Abby Favell attempts to break a tackle during the round four VFLW match between Southern Saints and Geelong Cats. Photo: Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos

A late-season fadeout saw Geelong miss out on finals action after a 7-2 start, however the emergence of several up-and-coming stars gave the Cats a glimpse of the future.


Position: 8th
W-L-D (%): 7-6-1 (116.9%)
Players used: 38
Played every match: 5 – Abby Favell, Ella Firth, Chloe Leonard, Emily Ramsay and Danielle Stewart
AFLW players used: 9
Debutants: 12 – Ruby Bowers, Cheryl De Groot, Lucy Della Monica, Ella Firth, Mia Fuller, Emma Gilligan, Abbey McDonald, Jane McMeel, Danielle Stewart, Olivia Stewart, Eliza Wilson-Macdonald and Emily Worpel


Best and Fairest: =1st: Charlotte Simpson, 2nd: Abby Favell, 3rd: Renee Garing, 4th: Analee McKee, 5th: Emily Ramsay
Lambert-Pearce Medal votes: Charlotte Simpson (14 – winner), Renee Garing (6), Abby Favell (4)
Coaches MVP votes: Charlotte Simpson (41), Renee Garing (29), Abby Favell (27)
VFLW Team of the Year representatives: Charlotte Simpson
Goalkickers: Olivia Cicolini (11), Sachi Degiacomi (9), Analea McKee (7)

Charlotte Simpson, Akayla Peterson and Jordan Mifsud after winning the 2023 Lambert-Pearce Medal. Picture: AFL Photos


(Averages – Minimum 6 matches)

Disposals: Charlotte Simpson (22.9), Renee Garing (18.6), Abby Favell (16.7)
Kicks: Charlotte Simpson (13.8), Ingrid Houtsma (10.3), Abby Favell (9.2)
Handballs: Renee Garing (12.0), Charlotte Simpson (9.1), Abby Favell (7.5)
Marks: Ingrid Houtsma (4.0), Analea McKee (3.9), Abby Favell (3.2)
Tackles: Renee Garing (11.4), Charlotte Simpson (5.5), Danielle Stewart (5.4)
Hitouts: Kalani Scoullar (27.0), Analea McKee (8.3), Sarah Perrott (5.0)
Clearances: Charlotte Simpson (6.7), Renee Garing (4.4), Abby Favell (3.5)
Inside-50s: Charlotte Simpson (3.5), Sophie O’Dea (2.8), Ingrid Houtsma (2.4)
Rebound-50s: Emily Worpel (3.4), Chloe Leonard (2.5), Charlotte Simpson (1.8)


After a surprise loss to North Melbourne to start the season, Geelong won its next five games to sit on top of the ladder after Round 6. At that stage, the Cats looked to be set up for a genuine crack at the premiership they missed playing for in 2021. The defence led by Emily Worpel was their strength, conceding no more than 30 points in a game in the first nine rounds, by which time they had a 7-2 record with both losses being by single-figure margins. Charlotte Simpson had a wonderful breakout season at just 19 years of age, sharing the Lambert-Pearce Medal. The prolific ball winner averaged almost 23 disposals per game and appeared in the club’s top three in every stat except marks and hitouts. Geelong also loved travelling, winning its first five away matches of the season.


As with last year, the Cats fell away badly in the latter stages of the season, failing to win a game after Round 9, in which time they could manage just two points which came courtesy of a draw with the Box Hill Hawks. The fadeout saw the Cats slip from second spot on the ladder all the way out of the finals. Needing just one win to lock away a finals berth after a gutsy away win over Essendon in Round 9, they fell narrowly to eventual premiers Port Melbourne and drew with the Hawks but slumped to big losses against the Casey Demons (21), Collingwood (40) and Williamstown (14) to again be left wondering what might have been.


If the Cats are to taste the ultimate success at this level they need to commit to the whole season. Two years in a row they have put players in cotton wool before the AFLW pre-season gets underway and it has ruined their VFLW campaign when they looked to be a genuine premiership chance. Still, being 7-2 after nine rounds proves they have what it takes and they did start to turn their attention away from relying on AFLW players, with debutants Ella Firth, Danielle Stewart, Emily Worpel and Cheryl De Groot missing just three games between them and gaining valuable experience while also performing exceptionally well.




North Melbourne
Casey Demons
Western Bulldogs
Darebin Falcons