AFLW Round 5 – Brisbane v Geelong: Stamping finals intentions

 

 

Who would’ve thought that, in their first season in the nationwide competition, the Geelong Cats would be taking part in a make-or-break contest for the top spot in their conference? Following a gutsy round one victory over a struggling Collingwood and some reality checks against AFLW powerhouses, the Cats headed to Queensland looking to continue their stellar form from their win over Carlton.

 

With the sunscreen heavily slapped on up at Moreton Bay, Geelong knew that a win under the brutal sun could have them headed to a preliminary final in their maiden season – an extraordinary achievement for a team largely similar to their VFLW outfit in previous years. Recalling their 2017 and 2018 leading goal-kicker in Kate Darby, Geelong sought to match the roughness of Brisbane following their hectic forward-50 tackling performance the week before. A heavy focus was placed on matching the grunt of the Lions’ midfield, as the Cats’ midfielders had a difficult task ahead of them.

 

Needing a strong start away from home, Geelong were kickstarted by a stunning goal of the year contender from the recalled Darby. Dragged down in the goal square and appearing to have squandered a close-range goal, Darby dropped the ball onto her foot whilst on the ground to magically tumble it through for the game’s opening major. Spurred on by this clever footwork, the likes of Cranston and Purcell elevated their midfield presence to lock the ball in Geelong’s forward 50.

 

This trend continued into the second quarter, as Geelong were swift to clear the ball from the centre to their forward line. From there, it was only a matter of time before the Cats would eventually score. Just like the Queensland heat, the Cats were relentless. But one cloud came over and Brisbane managed to counterattack – McCarthy broke free out the back and reminisced about her AFLW season one days by streaking into a goal before celebrating wildly. Despite their dominance throughout the encounter, Geelong hadn’t put the scoreboard pressure on. Alarm bells were ringing going into half-time.

 

Up stepped Mia-Rae Clifford. Winning a free kick in a marking contest, she lined up on a heavy angle. Slicing her kick through the breeze, the ball snuck through the goals on the half-time siren. Momentum had been shifted.

 

After the main break, the echoes of Clifford’s goal continued to ring in both teams’ ears. Geelong had increased confidence, and capitalised on their brave movement of the ball to convert on the scoreboard. Purcell, who was amid a stellar game full of tough possessions and broken tackles, managed to slam through a richly-deserved goal to push the Cats further ahead. Shortly after, she was involved again – winning the clearance and propelling forward in a play that resulted in Darby kicking her second. Suddenly, the Lions looked toothless.

 

For the rest of the second half, Brisbane were a completely different team from the intense contested ball squad from the week before. Highlighting their inconsistency, they let themselves be run over by Geelong, unable to halt the momentum and stage a comeback. Geelong cantered to a 37-17 win in the inside 50 count, preventing the Lions from even crossing the halfway line.
The last quarter was soon turned into party time for the Cats when Darby slotted a miraculous 50 metre set shot goal. Darby had gone from zero to hero – she had been freed up once Shannon Campbell went off due to a heavy head knock and didn’t look back. It’s safe to say after this week that Darby won’t be getting dropped anytime soon if she performs like she did against Brisbane.

 

Geelong celebrated their way to the final siren, holding a lead at the top of Conference B that shouldn’t be usurped if they overcome Fremantle at home next round. Holding Brisbane to a record low margin of 8 points for the match, including a solitary point in the second half, their defence has come along in leaps and bounds. The small yet nuggety midfield continued to excel, while Darby now appears as a leader of an adaptable offence that is beginning to consistently score heavily. Who knows how far the Cats can go in 2019?

 

BRISBANE 0.1 1.1 1.2 1.2 (8)
GEELONG 1.1 2.1 4.3 5.5 (35)
GOALS
Brisbane: McCarthy
Geelong: Darby 3, Clifford, Purcell
BEST
Brisbane: Bates, Anderson, Keeffe, Virgo
Geelong: Cranston, Darby, Purcell, Garing, McMahon, Ivey
INJURIES
Brisbane: Campbell (concussion)
Geelong: McWilliams (finger)
Reports: Nil
Umpires: Adair, Baigent, Strybos
Official crowd: TBC at Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex

 

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Comments

  1. John Butler says

    Onya Sean.

    The Cats are very solid defensively. But they still have work to do on their defensive transition through the middle.

    Huge game against the Dockers.

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