It was as if two games were played tonight

Round 5’s Friday night match saw the Gold Coast Suns come to the plate swinging against Geelong.

As they ramped up the pressure in the first 30 minutes, the Cats struggled to transition the ball out of their back half, and the Suns were able to capitalise, taking an early lead.

Coming back from the main break, the tide had changed completely in favour of the Cats, who were clearly thirsty to make it two wins in a row after their defeat of the Tigers last week.

It was another classic AFLW arm wrestle that saw Geelong pull out in front in the dying moments of the third term thanks to a dynamite goal from Richelle ‘Rocky’ Cranston.

This was the spark the Cats needed and by the fourth quarter, it was as though a whole new game was being played; the early domination by the Suns nothing but a distant memory as the Cats brought home a resounding win that will move them to fourth place in Conference A.

Howarth is not done yet

If the first half of the game taught us anything, it’s that the best is yet to come for 20-year-old Kalinda Howarth.

The crafty forward had racked up 15 disposals before half time, many of which seem to be accompanied by golden moments for her team.

She has an excellent read on the ball, speed to burn and the ability to maintain a high level of skill even when under immense pressure as exerted by Geelong’s backline.

Although she didn’t see a lot of the ball after the main break, we are sure to see many more exciting things from Howarth, particularly as the Suns fight to keep a glimpse of the finals in 2020.

The Cats can unsheathe their claws

When Geelong ran away with the win in the final quarter, they seemed to draw on energy reserves that the Suns had long since depleted.

While the tired red and gold players valiantly attempted to stem the flow of Geelong goals, it became clear that the Cats were continuing to exhibit an incredible work rate that saw their forward half own the ball for nearly the entire quarter.

Nina Morrison was just one of the Cats that stood out tonight, racking up 14 contested possessions in an effort clearly worthy of ‘best on ground’ status.

They flooded every contest with players and were able to leave the Suns scrabbling at every turn.

The Cats have improved steadily since their spate of early losses, and tonight we saw the evidence that they can turn up the heat and truly perform when the time is right.