K rock Football

Foundation laid for Cats

Michelle Fedele and Maddi Boyd celebrate a Geelong goal in the VFL Women’s Grand Final loss to Hawthorn. (Geelong Cats Image/Arj Giese)

GEELONG’S leaders believe the Cats performance to reach the Grand Final of the VFLW in just their second season will hold the club in good stead for its elevation to the AFLW competition 2019.

They may have lost to Hawthorn by 13 points in the decider at Etihad Stadium but will begin the pre-season campaign for their historic entry into AFLW buoyed by their development over the past 12 months.

Geelong coach Paul Hood told his group post-game they should be proud of how far they’ve come and is already eager to begin preparations for 2019.

“As I said to the girls at the end of the game, they’re such a fantastic group to work with; I just want the next game to start now. I want to go to training Tuesday night and get cracking,” Hood said.

“We understand that we need to have a rest. But I’ll be counting down the days until we get to work again.

“You’ve got learn from these things and, as an individual, turn yourself into the best tool for the team and I know this group is really hungry to start this as soon as they can.”

The Cats were missing a host of their AFLW squad, including injured pair Erin Hoare and Renee Garing, recruits Aasta O’Connor and Mel Hickey while Julia Crockett-Grills and Phoebe McWilliams were part of Hawthorn’s premiership-winning line-up.

Hood said the fact they ran the Hawks so close is an encouraging sign the Cats are capable of making an immediate impact in AFLW.

“We’re really excited about the chance to put our hand up and compete in that competition,” Hood said.

“The Hawthorn team that ran out today, they were the very best opposition that we can find at the moment, and we acquitted ourselves fairly well.

“We probably needed a few more things to go right on the day to beat the best team and say we are the best team on the season. Hawthorn definitely was that and credit to them.

“But we’re not far away.”

While they fell short of the ultimate prize, Hood said the Cats were thrilled by their season.

“There was a lot of things to feel really proud about throughout the year,” he said. “A lot of players made amazing steps in their development; we got ourselves to a game that was something we thought we were a long, long way away from where we were at the start of the year.

“It’s pretty bittersweet because, if we take a few chances and the ball bounces our way a couple of times, we can kick ourselves a winning score.

“So that’s disappointing for now. But, looking back over the last 12 months, it’s been a really good season and looking forward at what’s to come.

“We’ve got a lot of excitement about where we’ll be in a few months time.”

Twitter: @GreenBradley

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