PREVIEW | 2023 VFLW Grand Final: Collingwood vs. Port Melbourne

WILL it be another Collingwood cup or a Port premiership? That is the question that will only be answered after the Magpies and Borough clash in the 2023 VFL Women’s Grand Final on Sunday at 12:10pm.

The two sides face off at ETU Stadium, normally a neutral ground for most, but Port has made it a fortress, and the Borough knocked off the Magpies back in Round 2 at the very venue. The minor premier Magpies have the most recent success of the head-to-head, defeating Port Melbourne in the first week of the finals.

Fast forward to the decider, and anything, can and will happen. Collingwood has been there and done it before, winning in 2019 by defeating the Western Bulldogs in that memorable decider at Ikon Park, before their dominant run in 2021 was halted by a global pandemic. Now back in the big dance, the Magpies will have to stop a Port Melbourne side hell bent on winning its first ever flag.

  • Team
  • Collingwood VFLW
  • Port Melbourne VFLW


Both teams finished the year with nine wins and five losses from 14 games, just edging out Williamstown with the same record in third spot. That enabled the Borough to utilise their second chance after going down to the Magpies. They went via the hard route to the grand final, defeating Carlton and then Essendon, while the Magpies knocked off the Bombers in the second week to secure and express ticket into the decider.


Collingwood 7.6 (48) defeated Port Melbourne 3.4 (22)
Semi-Final | Sunday, July 9 @ Victoria Park, 11am

A fast start from the Magpies saw the home team slam on five goals to one by half-time and lead by 28 points. Though the Borough cut that deficit to 13 points at the last change, the Magpies steadied to kick the last two goals of the game and win, 7.6 (48) to 3.4 (22). Monique De Matteo booted two goals for the Magpies, while Jessica Bates brought her own ball racking up 12 more disposals than anyone else on the field with 28, and also laid 16 tackles. Emily Harley (15 disposals, five tackles) was a standout for the Borough.

Port Melbourne 9.3 (57) defeated Collingwood 2.8 (20)
Round 2 | Saturday, April 1 @ ETU Stadium, 5pm

Port Melbourne’s comprehensive win over the Magpies was no April Fool’s joke, keeping the black and white side to just three behinds in the first half and race out to a 23-point half-time lead. Collingwood had more chances in the third term but blew them in front of goal with 1.5 to the Borough’s 2.0 and then Port Melbourne ran away with it in the last to win by 37 points. Eliza Morrison (22 disposals) and Isabella Stutt (11 disposals, four tackles and two goals) were among the best Borough players, as Bates again was unstoppable with 31 touches and nine tackles.



B: T. Hurst (45), K. Lee (72)
HB: N. Hales (52), R. Christgoergl (56), O. Storer (73)
C: S. Hosking (47), J. Bates (50), G. Ricardo (63)
HF: N. Dojiok (61), M. DeMatteo (44), E. Nikolitsis (64)
F: C. Van der Vlies (69), C. Sargent (78)
R: R. Caris (68), C. Bunker (55), M. Zander (51)
INT: T. Cowan (54), S. King (46), E. Jackson (65), J. Tweddle-O’Donnell (60), R. Busch (67)
EMG: A. Weston (58), N. Weston (66), M. Jarvis (48), A. Kane (57)

No change

 O. Barton (1), L. Davie (6)
HB: L. Caruso (5), M. McKellar (14), E. Morrison (10)
C: C. Dyett (15), J. Williams (26), I. Stutt (29)
HF: F. Frew (28), G. Alomes (32), N. Borg (12)
F: C. Bromage (4), E. Harley (17)
R: B. Wilson (16), K. O’Keefe (18), I. Hartog (42)
INT: K. Whitehead (8), K. Adams (7), A. Campbell (20), C. Slater (13), K. Dudley (2)
EMG: M. Shaw (11), M. Mottram (24), M. Denahy Maloney (35), B. Mueck (31), R. Dale (41)

IN: K. Adams
OUT: L. Wright (knee)


Jess Bates (Collingwood)

Since crossing from Glenelg over the off-season, the SANFL Women’s Best and Fairest winner has been unstoppable, carrying her form across and being the most dominant ball-winners in the competition. No one has won back-to-back league best and fairests across the SANFLW and VFLW, but Bates could be a huge chance to do so. Averaging a massive 26.6 disposals and 10.3 tackles per game, the midfielder has also booted 11 goals from her 16 matches thus far.

Emily Harley (Port Melbourne)

The ex-Tiger provides great strength at the coalface and is able to do damage on the scoreboard. Capable of playing through the midfield or being that strong marking forward, Harley has averaged a goal per game from her nine matches, while also averaging 12.6 disposals, 3.6 marks and 2.7 tackles. Her three-goal performance from 14 touches and five marks on the weekend against Essendon was the best of her season and she is primed for a huge grand final.


Collingwood has a well-balanced list across the board with a number of key recruits standing up this year. Ex-Doggies captain Riley Christgoergl joins the likes of current skipper Caitlin Bunker, and Nicole Hales – who is in her second year back since returning from Casey – are all important players. Ruck Rene Caris often towers over her opponent and forward Nyakoat Dojiok provides some spark inside 50. Then players such as Matilda Zander, Sarah King and Katelyn Lee have well and truly endeared themselves to Magpies fans over the last few years.

Port Melbourne, lead by skipper Claire Dyett have bought into the belief of the program, and along with another ex-Dog in Morrison, and ex-Bomber Federica Frew – who is a danger up forward – can provide the Magpies with plenty of headaches. Kaitlyn O’Keefe (15 disposals, nine tackles) brings the heat for the Borough, while Lauren Caruso and Jessie Williams are experienced ball-winners. Kristy Whitehead. Nayeley Borg and Isabella Stutt are others in good form.


The match is set to go down to the wire. Collingwood reversed the dose against Port Melbourne with a fast start, and that is the key to the game. Both the teams have had incredible first halves to set up the results, so the opening 40 minutes will be key. No doubt the sides will look to get on top and restrict the opposition from scoring, so expect it to be a tight tussle for a while before opening up. At home, Port Melbourne is a stronger side, but the Magpies hold no fears at the ground either. Expect it to be less than a kick separating the sides, and with a tip going the Magpies.

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