Geelong AFLW coach Daniel Lowther is pleased with his team's improvement this season but stressed frequent competitive performances will count for nothing if they don't start winning.
The Cats have lost their first three games of 2022 by an average of just 11 points, including winnable clashes with flag contenders North Melbourne and Collingwood.
Yet Lowther said the encouraging signs, namely their ramped-up pressure, were tinged with frustration at their winless start to the new campaign.
"We are on an exponential growth in the right direction but we just have to get a win," Lowther said after his side's 11-point loss to the Magpies on Friday night at Kardinia Park.
"It's happy to be happy with improvement, but when it doesn't lead to wins based on our own misjudgement errors, it can be frustrating.
"We're proud of each other but we still know what we're playing for."
As it stands, the Cats are scheduled to face the Brisbane Lions next Saturday in Maroochydore, but the ever-present spectre of COVID-19 looming over the competition will put some doubt over the timing of that game.
Brisbane have been forced into a Tuesday night game this week against Carlton at Metricon Stadium after the Lions' original round three opponents, Gold Coast, were rendered incapable of fielding a team due to the number of players impacted by coronavirus
That would mean the Cats would enjoy an eight-day break heading into their next game compared to the Lions' four-day break - a massive advantage for Geelong.
However, Lowther said the team would prepare accordingly for the game as its currently fixtured.
"It's just about trying keeping everyone healthy and safe off the field as well now with all what's out in the public," he said.
The Cats could regain Chloe Scheer (managed) and Madisen Maguire (COVID protocols) for round four.
The Magpies have made a perfect 3-0 start to the season but coach Stephen Symonds said his team are far from settled and he would continue to tinker with the line-up until he was satisfied he had the right mix.
"A lot will depend on form, some will depend on chemistry as well," he said.
"Some players certainly play better alongside other players.
"We think we're playing some pretty good footy in patches but we still have some moments where the opposition are certainly keeping us withheld where we can't break our game open."
Australian Associated Press