Another brilliant display by onball leader Alyce Parker kept alive Greater Western Sydney’s slim hopes of reaching the AFLW finals with a fighting win against Geelong on Saturday.
Parker ran up an impressive 25 possessions as the left-footer was rarely out of the action in the Giants’ 2.4 (16) to the Cats’ 1.3 (9) win in a tough scrap at GMHBA Stadium.
She was well supported by Alicia Eva, with 18 touches, Elle Bennetts, 18, and Rebecca Beeson, 15, as the Giants withstood a sustained challenge from a Geelong outfit desperate to break through for the first win of the season.
“It was just a tough struggle that was played between the (50m) arcs and it was hard to hit the scoreboard,” Parker said.
“I think in the first half we were second to the ball and that’s definitely what the half-time chat was what was brought up.
“It’s what we’re about and we played tough in the second half and were first to the footy and that’s why we were able to hold on.”
The Giants, who are now 4-4 and still in touch with the ladder’s top six, would have won by far more without the stout defence of Cats backs Maddy McMahon, Meg McDonald and Madeline Keryk.
GWS always looked more likely to score when advancing inside the forward 50, with Cora Staunton as the main marking target and quick, small forward Haneen Zreika always a threat.
It was Zreika who broke through for the visitors’ first goal in the first quarter and Staunton kicked truly from a mark in the second term to provide the vital scoreboard buffer.
The Cats belied their lowly ladder position with admirable intensity throughout the game that stifled the Giants’ ability to open up the play.
But Geelong’s inability to regularly keep the scoreboard ticking over, a millstone for the entire season, was evident again despite controlling the ball in the home team’s forward half for large portions of the quarters.
Forward Phoebe Williams notched Geelong’s only goal midway through the first term and, although the Cats kept GWS scoreless in the last quarter, they couldn’t break through themselves in what was the second lowest score in AFLW history.
Geelong’s cruel run of injuries continued when experienced defender Denby Taylor suffered a right shoulder injury from a crunching bump in the opening minutes that ruled her out for the rest of the game.