Season 8 AFLW preview: Collingwood

COLLINGWOOD is building towards something special in the AFL Women’s after reaching the finals for a second consecutive year under Steve Symonds despite missing two of its best midfielders all season. Regaining in Season 8, the Magpies also have to overcome the loss of a trio of top-end talents as they strive to go deep in the AFLW finals series.


#1 Sabrina Frederick
#2 Eliza James
#3 Brianna Davey
#4 Imogen Barnett
#5 Imogen Evans
#6 Jordyn Allen
#7 Sarah Rowe
#8 Brittany Bonnici
#9 Alana Porter
#10 Ash Brazill
#11 Charlotte Taylor
#12 Stacey Livingstone
#13 Grace Campbell
#14 Aishling Sheridan
#15 Erica Fowler
#16 Sarah Sansonetti
#17 Nell Morris-Dalton
#18 Ruby Schleicher
#19 Olivia Barber
#20 Selena Karlson
#21 Eleri Morris
#22 Sophie Casey
#23 Lauren Butler
#24 Lauren Brazzale
#25 Mikala Cann
#26 Tarni Brown
#28 Charlotte Blair
#29 Tarni White
#33 Emily Smith
#35 Joanna Lin

*inactive list/injured


In: Nell Morris-Dalton, Tarni White, Grace Campbell, Selena Karlson, Eleri Morris, Brianna Davey (inactive), Britt Bonnici (inactive)
Out: Steph Chiocci, Jaimee Lambert, Chloe Molloy, Eloise Chaston, Abbi Moloney, Alison Downie, Jordan Membrey


Round 1: vs. Melbourne @ Ikon Park
Round 2: vs. Fremantle @ Victoria Park
Round 3: vs. Gold Coast @ Victoria Park
Round 4: vs. St Kilda @ RSEA Park
Round 5: vs. Essendon @ AIA Centre
Round 6: vs. Brisbane @ Brighton Homes Arena
Round 7: vs. Carlton @ Ikon Park
Round 8: vs. Geelong @ Victoria Park
Round 9: vs. Sydney @ Henson Park
Round 10: vs. Richmond @ Victoria Park


  • Return of Davey & Bonnici
  • Rock solid defence
  • Versatile scoring options
  • Strong system-based approach

Collingwood will be excited to unveil the midfield of Brianna Davey, Britt Bonnici and Ruby Schleicher, with the former two effectively missing the last two seasons. Davey and Bonnici will bring additional hardness and clearance expertise, while Schleicher also has that extra string to her bow now. Realistically, new recruit Tarni Evans will roll in for Schleicher to add some pace to the group, while Tarni Brown, Eliza James and Joanna Lin – who also returns – will add the same spark.

The Magpies’ defence has always been strong, lead by a combination of Schleicher and Stacey Livingstone, while the stability of having the same faces – including Sophie Casey and Erica Fowler – in there have made it predictable for the team. Collingwood’s system-based approach has allowed the Magpies to bring in younger or less experienced players who can still fill a void, and there is much improvement left.

Imogen Evans and Charlotte Taylor were a couple of young guns who got a taste for AFLW action last season and will be predicted to go to another level, while Alana Porter should be a lock each week for the wing role in the absence of Chiocci. In attack, Eleri Morris and Nell Morris-Dalton provide further avenues to goal, which will be important without Chloe Molloy, but the Magpies have always relied on a variety of scorers rather than one key target.


  • Loss of speed and class
  • Ruck position still an issue

The biggest concern for Magpies fans will be the departure of Molloy, Chiocci and and Lambert, all of whom could be gamebreakers with their movement through stoppages and getting the ball inside 50. That will be a big question mark for the black and whites, but the inclusion of White – which in-turn lowers the average age of players in that role – will help subside the losses. Seeing which players step up to provide that outside run and carry consistently – such as James, Lin and Brown – will be fascinating.

Collingwood has had a ruck roundabout over the years since Emma King left, with Sharni Layton the most impactful and she was a cross-code netball legend. The Magpies lost Alison Downie to retirement last season, and realistically do not have a locked in number one ruck. Fowler, Sabrina Frederick, Olivia Barber and Imogen Barnett have all filled gaps, but the ruck is main puzzle piece left for the Magpies to find.


In the absence of two-time best and fairest winner Lambert, the most likely winner falls back on standalone skipper, Davey. Taking the sole reins for the first time and coming back from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, Davey is a past joint winner from Season 5, and will be hoping to pick up where she left off. The extended preseason has meant she is effectively 18 months away since she injured her knee and should be right to produce a huge season.


Collingwood has a stack of breakout potential players, and depending on whether or not you count James’ season last year as breakout, she would be a great shout. With pace to burn and an ability to consistently hit the scoreboard, she will likely take over Molloy’s mantle as the most damaging forward. Expect her to spend time in the midfield as well to add some extra pace in there. If you did count Season 7 as a breakout year, then second year player Evans is one to watch, with a midfield role up for grabs and an all-round consistency in her game.


Collingwood should still be a finals team. One does not simply welcome back two top 20 players and not be a threat, even when losing your best midfielder in their absence, most dangerous goalkicker and potent wing. Those losses will hurt, and the question mark remains if the list is good enough to beat a Melbourne deep in the finals series, but at worst should win a final. The Round 1 match against the Dees will be a great test to see where the Magpies are at in Season 8.

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