AFLW Round 6 – Geelong v Fremantle: A major step back for inconsistent Cats


Usually when finals time rolls around Melbourne begins to warm up and the spring sunshine steadily sets in. The leaves return in full colour and footy grounds are a haven for what is known as the glorifious contest of finals matches. You can feel it take over in the last few rounds, when hoodies, scarves and other types of cold-concealing garments are ditched for sleeveless jumpers and shorts.


With two rounds left before the AFLW season climaxes with finals, the weather is only deteriorating into chilly winds and shivers. Luckily, the footy is still as intense as ever, with Geelong and Fremantle meeting at GMHBA Stadium for a finals-defining match up.


Following their impressive victory last week, the Cats went in brimming with confidence, knowing that another win at their home fortress would leave them in a spot in a preliminary final – a fine achievement for their maiden effort. They played with said positivity too – after locking the ball in their forward 50 with signature grit, Darby broke the deadlock with a superb crumb and snap across the body to continue her recent dominant form.


Unfortunately, Geelong’s problem of controlling periods of the game yet not converting this into scoreboard leads came back to rear its ugly head. Despite holding the ball in their forward half for basically the entire quarter, they could only muster one goal by the first break. This hurt them even more when Sharp immediately sharked a tumbling ball out the back to snap through a replying goal in similar fashion to Darby’s first quarter effort. Game on.


Kicking to a scoring end, Fremantle found their mojo and their attack began to flow – Houghton stayed in front and crumbed smartly, before sidestepping defenders to kick a wonderful drop punt. Despite losing defender Alex Williams to a troubling knee injury, the Dockers grabbed the lead with certainty and never looked like relinquishing it for the quarter. Yet they fell into the same trap as Geelong, struggling to kick another goal. Donnellan should have taken her chance to kick a wonderful running goal after O’Sullivan’s clever kick allowed her to soccer it twice into the goal square – luckily for Geelong, Goring was present to administer a clutch tackle that brilliantly prevented the major. This shifted the momentum – Clifford’s strong mark and goal from a precise McWilliams kick just minutes out from the major break brought the contest right back to an even keel.


Whatever happened over the main break, Geelong came out a different team. Diminished of the confidence that had allowed such a youthful team to top their conference with two games to spare, they played nervously and timidly. Devoid of their attacking flair, they wouldn’t score at all in the second half. They held on bravely defensively, yet the dam wall was set to burst when Sharp hit up on a lead and duly converted the set shot. However, Geelong weren’t willing to give up despite their impotent forward line – young Rankin laid a superb midfield tackle to barrel over Fremantle players and signal their intentions for the rest of the game.


By the time the last quarter swung around, the Dockers continued their rampant gameplay and were allowed to convert at the scoring end. The diffident play by Geelong spread all over the ground, with the defence lacking the confidence to get in front of their opponents – the smarts of Houghton resulted in a clever soccer goal following Donnellan’s well-weighted kick over the top.


With Darby disappearing from the game, tall targets in Boyd and McWilliams attempted to stamp their presence with strong marks along the half-back line. However, the game was gone by the time Ivey was pressured out of the contest and Cain pounced with a marvellous banana goal. The confidence of Geelong had been zapped, and Fremantle coasted to an easy victory, capped off by a shocking defensive turnover that allowed Miller to ice the cake.


Losing by 6 goals, Geelong had gone back two steps after last week. With only one match left against the Giants, a victory can still propel them into a preliminary final. However, this looks far away due to their complete backflip in form – a tough match up against the Giants next week will truly dictate whether the inexperienced Cats are ready for some ‘March Madness’ in the AFLW finals.


GEELONG 1.1 2.1 2.1 2.1 (13)
FREMANTLE 0.1 2.2 3.5 6.13 (49)


Geelong: Darby, Clifford
Fremantle: Sharp 2, Houghton 2, Cain, Miller
Geelong: McDonald, McMahon, Purcell, Cranston, Garing
Fremantle: Bowers, Houghton, Miller, Hooker, Antonio, Laurie
Geelong: Nil
Fremantle: Williams (knee)
Reports: Nil
Umpires: Burns, Strybos, Edwards
Official crowd: 4125 at GMHBA Stadium



Read other stories on AFLW Round 6, and other women’s footy stories here.


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  1. Paul Spinks says

    Thanks, Sean:
    It seemed when we had the ascendancy we took our foot off the pedal. Perhaps, got a dose of the complacencies, as I sometimes refer to it when it afflicts the men’s team.
    Inexperience is a big factor in this case, I suspect. Overall, the women are doing better than I expected, so if we make the finals that’ll be an achievement in itself. Not that they would want to settle for that.

  2. Hi Paul,
    Thank you! I agree – it’s natural for such a young and inexperienced team to go through. It just could impact their finals hopes, which is unfortunate because they could be a surprise packet if they manage to squeeze in!

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