K rock Football

Cats clinch a finals berth

Geelong celebrates its 33-point win over Carlton to book a berth in the VFLW finals. (Geelong Cats Image/Arj Giese)

GEELONG has used a fast start in its 33-point win over Carlton to book a berth in the VFL Women’s finals.

The Cats, who finished runner-up in 2018, climbed to fifth on the ladder with the 7.6 (48) to 2.3 (15) victory after slamming on four goals with the aid of a northerly breeze in the opening quarter.

“It’s fantastic in that it gives the girls an opportunity next week to build even further on what they were able to put together today,” coach Natalie Wood said.

Wood was aware Geelong only had to beat the lowly Blues to cement its spot in the top six after Hawthorn suffered a 15-point loss to Collingwood earlier in the day.

However, she declined to inform her players of that result.

“That result was never going to dictate anyway what we wanted to get out of today,” Wood said.

“So we weren’t communicating with anyone about it because we were really focused on what we wanted to do.

“Whichever way they (results) ended up falling, we just wanted to make sure we were in control of whenever it is we finish the year strong.”

AFLW listed Georgia Clarke’s evolution as a forward continued kicking 3.2, including two in the opening term.

“I think that was her third or fourth game as a forward, so Georgia’s spent a lot of time as a defender,” Wood said.

“But she’s had a natural want to get the football. So we put her forward and have been working with her learning the movement patterns of the other forwards – the structures – but also gaining an understanding of what the players up the ground are doing with the ball.

“Georgia’s been really improving week-to-week. Not just her forward craft, but the jell of it all, and how it looks, and how it looks when she’s got Kate Darby standing there with her, how it looks when she’s got smalls.

“She’s starting to develop some confidence in the strength of her body, and probably just underestimates the strength and power that she has.”

As well as Clarke, midfield duo Jordy Ivey and Rocky Cranston and Denby Taylor, who again spent time on the wing, also impressed.

Geelong will play either the Western Bulldogs or Richmond in an elimination final, depending on whether Melbourne Uni defeats NT Thunder.

If the Mugars roll the Thunder, they will claim fifth spot and the Cats will drop to sixth for a meeting with the Tigers.

But if NT has the better of Uni, Geelong will take on the Doggies.

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GEELONG  4.1, 4.3, 6.6, 7.6 (48)

CARLTON  2.0, 2.0, 2.0, 2.3 (15)

Goals; Geelong:  G. Clarke 3, S. Van De Heuvel, R. Cranston, K. Darby, J. Ivey

Carlton: M. Clifford, B. Gurr

Best; Geelong: J. Ivey, D. Taylor, R. Cranston, G. Clarke, R. Webster, R. Garing

Carlton: B. Gutknecht, G. Wright, S. Wright, G. Pound, J. Hosking, M. Neill