GEELONG will get a chance to test its recent improvement when it hosts North Melbourne to open Round 6 of the AFLW season on Friday night.
The Cats are coming off consecutive wins over competition newcomers Richmond and Gold Coast over the past fortnight to sit one win behind the third-placed GWS Giants in Conference A.
The Kangaroos have strung together four consecutive wins following their opening-round loss to Melbourne, including a 42-point hiding of reigning premier Adelaide last week, to sit atop the Conference A ladder.
“It’s a great challenge for us – that’s what we want,” Geelong coach Paul Hood said.
“We’ve taken some good steps forward in the last couple of weeks.
“We’ve had some good VFLW performances against North Melbourne/Melbourne Uni in the last few years – some patches where we’ve really tested them in games.
“It was a great (elimination) final last year, so we’re really looking forward to doing that at AFLW level.”
Hood says limiting North Melbourne’s control of the contest will be crucial to the Cats causing an upset in their first Friday night AFLW match at home.
The Roos one of the most efficient teams in the competition when going forward, highlighted by kicking 9.9 from 36 inside 50 entries against the Crows.
“The challenge for us is to make it really hard to control the game for long periods,” Hood said.
“(We need to) defend really well and make it really difficult for them to have their say in the game.
“We attack our best when we’re defending well, so that won’t be different for us.
“You do have to provide a contest, make the game difficult for the opposition to score, and then attack off the back of the errors you force.
“Things won’t change there; we’re definitely going to take a defensive mindset into the game or will be keen to defend well.”
The return of Jordy Ivey will boost Geelong after she served a one-week suspension.
Hood all but guaranteed the leadership group member will return, which will mean someone will be unlucky at selection.
“We’ll be delighted to have Jordy back in the team. She’s been tremendous for us throughout our whole two-and-a-half years as a footy team,” Hood said.
“Whenever you’re winning, people that come out of the team are unlucky.
“We’ve had pretty good availability throughout the season, so it’s been difficult to make a lot of changes.
“But, off the back of some travel and being later in the season, maybe some fresh legs will help the team.”