The 2018 Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s ‘Love the Game’ Finals Series heads into its second week with Collingwood and the Geelong Cats fighting it out for a place in the Grand Final against Hawthorn.
CLICK HERE for the teams
By Meg Saultry
COLLINGWOOD vs GEELONG CATS – Sunday 11.45am @ Stannards Stadium
[LIVE VIDEO STREAM on vfl.com.au + listen on RSN Carnival / WARF Radio]
Winner advances to Grand Final against Hawthorn, Sunday Sept. 23 Etihad Stadium
Rd 2 @ Olympic Park Oval: Collingwood 3.9 (27) drew with Geelong Cats 4.3 (27)
The Cats led at both half time and three-quarter time as Collingwood’s inaccuracy cost it early. Although the Magpies rebounded with two final-term goals to sneak ahead by one point midway through the stanza, Geelong managed a behind late in the game to level the scores.
FORM COMING IN
Minor premier Collingwood (12-2-1) finished its home-and-away season strongly with two wins but failed to knock off the Hawks in last week’s Semi Final, going down by 11 points. / The Cats (11-3-1) rebounded from their Round 16 loss to Hawthorn with a nine-point come-from-behind win over the NT Thunder in a thrilling Elimination Final.
Can the Magpies stop Geelong’s run and carry? The Cats are ranked first in the VFLW for disposals, handballs and handball-receives per game. Last week, NT was able to counter Geelong in the first half with more effective ball-use by way of kicking and strong marking, but a drop in intensity across the second half meant the Thunder was unable to keep the Cats at bay. Similar to NT, Collingwood likes to utilise long kicks to move the ball – ranking third in the competition in this area – but to play the game on their own terms, the Magpies will need to closely monitor and apply pressure to several key Geelong players such as Richelle Cranston and Nina Morrison, who can break away from opponents.
The last time these teams met, Collingwood struggled to convert in front of goal, kicking 3.9 to 4.3. It proved a rarity throughout 2018, with the Magpies ranking third in the VFLW for scoring accuracy overall (compared to the Cats in eighth). Collingwood has kicked more points than goals on four occasions this season but ultimately won each of those games, while Geelong has won five games and lost two by the same measure. On an individual level though, the Magpies sport more of an even spread in their goalkickers, with Sophie Alexander their only player to rank in the competition’s top 10 goalkickers (compared to three Cats players – Kate Darby, Mia-Rae Clifford and Danielle Orr).
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kristy Stratton (Collingwood): The 23-year-old AFLW midfielder finished with 15 contested possessions and a match-high eight clearances in the Magpies’ loss to the Hawks last week.
Richelle Cranston (Geelong Cats): The AFLW livewire was at her most damaging against the Thunder last week, racking up 19 disposals, nine inside-50s and two goals in Geelong’s win.