K rock Football

Cats keep finals hopes alive

Geelong VFLW coach Natalie Wood addresses her players at three-quarter time of the win over the NT Thunder. (krockfootball.com.Image/Al Packer)

COACH Natalie Wood has hailed Geelong’s ability to “set the tone” in Sunday’s 43-point win over NT Thunder at GMHBA Stadium, 9.8 (62) to 3.1 (19).

The win, in which the Cats kicked their highest score and posted their biggest winning margin of 2019, brings them level on 24 points with sixth-placed Melbourne Uni – who it plays next week in Geelong – with three rounds remaining.

“That was a focus with everyone in their divisions owning parts of that,” Wood said.

“Our midfield really set the tone around start-up positions and opponent control, and the defenders doing that as well, but with them being the eyes for the ground.

“And then the forwards being really hard to play against.

“It was good to see the players get a reward for effort for that.”

Geelong kicked three consecutive goals late in the first quarter through Ruby Benham, Rene Caris and Georgia Clarke to take a crucial 18-point lead into the first change.

“There were passages of play that we rate as some of our better (ball) movement,” Wood said.

“And we needed to adjust. NT, after each break, came out with more and more intent and brought a lot more physicality around the contest.

“So, we had to keep adjusting to what they were doing, but also make some positional changes.

“We got a few goals early, then scores dried up a little bit for both teams.

“To be able to find a way to kick a couple of goals late in the game was a really positive thing for our group as well.”

VFL: FORT IMPRESSES AS CATS DOWN PORT

Young AFLW listed ruck Rene Caris impressed with her work at centre bounces and around the ground, kicking two goals when spending some time forward.

“She’s a very smart footballer, and she can read the play,” Wood said.

“When she’s not involved in the contest, she’s been able to get herself down the line defensively into the position where the ball’s about to go,

“Aasta O’Connor’s coaching the midfield line, so it’s been great for Rene to have Aasta there the whole time because Aasta’s ruck knowledge is phenomenal.

“For Rene to learn from her is great.”

Next Saturday’s clash with Melbourne Uni starts at 1pm at Deakin University’s Elite Sports Precinct.

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GEELONG  4.1, 6.3, 7.7, 9.8 (62)

NT THUNDER  1.1, 2.1, 2.1, 3.1 (19)

Goals; Geelong: S. Van De Heuvel 2, G. Clarke 2, R. Caris 2, J. Woollett, M. Maguire, R. Benham

NT Thunder: T. Thorn, M. Roberts, C. Whan

Best; Geelong: R. Webster, R. Cranston, T. Love, R. Caris, G. Clarke, S. Van De Heuvel

NT Thunder: E. Marinoff, M. Breed, T. Thorn, K. Streader, J. Baird, C. Deegan