K rock Football

Home final hopes alive for Cats

A teammate embraces Tamara Smith after kicking a goal in Geelong’s VFLW win over Williamstown. (Geelong Cats Image/Susie Giese)

GEELONG’S hopes of hosting a home VFLW elimination final are now in its own hands following a 35-point win over Williamstown in the season’s penultimate round.

The Cats have climbed to fourth on the ladder with the 8.4 (52) to 2.5 (17) victory, with a win over Collingwood ensuring it will host the Southern Saints in the first week of the finals.

However, a loss for Geelong and a win for the Saints would see the Cats heading to Melbourne for the seventh consecutive week.

Geelong didn’t have it all its way in the first half at Williamstown, with the margin just two points at half-time as the Seagulls’ inaccuracy cost them the chance to lead.

The Cats’ kicked away in the third quarter with two goals while keeping the home team scoreless.

A 3.2 to 0.1 final term, where returning midfielder Tamara Smith kicked each goal, put the icing on the cake for Geelong.

Coach Andrew Bruce was pleased with how his team responded to the first-half challenge two weeks from finals.

“All of the girls know what their role is each game, and if we can just stick to that, and style of play that we want, we know it will come back on our terms,” coach Andrew Bruce told Cats Media.

“But, it all comes back to how much effort and pressure we want to put on the opposition.”

VFL: NEALE NAILS FIVE

Bruce was full of praise for the defensive efforts of captain Bree Beckley.

“I mentioned her (name) at half-time about going back with the flight of the ball on two occasions and just putting her body on the line,” he said.

“She had 15 touches as a defender, but they were really instrumental in getting us moving.

“And her decision-making and use of the footy by foot was great.”

Mia Skinner kicked a game-high four goals to take her tally to 20 for the season.

“(She) just kept moving all day and continually setting up our structure, which a lot of people don’t see,” Bruce said.

“But, it enables other people to get into the game.”

AFLW-listed forward Chloe Scheer again spent plenty of time in the midfield and tallied 27 disposals,  12 clearances and eight tackles.

Best-and-fairest contender Paige Sheppard finished with 22 touches, eight marks and seven tackles.

Twitter: @tom_king79