K rock Football

Cats make winning start

Geelong players celebrate their one-point win over Collingwood at GMHBA Stadium. (AAP Image/David Crosling)

No.1 draft pick Nina Morrison has kicked the winning point for Geelong which has claimed a thrilling victory over Collingwood in the Cats’ debut AFLW match.

Morrison, 18, capped a terrific display with what turned out to be the winning point from a set shot midway through Saturday evening’s final quarter.

The Magpies pressed hard in search of a winning goal in the last few minutes, but the Cats held tough to win 3.6 (24) to 3.5 (23) before a crowd of 18,429 at GMHBA Stadium.

The Magpies were well served by cross-code star Ashleigh Brazill, who was brilliant all night in defence.

Brazill represents Collingwood in AFLW and Super Netball.

Former Australian Diamonds Test netballer Sharni Layton also showed some encouraging signs for the Magpies in her first AFLW game, forming a formidable ruck pairing with Erica Fowler.

The match began in blazing late-afternoon sunshine with the temperature still well over 30 degrees, although conditions became easier to contend with as the contest wore on.

The Magpies jumped out of the blocks with the first goal of the season from impressive key forward Sophie Alexander after a strong contested mark.

The Cats responded with the next three goals – including two to Madeline Boyd – as the home side held the Magpies scoreless in the second quarter.

The second half began badly for Collingwood, with Sophie Alexander stretchered off on a medicab after landing heavily in a marking contest.

Shortly afterwards, teammate Jaimee Lambert also hobbled off with what at first looked like a serious leg injury.

But the former Bulldog was able to return to the fray shortly afterwards and made her presence felt with a brilliant snapped goal off the outside of her right foot.

Collingwood led by a point at three-quarter time but were held scoreless in a goalless final term, with the Cats edging ahead with points from Jordan Ivey and Morrison.

© AAP 2019

GEELONG CATS 1.2 3.2 3.4 3.6 (24)

COLLINGWOOD 1.3 1.3 3.5 3.5 (23)

Goals: Geelong Cats: M Boyd 2 M Clifford. Collingwood Magpies: J Lambert S Alexander S D’Arcy.

Umpires: Jack Edwards, Dan Johanson, Gabby Simmonds.

Venue: GMHBA Stadium.