Geelong will be striving to strike the right balance between offence and defence when it takes on North Melbourne in two weeks, following the lessons learned in Saturday’s AFL Women’s practice match against Melbourne.

The Cats burst away early in the game, with plenty to like about a four-goal-to-none opening term, but ultimately went on to lose 5.4 (34) to 8.7 (55) after the Demons fought their way back into the game.

The intensity was high early as both teams took to the contest with relish, but it was the Cats who adjusted quickest in the first quarter.

Georgia Clarke’s hard work was rewarded as she snapped the first goal of the game, while Maddie Boyd followed on with two more.

Her second came after an impressive Becky Webster laid a great tackle in the middle of the ground, launching the Cats into attack with the resulting free kick.

Amy McDonald joined in with a brilliant goal, intercepting a Melbourne kick in the Cats’ forward arc and wheeling around to extend the team’s lead to 23 points just before quarter-time.

The Demons fought back in the second quarter and made the most of their opportunities in the tight tussle, kicking away on the scoreboard in the second and third terms.

The Cats were up for the contest but struggled to find their attacking flair from the first quarter, and added just two behinds to the scoreboard in the ensuing two terms.

But an improved final term saw the Cats keep the Demons goalless until the final few seconds of play, while producing better movement and creating opportunities for themselves.

New captain Meg McDonald gathers her teammates in for the pre-game huddle. Photo: AFL Photos

“We showed early in the game that we can have some really exciting play, and the ability to do some damage on the scoreboard, but it’s important that we maintain our balance throughout the game – our balance between attack and defence,” Cats head coach Paul Hood said.

“(We) understand that we’ve got to play with greater consistency throughout the four quarters.

“Melbourne had a really good period throughout the middle of the game – credit to them, they played really well – it was nice to see our team fight back and regain a bit of ascendancy in the last 20 minutes.”

Hood said the Cats’ efforts in the first and fourth quarters were pleasing, with good ball movement and disposal.

Webster was particularly solid through the midfield, with some great passages of play, including the tackle that led to Boyd’s second goal, and winning a one-on-three marking contest in the last quarter to send the Cats goalward.

Rocky Cranston laid some strong, clean tackles, winning the Cats a couple of free kicks on the wings, while Renee Garing had some clean disposals in tight contests and draftee Steph Williams showed exciting glimpses.

Becky Webster gets a handball away during Saturday's practice match. Photo: AFL Media

“Our best play today was really good, we look forward to showing more of that for longer periods throughout the season,” Hood said.

“There were some really good highlights – Becky Webster through the midfield had some fantastic moments, Denby Taylor with her tackling and some of her marking was terrific as well.

“That goal that Amy McDonald kicked was a great one for us to see and, ahead of the ball, Maddie Boyd looked really powerful at times as well.

“Phoebe McWilliams and Rocky Cranston really worked into the game over their period on the ground too.

“There’s still plenty of positives, we’ve just got to continue to build our consistency.”

Renee Garing gets a handball away against Melbourne. Photo: AFL Media

There were no significant injury concerns out of the clash for the Cats, who will now turn their focus towards the season-opener against North Melbourne at GMHBA Stadium on January 31.

Geelong:     4.0     4.0    4.2     5.4 (34)

Melbourne: 0.1     5.3    7.5     8.7 (55)

Geelong goals: Maddie Boyd (2), Amy McDonald, Georgia Clarke, Olivia Purcell\