COLLINGWOOD has moved to second spot on the AFLW ladder after withstanding a Maddy Prespakis masterclass to defeat Essendon by 11 points at Olympic Park Oval.
Prespakis (31 disposals, 17 contested possessions, five clearances) was rarely out of the thick of the action on Friday but the Magpies had more contributors over four quarters to prevail 4.4 (28) to 2.5 (17).
Mikala Cann (20 disposals, seven clearances, nine tackles) worked tirelessly on the ball, Ash Brazill set a sizzling early tone and Chloe Molloy electrified with one of the goals of the season.
Ex-Magpie Sophie Alexander drew first blood for the Bombers before defender Lauren Butler levelled for Collingwood with a clean opportunistic snap.
The Bombers' ball movement was superior early but they were unable to adequately capitalise on their territorial dominance.
Collingwood opted for an ill-advised dry-weather method in the slippery conditions but they changed that up in the second term, out-tackling Essendon 18-7, after trailing that stat in the opening quarter 19-28, and getting on top at the clearances.
MAGPIES v BOMBERS Full match coverage and stats
Prespakis, uncharacteristically quiet last week against West Coast, was everywhere in the second period and her goal midway through the quarter gave the Bombers the lead.
The Magpies responded through a moment of sheer brilliance from Molloy.
She sharked a throw-in inside Collingwood's attacking 50, zigzagged her way past two would-be tacklers, sold some delicious candy and finished expertly on the outside of her magical boot.
The Magpies were seldom threatened from that point onwards, Essendon's prospects dimmed by defender Elise Gamble's calf injury.
Prespakis continued to prosper, despite Cann's attempts to fashion a tighter rein. The Bombers had more inside-50s but Collingwood, with Eliza James conjuring back-to-back goals either side of three-quarter time, were more efficient.
"[Molloy] sensed the moment, got on to the ball and just when everyone seems to panic, she just seems like she's got time and poise. Everyone fell off her at the right time, suddenly the game opens up for her and she takes her opportunity. That's what the good players do - they sense the moment and make things look easier than what everyone else can do." - Collingwood coach Steve Symonds
"It was a good battle. [Prespakis and Mikala Cann] are both such terrific young players. Both of them play with their heart and soul out there. Maddy does a great job for us in the midfield. I've just got to work out some ways to get her a bit more support in there. I feel like she's winning a lot of the football but we're not collecting enough numbers through the midfield to get (her) that support." - Essendon coach Natalie Wood
The Pies take on St Kilda at RSEA Park on Saturday, while the Bombers will head across the Nullarbor to take on Fremantle in Perth on Sunday.
COLLINGWOOD 1.0 2.2 3.3 4.4 (28)
ESSENDON 1.1 2.1 2.4 2.5 (17)
Collingwood: James 2, Butler, Molloy
Essendon: Alexander, Prespakis
Collingwood: Cann, Brazill, Butler, Molloy, Schleicher
Essendon: Prespakis, Cain, Phillips, Bannister
Essendon: Gamble (calf)