GEELONG has notched up its sixth win of the season - and fourth in a row - against a plucky West Coast outfit at Ikon Park to remain in the hunt for a top-four berth.
Although wasteful in front of goals, the Cats managed to grind out a nine-point win, 4.10 (34) to 4.1 (25), on Saturday evening.
The Eagles got off to a fast start through young star Ella Roberts, but from there the Cats locked the ball in attack and dominated everywhere but on the scoreboard, kicking 1.6 to half-time.
CATS v EAGLES Full match coverage and stats
After Geelong started the game with strong marking targets up forward, it developed tunnel vision when entering the forward 50 in the second quarter, often opting to put it on Chloe Scheer or Shelley Scott's head in an outnumber rather than moving the ball around the arc and finding a player in space.
West Coast found it hard to exit its defence, with Geelong's aerial presence strong and plenty of pressure being applied to the ball carrier, but the most entertaining match-up of the day was Scheer against Sophie McDonald in Geelong's attacking goalsquare. Giving up plenty of height to McDonald, Scheer used her speed to push out on leads, while McDonald played her usual, relentless, competitive game which provided the Eagles with some reprieve.
Exciting new Eagle Mikayla Western left the field late in the final quarter with a nasty left arm injury after tackling Claudia Gunjaca, which saw play stop momentarily as she was helped from the ground.
The injection of Georgie Prespakis back to Geelong's midfield after her two-match ban was immediately evident as the young star laid 12 tackles and won eight clearances, as Amy McDonald continued her excellent season with 20 disposals and six clearances of her own.
It was a vintage performance from Dana Hooker, who played in attack for much of the game. She finished with a season-high 20 disposals and six marks as she led the Eagles' young forward line, while Charlie Thomas backed up last week's NAB AFLW Rising Star nomination with another 19 disposals and 322 metres gained.
The win keeps the Cats on track to nab a top-four spot, currently lying in fifth place with a 6-2 record.
A contested marking feast
Geelong's aerial game was a thing to behold, with Shelley Scott, Kate Darby, Chloe Scheer and Georgie Prespakis all dominating the air. It was a feature of their game all day, allowing them to maintain control of possession, as each of Kate Darby, Scheer and Scott finished with two contested marks and Geelong won the final count 10 to six.
After two weeks on the sidelines due to a dangerous tackle laid on Erin McKinnon in round five, Georgie Prespakis was back with a bang. Finishing the game with 21 disposals and 12 tackles, she didn't just impact with her own presence around the ball but allowed Nina Morrison to play more freely in attack and on the wing. Prespakis might be just two seasons into her AFLW career, but she is one of the most valuable Cats on their list.
Geelong opens round nine with its biggest challenge yet, travelling to South Australia to take on Adelaide on Friday evening, while on Saturday afternoon West Coast will return home to host a Bulldogs side trying to keep its season on track.
GEELONG 1.4 1.6 4.8 4.10 (34)
WEST COAST 1.0 1.0 3.1 4.1 (25)
Geelong: Crockett-Grills, Moloney, Scheer, Scott
West Coast: Roberts, Schmidt, Hooker, Humphries
Geelong: Prespakis, McDonald, Scheer, Webster
West Coast: Swanson, Thomas, McDonald, Hooker
West Coast: Western (left arm)