The VFLW Bendigo Bank Cats have braved wet weather conditions to defeat the Southern Saints at Deakin University on Saturday.
Geelong led all afternoon in the 2.4 (16) to 1.2 (8) victory.
The Cats controlled much of the play in the opening term as the wind and rain increased. The home side’s hard work was rewarded as Claudia Gunjaca kicked a goal late in the quarter for Geelong to take an eight-point lead into the first break.
The Southern Saints scored the only goal of the next two quarters through Valerie Moreau early in the second term. The Cats worked hard to lock the ball in their forward half in the physical contest, to lead by one-point at three-quarter time.
Geelong’s intensity lifted in the final quarter despite the heavy conditions as the rain continued to fall. It was reward for effort as Michelle Fedele kicked a captain’s goal to seal the hard-fought eight-point victory and Geelong’s second win of the season.
VFLW Coach Andrew Bruce credited his side’s ability to adapt to the conditions in the gutsy win.
“We faced extremely tough conditions, it just rained non-stop for the four quarters and there was quite a strong wind for the first half,” Bruce said.
“It was a really tough and well fought out win. The girls just tried to keep getting the ball forward and there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to score for either team, but we probably made the most of ours when they came.
“We tried to go back to basics of just getting the ball forward and hardly any handballs, we just wanted to try and go by foot as much as possible.”
Madisen Maguire played an important role for the Cats, with her class and experience on display.
“I thought Madisen was outstanding. She played as a forward for the first three quarters and was really hard and gave us a real good presence in the forward half, and then she went onto the ball in the last quarter and her game was really strong. Her experience around the footy was fantastic for us,” Bruce said.
“Tamara Smith was also good, she’s really good in close like all of our mids are and her tackle pressure was great.
“Liv Fuller in the ruck probably did about 70 to 80 per cent of the ruck work, she just gave us a contest all day long.”
.@GeelongFalcons Annie Lee in her @VFL debut and @BellarineBball Liv Fuller in only her third game of football with trademark #GeelongStrong marks under pressure in @catswomens win yesterday.#StandProud pic.twitter.com/y6kiInXXKR— Arj Giese (@Arjys_Eye) March 13, 2021
The Cats also had two debutants, as Geelong Falcons players Annie Lee and Renee Tierney impressed in their first game in the blue and white hoops.
“Both players were outstanding, they really were. Annie was so composed across the half-back line and I think she probably would have taken four or five marks which was great, and just made really good decisions with the footy,” Bruce said.
“Renee played forward for us and also took a few marks and was really strong.”
Geelong will face the undefeated Port Melbourne in their Round 4 clash at Deakin University next Saturday.
VFL Women’s Round 3
Geelong Cats 2.4 (16) def Southern Saints 1.2 (8)
Goals: Fedele, Gunjaca
Best: Maguire, Smith, Fuller, Gunjaca, Fedele, Lee
At Deakin University Elite Sports Precinct