THE WESTERN Bulldogs' four-game winning streak has come to an end, losing to a rampaging Collingwood by 36 points at Victoria Park.
A seven-goal second half means the Pies have now won six on the trot, extending their current club record and reclaiming top spot as a consequence of the 7.9 (51) to 2.3 (15) result.
PIES v DOGS Full match coverage and stats
It was a grim opening two quarters, with just one goal kicked (by Bulldog Elisabeth Georgostathis) as inaccuracy plagued the Pies (0.7) and defensive pressure stifled the Bulldogs.
Collingwood was very late coming out onto the ground after the main break, managing just one hurried run-through before the first bounce of the third, but it didn't seem to matter.
They won the opening clearance, locking the ball inside 50 before the Magpies finally kicked their first through Chloe Molloy and their second through debutant Abbi Moloney just a minute later.
The Pies were much more organised in the third term, spreading the play well and were consequently more effective with their ball use.
The floodgates opened, the young Dogs panicked under pressure and lost their structure coming out of defence.
The Dogs rung the changes in the last quarter, swinging Hannah Scott to full-forward and Gabby Newton and debutant Isabelle Pritchard into the middle, but it was to no avail.
The usual suspects of Brianna Davey (28 disposals, one goal) and Britt Bonnici (22 touches) drove the Pies out of the middle, Lauren Butler and Stacey Livingstone kept twin towers Izzy Huntington and Bonnie Toogood quiet, while Molloy (two goals) sparkled up forward.
For the Dogs, Kirsty Lamb (16, seven tackles) tried her heart out, Ellie Blackburn (18, three clearances) attempted to kickstart the team and Ash Guest stood tall in defence.
Huntington v Molloy
Two NAB AFLW Rising Star winners. Two forwards-turned defenders-turned forwards. And at the start of the round, Izzy Huntington and Chloe Molloy were equal-leading goalkickers in the competition (along with Erin Phillips). Molloy had Eleanor Brown for company, while the impressive Lauren Butler kept a close eye on the Bulldog. Molloy took the chocolates (partly on the back of greater supply), kicking two goals, while unusually for Huntington, she was out-marked on a few occasions by Butler.
All in the family
It was an exciting day for the Moloney family, with draftee Pie key forward Abbi making her debut against the side her father Troy played 36 games for between 1987 and 1992. The Dogs had the option of drafting Abbi under the father-daughter rule, but opted not to, opening the door for the Pies to snaffle her with pick No.31. She didn't find too much of the footy in her debut but did plenty with it, booting two goals from her two disposals.
The ladder now
Collingwood has maintained its four-point buffer at the top of the ladder, and with Fremantle still to play, has conceded the third-fewest number of points. The big loss has seen the Western Bulldogs slip out of the top six into seventh position, with the Dogs now 20 per cent behind Melbourne. And it’s a tough road ahead for Nathan Burke's team, with games against North Melbourne and Adelaide.
"The first half, things just weren't happening for us. We were doing a lot of things right, but we were just a bit fumbly and made the wrong decisions at the wrong time. Kicking eight points before we kicked our first goal builds scoreboard pressure as well … Fortunately, once they kicked that first goal, things started to flow and got their game going, which was really pleasing. Last year, we might have panicked a bit." – Collingwood coach Steve Symonds
"It was a bit of a tale of two halves. The first half was good, the things we really wanted to do in the game – make sure it was a pressured, contested game and not let them use their feet too much – that was going well for us. Second half, they probably lifted, and just where we're at, at the moment, we just struggled to go with that. They picked it up, and that was the difference." – Western Bulldogs coach Nathan Burke
Collingwood has a mouthwatering clash against fellow flag fancy Brisbane at Hickey Park on Sunday, while the Western Bulldogs will make the trip south to North Hobart Oval to face the powerful Kangaroos.
COLLINGWOOD 0.5 0.7 4.8 7.9 (51)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 0.2 1.3 1.3 2.3 (15)
Collingwood: Molloy 2, Moloney 2, Layton, Davey, Brown
Western Bulldogs: Georgostathis, Fitzgerald
Collingwood: Davey, Bonnici, Molloy, Butler, Livingstone, Brown
Western Bulldogs: Lamb, Blackburn, Guest, Ferres, Lochland
Western Bulldogs: Rennie (lower leg)
Crowd: TBC at Victoria Park
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