K rock Football

High stakes for Cats

Can Geelong advance to the VFL Women’s Grand Final in just their second season. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Marcel Berens)

A LOT of water has gone under the bridge since Geelong and Collingwood played out a thrilling draw at Olympic Park back in Round 2 of the VFLW season.

The stakes are higher when the two sides meet again in a preliminary final at Port Melbourne this Sunday with a spot in the Grand Final against the Hawthorn the prize for the winner.

The Cats head into the clash on a high after scoring their first finals win last weekend over the NT Thunder, while the Magpies are looking to bounce back after the minor premiers lost the second semi-final to the Hawks.

Geelong coach Paul Hood said while there’s excitement in his group, he knows they will have to play four consistent quarters against a quality opponent.

“It’s a nice story after the teams split the points in Round 2 but, in reality, we were a bit lucky that day,” Hood said.

“We kicked one more goal, but we were quite fortunate that they had a lot of scoring shots but we hung in there.

“The teams have changed a lot; both added a bit of talent and experience in the back half of the year.

“It was a fiercely contested game, and every time we’ve seen Collingwood this season they’ve played really hard football, and they’ll be hard to play against on the weekend for sure.

“It’s the time of the year where you’re really glad to be involved in footy and really grateful to be alive for another week.”

The Cats have named ruck Erin Hoare, who hurt her foot in the win last Sunday, but Geelong Falcons star Nina Morrison has been squeezed out of the line-up despite being one of their best last week.

The Cats had three players – captain Bec Goring, Richelle Cranston and Mia-Rae Clifford – named in the Team of the Year during the week. Collingwood’s Penny Cula-Reid was named coach of the side.

Hood said his trio was deserving of the accolades.

“In `Rocky’s’ (Cranston) case, everyone knows she’s a talented player, but not a lot of people see the hours of training and dedication she puts in to actually develop that talent,” Hood said.

“We joke that she sleeps at the footy club. She’s always there and always has a smile on her face.

“For someone like Bec Goring, who two years ago thought she might have been finished with footy at 21 years of age, Geelong’s women’s program has really reinvigorated her and given her a reason to really commit to football.

“The way she’s transformed her body and developed her ability to run and compete and fight, it’s enabled her to really show her attacking talents this year as well as her defensive traits. She’s a terrific role model for the rest of her team.

“Mia is an outstanding footy person and is well respected in the industry.

“She came to us as a defender with a reputation for being incredibly hard to play against, and she really wanted to work on her ability to play in the midfield and build her engine and stay involved in the game for long periods.

“She’s gone from doing that for us really well to moving to the forward line and having an impact on games.

“She just continues to really want the footy, get the ball in her hands in good scoring positions and defends well in the front half of the ground and is just an inspiration to her teammates.”

Twitter: @GreenBradley

VFL WOMEN’S PRELIMINARY FINAL

COLLINGWOOD (1st) vs. GEELONG (4th)

Stannards Stadium – Port Melbourne

Sunday, September 16, 11:45am

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