2022 AFLW: Round 1 Talking Points – Magpies maintain ‘Wood over rivals
COLLINGWOOD continued its burial of traditional rival Carlton on Thursday night, defeating the Blues by 18 points in the AFLW season seven opener. After a tight opening term saw either side poised at two-straight goals apiece, the Magpies kept the hosts goalless in terms two and four at Princes Park, to run out relatively comfortable 5.6 (36) to 3.0 (18) victors.
A night of firsts
The first game of the season, but much more than just that. Thursday night’s fixture marked AFLW debuts for Mia Austin and Imogen Evans, who both bagged their maiden senior goals – Austin’s was even the first of the game. Jordan Membrey also enjoyed her first game back in the big time after 543 days recovering from an ACL injury. She booted Collingwood’s first major, as the Magpies went on to take the lead in their head-to-head battle with Carlton for the first time, at four wins to three.
Structure equals substance
Steve Symonds runs a well-oiled machine. Collingwood’s system was key to its win on Thursday night, as it smothered the Blues into squandering most possessions. Set up with extraordinary organisation behind the ball, the Magpies locked play in their forward half and after the Blues kicked long to the spare time and time again, they were forced into messy over-possession in an attempt to correct the issue. Spoiler, it didn’t work.
There’s spice in the old rivalry yet
This is a traditional rivalry which continues to produce fireworks both on and off the field. On Thursday night, Collingwood’s immense pressure produced a slew of hard hits which captured the attention of onlookers. Eliza James was the catalyst, giving Carlton hell with a game-high 10 tackles. The Magpies laid 20 inside attacking 50. For all the good they produced, James and Evans may come under scrutiny for a pair of heavy tackles, while Carlton star Darcy Vescio may have their late hit on Ruby Schleicher looked at. It was a cold night, but not on the Princes Park turf.
New-look midfields make it work
With expansion and injury impacting either side, both fielded relatively new-looked midfields as the magnets were shuffled. The end result was just about a draw, with both teams managing 23 clearances amid an armwrestle on the inside. The likes of Evans, Schleicher, and Chloe Molloy got stuck in for Collingwood, while the likes of Maddy Guerin, Keeley Sherar, and Amelia Velardo ran either side of a youthful Carlton engine room.
Making a mountain of Mimi Hill & the McEvoy miracle
Sporting heavy strapping on her quad after copping a corkie in the warm-up, Mimi Hill would have been excused for having a quiet night. That was hardly the case, as she dug deep to lead all comers with 26 disposals. Her efforts were matched by Lucy McEvoy‘s miracle. Her shoulder, which was meant to see her miss half the season, looked cherry ripe en route to collecting 24 touches and five marks down back. Against all odds, they finished as the best Blues afield.