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Joanna Guelas

Prespakis steers finals-bound Cats to win over Hawks

Geelong's Georgie Prespakis (centre) racked up 35 disposals and eight clearances against Hawthorn. (Hamish Blair/AAP PHOTOS)

A Georgie Prespakis masterclass has propelled Geelong to a second consecutive AFLW finals appearance with a 40-point thrashing of Hawthorn.

Having lost three of their past five matches, the Cats avoided slipping out of the top eight with a 9.6 (60) to 3.2 (20) victory in their maiden clash with the Hawks at GHMBA Stadium on Saturday.

Geelong could place as high as fifth depending on other results across the round, while Hawthorn finish their second season in 14th.

Though finishing the season with a loss, Hawks coach Bec Goddard remains optimistic for the young expansion side.

"Geelong are going to be a really good finals team, they're one of the hardest teams we've played this year," Goddard said.

"They were so good at the contest and really where we want to be with our fundamentals as a young team.

"We want to do that. We want to test ourselves against the best teams. We're really excited in what we see."

Prespakis flaunted clever ball movement under fierce Hawthorn pressure to keep the Sherrin in Geelong hands, well-supported by midfield powerhouses Amy McDonald and Nina Morrison.

The 20-year-old racked up a game-high 35 disposals, eight clearances and 18 contested possessions.

Geelong's forward power was also on show, with the hosts boasting seven goalkickers in Darcy Moloney, Aishling Moloney, Chloe Scheer (two goals), Rebecca Webster, Jacqueline Parry, Kate Surman and Morrison.

But the afternoon was far from easy for the hosts.

The expansion side laid 24 tackles to 10 in the opening term to curb Geelong's signature handball game, while prolific tackler Emily Bates went to work on Prespakis.

Held to two points less than three minutes before quarter-time, Moloney finally broke through the stingy Hawthorn defence to draw first blood.

Aileen Gilroy and Jenna Richardson proved mighty roadblocks for the Geelong attack, collecting eight intercept possessions apiece while the Hawks finished 86 tackles to 61.

After regrouping at quarter-time, Morrison and Webster were able to break away for the Cats with two consecutive majors.

A bag of three unanswered goals from Scheer in the second half blew the margin out to 39 points, comfortably sealing a top-eight finish for the Cats.

Kristy Stratton slotted two majors for Hawthorn, before setting up Tahlia Fellows for a goal of her own.

Bates (27 disposals, 18 contested possessions) was everywhere across the park, fighting valiantly to give a proper send-off to retirees Akec Makur Chuot, Catherine Brown and Tamara Luke.

A trailblazer in the women's game, Makur Chuot was the first South Sudanese woman in the league and played 38 games across three clubs.

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