The VFLW Bendigo Bank Cats have recorded their sixth win in a row after defeating Essendon by 23 points at Deakin University Elite Sports Precinct on Saturday afternoon. 

The 5.9 (39) to 2.4 (16) victory sees Geelong climb to second on the ladder, with four rounds of the home and away season left.

Sophie Van De Heuvel and Rocky Cranston kicked two goals apiece, while former Adelaide AFLW premiership player and current Cats ruck coach Jess Foley was instrumental in her debut in the blue and white hoops.

Windy conditions contributed to the tough contest, with both sides unable to impact the scoreboard in the first quarter.

The Cats found momentum early in the second term, as Cranston kicked her first goal in the opening minute. Olivia Fuller took a strong mark and converted perfectly to give Geelong a 15-point lead at half-time.

An even third quarter saw Essendon kick their first goal, narrowing Geelong’s lead to seven points. Both sides continued to work hard in the tough slog before a late goal to Cranston from the ruck pushed the Cats’ lead back out to 15-points.

Essendon continued to look dangerous in the final term, but two goals to Sophie Van De Heuvel sealed the victory for Geelong.

Geelong VFLW Coach Andrew Bruce was pleased with the way his side fought out the game.

“We knew Essendon were going to come at us pretty hard which they did, and generally when there’s two sides next to each other on the ladder it’s going to be a game like it was,” Bruce said.

“Essendon came with a real lot of pressure, and so it took the girls a little while to adapt but they worked really hard all day and were in front all day.

“It wasn’t our best game, but we were really pleased with the way the girls fought it out right until the end.”

Jess Foley displayed her class and experience in an impressive performance, playing different roles throughout the afternoon.

“We started Jess forward and in the ruck in that first quarter and a half, and then we swapped her down back,” Bruce said.

“She just reads the footy really well and gets into fantastic positions so that was great. It allowed Claudia Gunjaca to go forward and she was just fantastic as well.”

Rene Caris and Sophie Van De Heuvel were also standout players for the Cats.

“Rene was really good in the ruck and more so around the ground which is really pleasing for her. She took some marks and got on the end of some handballs, and she’s really developing her game which is great,” Bruce said.

“We pushed Sophie forward and thought she was quite dynamic, and she kicked a couple of goals so that was also pleasing.” 

Geelong will travel to Trevor Barker Beach Oval, Sandringham to face the Southern Saints next Saturday.

VFL Women’s Round 10

Geelong Cats 5.9 (39) def Essendon 2.4 (16)

Goals: Van De Heuvel 2, Cranston 2, Fuller

Best: Gunjaca, Caris, Foley, Van De Heuvel, Webster, Keryk

Injuries: McDonald (hamstring)

At Deakin University Elite Sports Precinct