Rebecca Webster and Kate Darby celebrate after Geelong's semi-final win over Melbourne at Ikon Park on November 19, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

GEELONG is in the throes of its most successful AFLW season to date. With eight wins locked away, including two finals victories, the Cats are staring down the barrel of a preliminary final against Brisbane on Saturday night.

While they are "pumped" with Sunday's impressive win over Melbourne according to inaugural Cat Becky Webster, it all comes back to the process.

"We were so focused on our process and what our good footy looks like," Webster told after the semi final win.

"We just know that when we bring our best, we can beat anyone, and today we just wanted to play with a bit of freedom knowing that we belong here. You know, why not us?"

That feeling of belonging hasn't just been built in the last fortnight.

It has been built on a season where they have been challenged with a tougher fixture, faltered at times, and come out better on the other side.

It has been built on the experience of losing a tight elimination final against North Melbourne last season and the disappointment that comes with that.

It has been built on identifying their own brand as a team.

"Our contest footy is where it starts," Webster said.

"Being able to get that contested possession, tackles around the ball … then use our outside run off the back-half and try to be more composed inside 50. But overall, I think it comes down to that pressure around the ball."


Training the system, and also situation-specific scenarios, have been key to the development of that brand.

"We've trained a certain system over a couple of seasons to play the way we played for the first two and a half, three quarters," Geelong coach Dan Lowther said after the win over Melbourne.

"We're not hiding behind the fact that we start well but we kind of fade towards the back of the game, so that's about more practice and time.

"And we train scenarios around that and at least discuss those scenarios all the time so to see the players on the ground look over and say, 'is this the moment to do what we've talked about?' I'm proud of that fact."

Impressively, amidst the experience of players like captain Meghan McDonald, defender Chantel Emonson, and forwards Jackie Parry and Shelley Scott, there is a core group of young Cats who have been key to that growth.


Mikayla Bowen, Zali Friswell, Darcy Moloney, Nina Morrison, Georgie Prespakis, and Webster are all 23 or younger, and have collectively played all but three games this season.

Morrison was the star of the show on Sunday with 29 disposals, 10 clearances and eight tackles, but it was off the back of deep support.

"She's just so good," Webster said.

"Her work rate, her pressure on the footy, she can tackle, her disposal's elite. She's just a driver in there and she just really lifts the other girls in there as well. She's just a gun."


Morrison was equally complimentary of Webster after the game.

"Becky's run off half-back over the last couple of weeks, it just supports our attack so well and sets us up going forward," Morrison said of Webster.

"I think the great thing about our midfield group this year has just been the depth of players through it and it might be one person's say one week, and another person's the next, but I think we just really gel together super well and complement each other."

Riding high on the semi final win, Geelong now turns its attention to a preliminary final against the Lions, on the road. The travel isn't something that will bother the Cats, however, loving the chance to spend more time together.

"More time to bond, more time to gasbag, more time for face masks," Webster said with a laugh.

Geelong players sing the team song after their semi-final win over Melbourne at Ikon Park on November 19, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

But above all, the opportunity is there for the Cats, they just need to take it.

"We're excited to play wherever and whoever. We're pumped."