Geelong has booked a berth in its second AFLW preliminary final after holding off a barnstorming final-quarter charge from Melbourne at IKON Park this (Sunday) afternoon to claim a five-point victory.
The Cats, who won 7.8 (50) to 6.9 (45), will travel to Brisbane on Saturday night for a meeting with the Lions as they chase a maiden grand final berth.
Leading by as much as 32 points during the third quarter, Geelong could only watch as its lead was whittled away by Melbourne, which was attempting to avoid a straight-sets exit.
However, the Demons ran out of time, with Lauren Pearce missing an opportunity to send the game into extra time.
The ruck’s quick snap after she grabbed the ball out of a ruck contest 25 metres from goal with less than ten seconds remaining missed narrowly.
“We’ve trained a certain system over a couple of seasons to play the way we play for the first two-and-a-half, three quarters,” Geelong coach Daniel Lowther said.
“We’re not hiding behind the fact that we start well and we fade towards the back end of games – that’s more practise and time.
“We train scenarios around that. We just have to do it for longer.”
Vice-captain Nina Morrison, who spent the closing stages of the contest on the bench, was at her brilliant best.
She finished with 29 disposals (18 contested) and ten clearances.
Amy McDonald had 21 disposals, including kicking two goals in a game for the first time in her career.
Becky Webster impressed across half-back with 19 disposals, while Georgie Prespakis had 18 possessions and laid 13 tackles.
Saturday night’s meeting with Brisbane at Brighton Homes Arena will be the Cats’ first against the Lions since Round 4 of Season 6.
MELBOURNE 0.2 1.4 1.7 6.9 (45)
GEELONG 2.4 4.5 6.7 7.8 (50)
Melbourne: Zanker 3, Gay, Hanks, A.Mackin
Geelong: A.McDonald 2, Parry, Darby, Crockett-Grills, Scott, Moloney
Melbourne: Hanks, West, Zanker, Pearce, Paxman, Gay
Geelong: Morrison, Webster, A.McDonald, M.McDonald, Parry, Darby
Crowd: 5,057 at Ikon Park