Pies drain Docker scoring, set up final fortnight

COLLINGWOOD is storming towards a double chance in the AFL Women’s season after knocking off Fremantle in a superb effort over in the west. The Magpies sit third on the Season 7 ladder after the win over Fremantle, four points and percentage of team’s fourth until sixth. However a tough fortnight awaits them with North Melbourne and Brisbane in the final two rounds.

Magpies coach Steve Symonds said he was happy with the team’s 4.8 (32) to 0.3 (3) Round 8 triumph over the Dockers, keeping the home side scoreless for the first three quarters, and goalless for the entire match.

“The Dockers are a very good outfit and we know while the ladder’s indicating that they haven’t had the greatest season from a results point of view, they’re a competitive bunch and we knew today they were going to come out with a contested brand, the pressure brand that they’re known for and they certainly brought that to us as well,” Symonds said.

“I thought they defended our 50 really strongly and made it difficult for us to score. They’re a good team, they’re well coached, and I think this is the first time we’ve actually beaten them since the first season, so it’s nice to win against them.”

Leading the way from defence was Stacey Livingstone who lead her side’s intercepts and rebound 50s, being a rock in the defensive half of the ground. Also picking up 12 disposals and taking five marks, Symonds said Livingstone was a “highly experienced” player.

“The group down there have played a bit of footy together now. Obviously we’ve brought a couple of new players in now with Lauren Brazzale and Sarah Sansonetti this season to give our backline a bit more depth,” he said.

“With Rube (Ruby Schleicher) getting some more midfield minutes and Jordy Allen playing up the field a bit more, they’ve fitted into our backline really strongly so we’re really pleased with the way our backline group’s going. We’re really pleased with how our midfield’s going.

“Without Bri (Brianna Davey) and Britt (Brittany Bonnici) in there, our midfield group’s we’ve patched it up a bit and we’re starting to work in sync. A couple of players like Chloe (Molloy) and Ruby have never played midfield before so they’re learning their craft in there, so we’re getting there.”

Up the other end, key forward/ruck Sabrina Frederick kicked two goals in as many minutes to spark the Magpies in the second term, marking her first and second goals of the season after coming into the match with eight behinds. Symonds said it was a pressure release for Frederick, but noted that internally she was valued highly for her presence around the ground.

“It’s like any forward, when you miss a few goals, the pressure builds a little bit, so no doubt she’s been feeling a bit of that pressure, but it was nice to be able to get a couple today,” he said. “To have that pressure off a little bit, and look Sabrina plays a really important role for us, and some people outside our four walls may not understand it, but so far as the way our structure and system works, she’s a crucial part of that. She’s always competing in a two on scenario for us, always brings the ball to ground and it was nice for her to get a couple of goals today.”

Symonds said his side was looking forward to the challenge of finals-bound North Melbourne and premiership favourites Brisbane in the last fortnight.

“They’re two good teams so really looking forward to battles against them,” he said. “Us and North we’ve had some good battles over the years, the last few years in particular so really looking forward to them. We get them back at VicPark so we get them there and North are their ball movement is really strong, they’ve improved a couple of areas from last year and they’ve got four or five of their main key players are in good form, so we’re expecting a good battle, and at the moment Brisbane are flying at the moment as well, so we know what’s ahead of us.”

Collingwood has locked in its finals spot for Season 7 despite missing the likes of Davey and Bonnici all season. With a percentage of 192.4 and one kick away from being on top of the table undefeated – having only narrowly lost to the Crows earlier in the season – Symonds was quick to remind the doubters of how the black and white had performed above external expectations.

“We’re a team that’s just building,” he said. “I think at the start of the year, because we’ve got a few of our key players out, everyone wrote us off a little bit, and sort of said Collingwood might slip a little bit, but the character of our group, we’re still pretty strong, we’ve got a nice strong squad and we’re still competing so we’ll keep hanging in there.”

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