millie Brown also impressed.

 
“Playing her second game with us as a defender, she’s got a terrific penetrating long kick and she was able to help us attack. (It was) terrific to see her defensive techniques standing up against adults and we thought she was really great behind the ball as well,” Wood said.

The 2019 VFLW finals fixture will be released at the completion of this round.

VFL Women’s Round 16
Geelong Cats 7.6 (48) def Carlton 2.3 (15)
Goals: Clarke 3, Ivey, Darby, Van De Heuvel, Cranston
Best: Ivey, D. Taylor, Cranston, Clarke, Webster, Garing
Injuries: Teague (Neck)
Reports: Nil
@ GMHBA Stadium

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