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Cats pip Bulldogs by one point, Giants bounce back against Blues

Geelong have overcome the absence of suspended star Georgie Prespakis to boost their AFLW finals hopes with a thrilling one-point win over the Western Bulldogs.

Key points:

  • The Cats defeated the Bulldogs 5.7 (37) to 5.6 (36)
  • It is the Cats’ first win over the Bulldogs in the AFLW
  • GWS scored a 17-point victory against Carlton

Prespakis was hit with a two-match ban during the week for a dangerous tackle and watched from the sidelines in Ballarat on Saturday.

But Nina Morrison and Shelley Scott stepped up to help propel Dan Lowther’s side to an important 5.7 (37) to 5.6 (36) victory.

Trailing by 19 points early in the final quarter, the Bulldogs kicked the last three goals of the match.

But they left their run too late, with the final major floating through as the siren sounded.

It was the Cats’ first AFLW win over the Bulldogs and took them above their opponents on the ladder with a far superior percentage.

Both sides have 4-2 win-loss records. The result also kept the Cats in the top-four mix.

Morrison (21 disposals), Rebecca Webster (17) and Amy McDonald (15) found plenty of the ball for Geelong, while Scott (two goals) and Chloe Scheer (one) were dangerous in attack.

Bulldogs captain Ellie Blackburn (25 disposals) tried to lift her side and ruck Alice Edmonds fought hard against the tide..

The ball lived in the Bulldogs’ front half for long periods of the opening term as they generated a 10-4 advantage in forward entries.

But the lead was just two points at quarter-time when former Cats star Richelle Cranston missed her set-shot after the siren.

Scheer found plenty of space inside-50 to put Geelong in front for the first time early in the second term.

And the Cats, who kept their opponents goalless in the second quarter, would have led by more than seven points at the main break if not for a string of wasted chances in front of goal.

Mia Skinner provided a highlight with a brilliant goal from the boundary line during the third quarter and Geelong looked home early in the fourth term when Julia Crockett-Grills extended the advantage to 19 points.

Rylie Wilcox and Deanna Berry kicked goals to help the Bulldogs fight their way back into the contest and Elle Bennetts’ late shot floated through as the siren sounded.

Both teams lost players just before the bounce when the Bulldogs’ Sarah Hartwig (neck spasms) and Geelong’s Kate Darby (illness) withdrew.

Giants take down Blues

GWS bounced back from a record AFLW thumping with a spirited 17-point triumph over Carlton at Henson Park in Sydney.

The Giants looked determined to make amends for their 95-point loss to Adelaide last week with a fast start against the Blues, before digging in late to hold on for a 4.5 (29) to 1.6 (12) victory.

The win was the Giants’ first in six attempts against Carlton and was built on intense pressure and tackling as well as clever ball movement that has been a feature of their better displays this season.

Emily Pease ensured the Giants were rewarded for their early efforts with the opening goal of the match and followed up with a second shortly after, with the 20-year-old a threat in the forward-half throughout.

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Key forward Cora Staunton added two more to split the points in an enthralling battle with Blues defender Mua Laloifi.

But it was gun midfielder Alyce Parker that led the way for the Giants, gathering 18 disposals that included 12 contested possessions even while being under close attention after the main break.

Parker at times played a lone hand against the Carlton on-ball brigade that included Mimi Hill (21 disposals, 11 contested) and Abbie McKay (21, 10) as GWS trailed 27-17 in clearances and 90-79 in contested disposals.

But while the Blues (1-2-3) relied heavily on their advantage at stoppages the Giants looked more likely to transition the ball quickly to set up cleaner forward 50 entries and scoring opportunities.

Tarni Evans (13 disposals) and Madison Brazendale (11) were solid for GWS throughout, while Georgia Garnett (17) added a spark after overcoming a hamstring injury.

Laloifi (16 disposals) copped a heavy knock from Staunton in the first term but recovered to patrol the Carlton defence and be among their best.

Kerryn Peterson (13 disposals) and Brooke Vickers (9) also battled hard but Lily Goss was missed after going down early with a shoulder injury.