AFLW Friday Talking Points: Pies survive Cat fight
IT was far from an easy win, but Collingwood travelled back up the highway with the four points after a tackle-slog with Geelong. In what was a game on a knives edge for the most part, both sides were neck-and-neck right until late in the final term, when the Pies were finally able to gain some breathing space and win by 11 points. After trailing by 11 points at the final break, the Cats drew within four points after a Darcy Moloney goal from a Nina Morrison free kick. Despite this, yet another costly 50m penalty for a Magpies opponent saw Julia Crockett-Grills have a brain fade and step across Chloe Molloy‘s mark about 60m out from goal. The Magpies forward made no mistake by drilling the goal and kicking what would be the match-winning goal.
Both sides are not going to be easy to beat
It was the kind of match that was bruising from start to finish. The teams applied a combined 134 tackles (72-62 Geelong’s way) and 23 of those came inside 50 (13-10 Collingwood’s way). There were more contested possessions than uncontested possessions, and the inside 50 count was low. The match was played between the arcs, with repeat stoppages and great intercept possessions. The defences are quality and it showed in the contest.
Collingwood’s forward line is going to be a problem at ground level
Much was talked up about the Magpies’ recruitment of Sabrina Frederick, but whilst the towering forward arguably had her colours lowered yet again in season 2022, it was the work of dangerous forwards Molloy and Eliza James who stood up. Molloy booted 2.2, finally getting on the board from a clever snap in the third term after another couple of misses early to make it five consecutive behinds to start the season. She finished with the match-winners, whilst James picked up 12 touches and almost had a couple more goals to her first ever one, showing plenty of signs inside 50 and running down the ground.
Amy McDonald would have a case for most underrated player in the competition
She honed her craft as a run-with player, but now McDonald is playing an influential ball-winning role at the Cats. Able to play inside or outside, she just attacks the contest, gets to the right spots and knows how to win the ball. Most importantly, she applies plenty of pressure, laying 12 tackles to go with her 20 disposals. Geelong’s standout player on the night, she was everywhere against a quality midfield.
Welcome to the big time, Georgie Prespakis
She might have received a bit of family friendly fire last week from her big sister Madison Prespakis, but Georgie Prespakis was on the receiving end of a number of big tackles and bumps from Magpies opponents. Trying to find space around the stoppages and often looking clean with ball-in-hand, Prespakis was often targeted the moment she got the ball, and the experienced Magpies midfield aimed to make sure she knew they were always there.
Ladder positions mean little in even competition
Despite the Magpies now moving to 3-0 and the Cats slipping to 0-3, there is no guarantees that if they played next week, Collingwood would get up. The evenness – for the most part – of the AFL Women’s competition is exciting, and the Cats are certainly coming. They could still improve their forward line, but their defence is superb, and their midfield tough. Getting Chloe Scheer back will help them, too.
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Collingwood hosts Fremantle on Sunday, January 30 from 3:10pm at Victoria Park, while the Cats travel north to Maroochydore where they face the Lions at 5:10pm on Saturday, with Brisbane coming off a five-day break.