K rock Football

Fast start key for Cats

Geelong leaves GMHBA Stadium after winning its semi-final against Southern Saints. (Geelong Cats Image/Arj Giese)

GEELONG coach Andrew Bruce says a fast start will be crucial to deciding Saturday’s VFLW preliminary final match-up with Essendon.

It has been three weeks since the Cats kept alive their hopes of winning the club’s first women’s silverware by beating Southern Saints in the first semi-final.

Now the Bombers stand between Geelong and its second VFLW appearance and first since 2018.

“I think a fast start’s important every week, but even more so in a final,” Bruce said.

“Get on top, and you feel good about yourself, and the confidence flows.

“That’s something after the Saints game we spoke about; believing in our ability and executing, and it just makes everyone feel better.

“Even though we didn’t get to the front until late in the game, we were really comfortable with how we were going, and we knew it was going to turn for us.”

Bruce has backed in the 21 players who did the job against Southern and named an unchanged team to take on the Bombers.

“We had really good balance through all areas of the ground, and everyone played at a really good level,” he said.

“And everyone’s come through unscathed through the few weeks off, so we’re in really good nick.”

Geelong’s lineup will feature ten players from its 2021 AFLW list, as well as last week’s state league priority selections Claudia Gunaja and Olivia Fuller, and draftee Annabel Johnson, who the Cats selected on Tuesday night.

In a strange twist of fate, Geelong’s first two picks in the draft, Georgie Prespakis and Zali Friswell, will line up for the Bombers.

“It will be really good to see Zali and Georgie play,” Bruce said.

“I’d imagine they’ll be going their hardest, and our girls will be doing the same thing.”

Twitter: @tom_king79

VFLW PRELIMINARY FINAL

ESSENDON (5th) vs. GEELONG (2nd)

Windy Hill

Saturday, July 31, 12:00pm