Geelong set up a semi-final showdown against Melbourne by easily beating Essendon by 18 points for their first AFLW finals win.
The Cats kicked the first three goals in the opening seven minutes to kill off Sunday’s home elimination final and won in a canter, 7.9(51) to 5.3(33).
But after setting up Geelong’s first goal and kicking their third, the Cats’ leading goalkicker Chloe Scheer was forced out of the game in the opening term with a shoulder injury.
Cats coach Dan Lowther was pessimistic about Scheer’s availability next weekend for their semi-final.
“It doesn’t look great for her…she’s highly doubtful,” he said
Essendon kept Geelong scoreless and kicked three goals in the last quarter to avert a heavy loss, but the damage was done.
Lowther said the Cats had to manage their players, given Scheer’s absence, and it told in the last quarter.
“Our wheels fell off in the last quarter, it was a bit chaotic, but the first half was enough,” he said.
The tone was set in the opening minute when gun Cats midfielder Georgie Prespakis won the ball out of the middle and found Scheer with a pass.
In turn, Scheer’s perfect kick found Aishling Moloney, who scored the first of her two goals.
Once Scheer left the game soon after, Moloney stood up and the Irish import played a key role.
Essendon only managed one behind in the first term and were 31 down in uncontested possessions as the Cats ran riot.
Bomber Amber Clarke was also stretchered off after she was crunched in a marking contest, but returned in the second half.
Trailing by 21 points at the first break, Essendon started the second quarter better and a 50m penalty set up Sophie Alexander for their first goal after four minutes.
But the Cats quickly killed off the challenge and led by six goals at halftime.
Prespakis, Amy McDonald, Rebecca Webster and Nina Morrison were outstanding for Geelong, while Georgia Nanscawen was a lonely shining light on another dirty finals day for Essendon.
Geelong will meet Melbourne at Ikon Park on Sunday at 3.05pm.