AFLW Season 7 Finals preview: Collingwood vs Western Bulldogs (Elimination Final 2)

THREE finals down, just one to go, with no holding back for either Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs. For the winner, Adelaide awaits in the semi-final, with a potential date with Brisbane up north in what has become a tough run for both these sides. For the loser though, it is season over, with one of the Magpies and Bulldogs eliminated from the flag race this afternoon.

  • Team
  • Collingwood
  • Western Bulldogs


Not too much separates these sides on the final ladder, having picked up seven wins from 10 games in Season 7. The Magpies suffered defeat at the hands of the Lions, Crows and Kangaroos, while the Bulldogs went down to North Melbourne, Melbourne and Geelong.

Since the Bulldogs’ three consecutive losses to those sides across Rounds 5-7, the Bulldogs strung the last three wins together – albeit against St Kilda, West Coast and Carlton – to stamp their tickets into finals. Meanwhile a heartbreaking five-point loss to Adelaide in Round 4 was the only blemish for the Magpies in the first eight rounds as they went 7-1, before being taken care of rather easily by North Melbourne and Brisbane to the combined tune of 77 points.


The two sides have never played in a final before, and are the only first week finals opponents who did not face off during Season 7. The Bulldogs have only made the finals once in the first six seasons, but made it count, with an unforgettable flag in 2018, or Season 2. That year, the Bulldogs won a thriller against the Magpies by eight points, in what would be the only victory over the black and whites in AFLW history for the Dogs.

Collingwood has definitely had the wood over the red, white and blue, winning the other four times they have clashed, While their 2017 match was a tight seven-point in, the last three – which have come from Season 4-6 – have all been comfortable victories. Collingwood won by 32, 36 and 25 points on those occasions, and will be hoping for more of the same here.


Collingwood’s injury list is as healthy as it could be, with long-termers Brianna Davey and Brittany Bonnici only alongside tall Erica Fowler who is recovering from concussion, Crucial defender-turned-midfielder Ruby Schleicher returns from a hip injury after passing a fitness test ahead of the first final. Collingwood has recalled ruck Alison Downie as well as tall forward Abbi Moloney to stretch the Dogs’ defence.

The Western Bulldogs had a mixed bag when it came to injuries, with young gun Rylie Wilcox returning from a leg injury, but hard runner Eleanor Brown failing to recover from a neck injury. Also missing the first final is former VFLW Pie, Gemma Lagioia due to Health & Safety Protocols, opening the door for first-season player Keely Coyne.



B: L.Brazzale 24 S.Livingstone 12  
HB: S.Casey 22 L.Butler 23 R.Schleicher 18
C: J.Lin 35 J.Allen 6 S.Chiocci – C 17
HF: E.James 20 A.Sheridan 14 A.Brazill 10
F: S.Frederick 1 T.Brown 26
Foll: I.Barnett 4 J.Lambert 13 C.Molloy 2
I/C: M.Cann 25 S.Rowe 7 A.Moloney 40 S.Sansonetti 16 A.Downie 30  

Emerg: O.Barber 19 C.Taylor 11 E.Smith 33

Western Bulldogs

B: I.Grant 3 K.Lynch 10  
HB: B.Hunt 21 E.Georgostathis 17 E.Bennetts 11
C: I.Pritchard 4 K.Lamb 27 D.Bateman 8
HF: H.Woodley 19 R.Cranston 30 S.Hartwig 15
F: G.Newton 5 C.Moody 13
Foll: A.Edmonds 33 E.Blackburn – C 2 J.Fitzgerald 23
I/C: N.Ferres 16 R.Wilcox 37 D.Berry 7 K.Coyne 22 E.Snell 1  

Emerg: A.Strahan 35 B.Vernon 32 N.Morris-Dalton 25      


Collingwood has gone very tall for the clash on a day where it is anticipated to be perfect football conditions. Given Bulldogs ruck Alice Edmonds is in All-Australian form, and Celine Moody is a perfect backup, the Magpies have looked to Downie alongside forward-rucks, Imogen Barnett and Sabrina Frederick.

The Bulldogs midfield – in particular captain Ellie Blackburn, partner-in-crime Kirsty Lamb and winger Isabelle Pritchard – are in dazzling form with the Magpies patched-up brigade looking to go head-to-head. Minus Davey and Bonnici they have coped all year, with Chloe Molloy and Schleicher joining star Jaimee Lambert, while captain Stephanie Chiocci might go head-to-head with Pritchard.

Given the Dogs smaller defence, coach Nathan Burke might be tempted to throw former defender Sarah Hartwig back there, though the Magpies have the potential to switch between a land of the talls, and a mosquito fleet. Eliza James, Aishling Sheridan and Ash Brazill are all dangerous, while up the otehr end, Gabrielle Newton, Moody and Hartwig may well stretch the Pies’ famed defence.


Collingwood has won all the games expected of the Magpies, and to an extent, so have the Bulldogs. Both sides finished where many might have predicted them to end up, especially having lost some star talent over the off-season be it through injury, expansion or retirement. Given the extra finals experience and the loss of Brown – who is a crucial player to the Bulldogs side – the Magpies should get it done, but not by much. Expect a tight tussle for the four quarters.

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