K rock Football

Season over as Cats fail Uni test

Lucy McEvoy is wrapped up in a tackle in Geelong’s VFLW elimination final loss to Melbourne Uni at Port Melbourne. (Geelong Cats Image/Arj Giese)

GEELONG is out of the VFLW premiership race after a narrow 13-point defeat to Melbourne University in Saturday’s elimination final at Port Melbourne’s Adcon Stadium.

Maddi Maguire kicked three goals for the Cats, who were also well served by defender Maddy Keryk and composed teenager Lucy McEvoy in the midfield.

But Jasmine Garner kicked four goals for University, and fellow AFLW star Jess Duffin stood firm in defence as the higher-ranked side withstood a strong second-half challenge to run out 9.2 (56) to 6.7 (43) winners.

Geelong conceded the opening four goals and had chances to hit the front during the third quarter, but ultimately ran out of steam.

“On the day of losing an elimination final you don’t see a lot of great bits, but we’ll definitely look back on that and really talk about the resilience of the group,” Cats coach Natalie Wood said.

“We take a lot out of that, and it will go a long way for building our confidence going into AFLW.

“But even for the players that continue on in VFL, it will give them a lot of confidence that they’re not out of games.”

Geelong lost Denby Taylor to an ankle injury at training during the week and saw Jordan Ivey and Georgie Rankin suffer similar issues against Port Melbourne.

A stretcher was called for when Rankin went down during the final quarter, holding up play for several minutes.

But she was able to walk off the ground with assistance from trainers and was in good spirits after the match.

“She’s hobbling around with an ice pack on her ankle, but it shouldn’t be too bad,” Wood said.

“Jordan Ivey’s seemed really serious, but she was able to get back on the ground, so credit to her really tough and relentless nature.”

It was a tough contest early, and University made more of their opportunities as Garner took control, kicking all four goals in the opening term to give her side a 23-point lead at quarter-time.

Maguire took a strong mark and converted the set shot to spark the Cats early in the second quarter and added another as they fought their way back into the match, trimming the margin to eight points by the main break.

Keryk put the clamps on Garner after quarter-time and Geelong closed to within a solitary point during the third term.

But University steadied in the final quarter to advance to the second week of finals.

“The toll that it takes being able to claw back four goals, we saw that when we missed opportunities in the third quarter and missed two goals from the goal square,” Wood said.

Geelong used 48 players throughout the VFLW season, and despite the finals exit, Wood was proud of the way the young and developing side performed.

“I know it’s not too dissimilar in other clubs, but I do feel like 48 is a pretty high number.

“So, to get to the point where we were with the unity and our ball movement and belief in each other was probably the most important thing for us.”

Collingwood beat Southern Saints, 3.3 (21) to 1.0 (6), in Saturday’s other elimination final.

Twitter: @shayne_hope

MELBOURNE UNI  4.0, 5.1, 8.2, 9.2 (56)

GEELONG  0.1, 3.5, 4.6, 6.7 (43)

Goals; Melbourne Uni: J. Garner 4, K. Angelis 2, B. Gibson, D. Bateman, A. Riddell

Geelong: M. Maguire 3, S. Van De Heuvel, G. Clarke, R. Cranston

Best; Melbourne Uni: E. Kearney, J. Garner, L. Walsh, J. Duffin, K. Cox, J. Bruton

Geelong: L. McEvoy, R. Cranston, M. Brown, J. Ivey, M. Maguire, K. Darby