AFLW Season 7: Finals Talking Points – Collingwood vs. Western Bulldogs
COLLINGWOOD has advanced to the semi-final stage of Season 7 after a dramatic five-point victory over the Western Bulldogs at Victoria Park. The Magpies, inspired by a record-breaking performance by Eliza James, controlled much of the game but failed to put the dogged Western side away, very nearly paying for poor goalkicking in the 5.10 (40) to 5.5 (35) win.
Out-Whitt’ed by EJ
Collingwood forward Eliza James had a day out on Sunday, nearly doubling her season goal tally in a single outing, and becoming the first player to boot four majors in an AFLW final. The teenager snared all three of her side’s six-pointers in the first half; cooly slotting a checkside from the pocket, a curling effort on the run, and a set shot to take hold of the game. She roared on with a fourth midway through term three, as a slew of Bulldogs opponents tried to shut her down.
Clutch old Collingwood forever
It took some seven marks from defensive rock Stacey Livingstone and Imogen Barnett‘s own Leo Barry moment, but Collingwood continued its club-wide trend of coming up clutch when the game is on the line. While they were well clear in the third term, Magpies were made to earn their victory in the end and jet into the semi-finals having survived an adrenaline pumping finish befitting of the club’s year as a whole. Many other sides would have folded under the pressure, but not those in black and white.
Got that dog in ’em
At 28 points down 10 minutes into the third quarter, away from home no less, you would have forgiven the Western Bulldogs for packing it in. Undeterred by the situation, Nathan Burke‘s troops were keen to prove they had that dog in them, fighting back to within a goal of the lead with under five minutes left to play. All it took was a dash of dare in possession and the Bulldogs’ usually strong marking game came to the fore.
You can’t outfox a fox, nor outmark a Dog
It is no secret that the Western Bulldogs were aerially apt, and as the tide began to turn after half time, they began to control the airways. Finishing with 57 marks to Collingwood’s 41 (11-2 contested), some of the visitors’ key contributors stamped their authority in that department. Whether it was Katie Lynch (20 disposals, six marks) in defence or Gabby Newton (nine disposals, two goals) up the other end, the Bulldogs almost snatched victory via their hold of the overhead game.
The nervous wait
There are few more daunting tasks than locking horns with Adelaide on the road, but that may not even be the thing which occupies Collingwood’s thoughts the most throughout the week ahead. A key duo face nervous waits to see how they pull up after picking up knocks on Sunday, with Sarah Rowe (knee), Ruby Schleicher (leg) both spending time off the ground. Mikala Cann and Tarni Brown also sustained head knocks, though have been cleared initially.