IT was a tough pill to swallow last season for Collingwood, with the Magpies coming off a kick away from a grand final, to losing two of their best players and limping to the line in Season 6. Now looking ahead to Season 7, Collingwood will still be without star onballers Brianna Davey and Brittany Bonnici, meaning others will have to step up, and questions of just how deep they can go in November’s finals series will remain.
Best & Fairest: Jaimee Lambert
Leading Goalkicker: Chloe Molloy
IN: Olivia Barber (Geelong), Lauren Brazzale (Carlton), Sarah Sansonetti (Richmond), Emily Smith (cricket), Charlotte Taylor (Oakleigh Chargers), Charlotte Blair (Dandenong Stingrays), Imogen Evans (Gold Coast Suns Academy)
OUT: Sophie Alexander (Essendon), Ebony O’Dea (Port Adelaide), Bella Smith, Aliesha Newman (Sydney), Imogen Purcell, Olivia Meagher (delisted)
Jordyn Allen, Olivia Barber, Imogen Barnett, Charlotte Blair, Ashleigh Brazill, Lauren Brazzale, Tarni Brown, Lauren Butler, Mikala Cann, Sophie Casey, Eloise Chaston, Steph Chiocci, Alison Downie, Imogen Evans, Erica Fowler, Sabrina Frederick, Eliza James, Jaimee Lambert, Joanna Lin, Stacey Livingstone, Jordan Membrey, Chloe Molloy, Abbi Moloney, Alana Porter, Sarah Rowe, Sarah Sansonetti, Ruby Schleicher, Aishling Sheridan, Emily Smith (rookie), Charlotte Taylor
Inactive: Brittany Bonnici (knee injury), Brianna Davey (knee injury)
Round 1: @ Carlton | IKON Park
Round 2: vs. Sydney | Victoria Park
Round 3: @ Geelong | GMHBA Stadium
Round 4: vs. Adelaide | Victoria Park
Round 5: vs. Essendon | AIA Centre
Round 6: @ St Kilda | RSEA Park
Round 7: vs. GWS | Victoria Park
Round 8: @ Fremantle | Fremantle Oval
Round 9: vs. North Melbourne | Victoria Park
Round 10: @ Brisbane | Metricon Stadium
B: Jordyn Allen – Stacey Livingstone
HB: Ash Brazill – Ruby Schleicher – Lauren Butler
C: Steph Chiocci – Jaimee Lambert – Sarah Rowe
HF: Eliza James – Olivia Barber – Aishling Sheridan
F: Chloe Molloy – Sabrina Frederick
R: Alison Downie – Mikala Cann – Tarni Brown
INT: Alana Porter – Lauren Brazzale – Sophie Casey – Erica Fowler – Charlotte Taylor
EMG: Eloise Chaston – Sarah Sansonetti – Imogen Evans
LEAGUE B&F CONTENDER: Jaimee Lambert
As a three-time Collingwood best and fairest winner, and in a side without both Davey and Bonnici, Lambert is the clear standout from the Magpies to contend for the league best and fairest. The midfielder will bring up her 50th game of AFL Women’s in Round 1, and then later in the season notch up 50 for the Magpies in what has been a sparkling career thus far for the incredibly talented and skilful midfielder who turns 30 in November. Lambert will have a huge say in how deep the Magpies can go in the finals series.
BIG YEAR FOR: Chloe Molloy
Having been trialed at either end of the field, Molloy was back inside 50 last season, and that is where she can have the most direct influence on games. If she can get off the chain and turn a match, then the Magpies can win those tight ones against the top contenders. Given she was only contained against one opponent – Breanna Koenen – Molloy knows how to create headaches or opposition coaches, and if she can have a 15-plus goal season, then anything is possible for the black and whites.
KEY TALKING POINTS:
How will they replace Davey and Bonnici?
Collingwood has plenty of depth across the field, but any side would be tested by losing its two best inside midfielder. In the past, the Magpies have utilised Lambert through there, as well as the likes of Mikala Cann and Tarni Brown. Having recruited with an inside midfield focus, both Charlotte Taylor and Imogen Evans able to roll through there, the Magpies will also look to use defender Ruby Schleicher in there like they did in the practice match against North Melbourne.
Just how far can the Magpies go?
It is reasonable to assume Collingwood should play finals even without Davey and Bonnici. The Magpies showed last season they are good at shuffling the magnets around and getting the job done. With those losses, Collingwood probably does not have the depth to match an Adelaide, Melbourne or Brisbane, but it does open up after that, and if they can grab a top four spot, then it could come down to injuries and depth now the finals will revert to the top eight system and double chances for the top four.
Is Olivia Barber the missing piece in Collingwood’s puzzle?
Collingwood tried to find that second key forward to Sophie Alexander in the form of Sabrina Frederick, though the ex-Tiger seemed to have more impact when further afield. Now Frederick will likely chop out in the ruck with Alison Downie, it gives ex-Cat Olivia Barber a chance to shine at her second club. Barber has enormous potential with a good set of hands and if she can tidy up her finishing ability and stay fit, she is more than capable of being a roaming forward and hitting the scoreboard regularly.
How much opportunity will the first-year draftees get?
Collingwood has shown in the past it is not afraid to throw the youngster in if the Magpies feel they are ready, and Taylor has already played for the VFL Women’s side. Evans is someone who has played senior football for Bond University in Queensland, while Charlotte Blair ran around in the practice match and has high upside. The mature-age recruits in Barber and Lauren Brazzale will likely step in from Round 1.