COLLINGWOOD continues to build the perfect platform for its AFLW season, outlasting a brave Geelong side to win by 29 points in an arm-wrestle of a contest at Victoria Park on Saturday.
The Magpies recovered a relatively slow start, with the quality of Brianna Davey eventually rising to the fore as the club's co-captain inspired her side to a gritty 6.9 (45) to 2.4 (16) victory.
PIES v CATS Full match coverage and stats
Davey had 25 disposals, four clearances and kicked the game's sealing goal in the final quarter, with her grunt in the midfield throughout the match ultimately helping to swing a hard-fought contest in Collingwood's favour.
Geelong, led admirably by Amy McDonald (15 disposals, five tackles), had started strongly despite being thrust into the encounter just days out after a series of AFLW fixtures were rearranged due to Victoria's COVID-19 situation.
Having gone more than three quarters without scoring in round one, the Cats barely had to wait 30 seconds to register their first major on Saturday courtesy of a smart soccer off the ground by debutant Olivia Barber.
It came amid a quarter that Geelong dominated, with only fortunate 50m and 100m penalties respectively putting Collingwood within reach of goal to ensure the deficit remained in touching distance at the first change.
But once the Magpies had drawn parity on the scoreboard, they quickly evened out the momentum in the run of play. A superb Chloe Molloy goal saw the hosts edge ahead at the main break, before retaining their advantage in the third quarter.
The Pies led by only 10 points at the final change, but broke the game open in the final quarter courtesy of Davey's brilliance and another stunning goal from Sarah Rowe to ensure Steve Symonds' side started the 2021 season with back-to-back wins.
Collingwood was locked in a scrappy battle on Saturday, until the quality of Brianna Davey helped to finally unlock an avenue to goal. Playing predominantly through the midfield, the Magpies' co-captain was far and away the game's best player and lit up the match through her precision kicking, prolific ball-winning abilities and composure in possession. A clever goal from Davey early in the final quarter then settled any nerves surrounding a potential upset, as the hosts cruised to victory.
Blink and you missed it
It took Geelong almost an hour of play before registering its first score in last Sunday's bruising 62-point loss to North Melbourne. But it took the Cats only 38 seconds before debutant Olivia Barber snuck through their first goal on Saturday afternoon. Fans were still finding their seats at Victoria Park as the visitors celebrated the game's opener.
Sliding doors moment
Geelong entered Saturday's contest as serious underdogs, but started with a spark and should have led by more in the game's early stages. Despite nearly doubling Collingwood for inside 50s to quarter-time, two moments of madness allowed its opponents back into the contest as the Cats gave away a 50m penalty to Ruby Schleicher and a 100m penalty to Mikala Cann – both resulting in goals that changed the momentum of the match before the first change.
"It was tough early, but we knew Geelong would come at us. They certainly applied the pressure and we struggled a bit. We weren't very clean. But once the second half got going, we got our rhythm going a little bit more and started to make some wiser decisions with the ball and started winning the contest a little bit more." – Collingwood coach Steve Symonds.
"The strong start was great and we were really pleased at quarter time because we'd got ourselves into the game and into a really good position. Obviously, we'd like to run out the game better and finish it with more of a four-quarter performance. It's a better feeling than last week, but we know we need to continue to develop our game and get better still." – Geelong coach Paul Hood.
COLLINGWOOD 2.0 3.4 3.7 6.9 (45)
GEELONG 2.2 2.3 2.3 2.4 (16)
Collingwood: Schleicher, Cann, Molloy, Davey, Rowe, Alexander
Geelong: Barber, Boyd
Collingwood: Davey, Schleicher, Bonnici, Lambert, Chiocci, Livingstone, Rowe
Geelong: McDonald, Purcell, Webster, Crockett-Grills, O'Connor
Collingwood: Allen (illness) replaced in selected side by Lin
Crowd: 2938 at Victoria Park