K rock Football

Confidence boost for Cats

THE result was nice, but for Geelong coach Paul Hood Saturday’s two-point AFLW practice match win over Carlton was about more than just the result.

The Cats overcame a slow start to beat last year’s wooden spooner 7.4 (46) to 7.2 (44) at IKON Park in their only hitout before taking on Collingwood at GMHBA Stadium on February 2 to open the 2019 season.

“Practice matches are about getting each particular phase of play right and making as few mistakes as you can and identifying what you need to fix before the season starts, he said.

“And we’re really happy that we saw plenty of things we were pleased with, but we also saw things we can tidy up before the first game.

“The reality is we’ve got a lot of players who are new to the level … we’re making a variety of errors, and we’re doing a nice variety of good things, too.

“We just want to make the good things happen a bit more, and the not so good things happen a bit less.”

Hood was most pleased with Geelong’s endeavour around the contest.

“The players worked really hard to support each other, to get back and give themselves an option around the ball,” he said.

“Early in the game it looked like Carlton were going to be quite dominant, and we fought back and found our feet and played with some composure for long periods of the game.”

Phoebe McWilliams showed why the Cats were keen to lure her from the GWS Giants with an eye-catching four-goal haul.

“Her game – her finishing and her marking – was quite pleasing,” Hood said.

“She kicked her first four straight and kicked a point with her final shot on goals.

“She took some really impressive marks, and she’s going to give us a great target down forward.”

Hood was also happy with the draftees, with No.1 selection Nina Morrison, Rebecca Webster and Denby Taylor all put their hand up to take on the Magpies.

Elise Coventry (knee soreness), Anna Teague (leg soreness) and Meg McDonald (cramp) all failed to see out the game.

“We were very cautious with them and we’ll know more early in the week,” Hood said.

“With Teaguey it was quite minor. She hasn’t done all of the training, so we had her on 60 per cent of the game limit and that was when she came out.”

Seven members of Geelong’s 30-woman squad didn’t play, including captain Mel Hickey, ruck Erin Hoare and rookie Maddy McMahon.

“None of the seven are ruled out at this stage,” Hood said.

“We’ll give everyone up to the last minute to prove their fitness for Round 1, but I doubt we’ll be making seven changes.

“We adopted a conservative approach to this practice match – if people weren’t very close to 100 per cent, we weren’t playing them.”

Twitter: @tom_king79