Geelong AFLW coach Dan Lowther made no excuses for the Cats’ ten-point loss at Warrnambool on Sunday, giving “full credit” to the Bombers’ “intent to contest the ball”.
“It just shows the bombers were here to play from the start,” Lowther said.
“Their contest the ball methods and their strength around the ball was superior to us throughout the game and [we] just couldn’t right that after quarter-time,” he said.
“Full credit to the way they played the game from start to finish.
“It was a struggle [and] to be fair, a surprising one, too.”
Essendon started strongly, keeping the ball in their front half for much of the first quarter, before Geelong broke through for a couple of quick goals to go into the first break with a two-goal lead after keeping the Bombers scoreless.
But that was the highlight for the Cats, who struggled to make possessions count for the rest of the match, finishing with just 2.7 (19) to 4.5 (29).
“Our stoppage and clearance numbers were on top, but we weren’t getting much off the back of it to support the ball going in our direction,” Lowther said.
“We knew they’re a strong contested team, [but] their intent was just better than ours today and to their credit they got the ball in their front half off the back of strong, hard effort.”
Looking for positives from the game, Lowther pointed to the efforts of Amy McDonald, Zali Friswell and Georgie Prespakis, as well as Chloe Sheer, who scored both of the Cats’ goals.
But he also acknowledged that Geelong, which dropped to eighth on the ladder with only four rounds remaining, has a lot to improve upon.
“It just felt like we were losing more of those contested ball scenarios than we were winning early in the game,” he said.
“The ball came out of our forward 50 just as quick as it came in, so we’ve got to find ways to make sure that our entries count for something.
“Whether that be time in the forward half, or repeat stoppage or a shot on goal, but it needs to count for more than it did today.”