COLLINGWOOD refused to give Greater Western Sydney an inch on Sunday, grinding out a determined 32-point win at Victoria Park and keeping pace with its top-four opponents.
The Magpies needed to win on Sunday to hold their spot in the top four, and they delivered with a tough defensive performance that held the Giants goalless for three quarters, eventually winning 6.10 (46) to 2.2 (14).
The result allowed inaugural Collingwood captain Steph Chiocci to celebrate her 50th game in style, while also keeping the team level on six wins with powerhouse trio Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne.
After a wasteful opening three quarters that saw the Magpies kick 3.9, they put the foot down in the fourth term to boot another three and notch their biggest win this season.
MAGPIES v GIANTS Full match coverage and stats
The Giants' two goals came in the final quarter, with defender Jodie Hicks sneaking forward to hit the scoreboard and Brodee Mowbray adding another in the final minute.
Jaimee Lambert was the start in the midfield, finishing with 23 disposals (13 contested) and four inside 50s, giving the Magpies the advantage in the contest that they exploited all day.
Chloe Molloy was the player who repeatedly threatened to break the game open, missing opportunities but ultimately finishing with a team-high two goals from her 12 disposals and five inside 50s.
Alison Downie was a force in the ruck, giving the Magpies a 52-13 advantage in hit-outs, but they weren't able to turn that into a decisive clearance advantage.
Giants midfielder Alyce Parker was the major reason why, repeatedly sharking the Magpies' taps to rack up a game-high eight clearances from her 20 disposals.
The Giants looked at their most dangerous early when they were able to link up across the back line and then run the ball out with speed.
They fell down in the middle of the ground, however, and were only able to enter their forward 50 on four occasions in each of the first and second quarters, going scoreless in the opening half.
Collingwood's ability to be first to the ball – winning the contested possessions 64-42 in the first half – was crucial and gave them a massive territory advantage as they repeatedly supplied their forwards with opportunities.
A wasteful second quarter, however, saw them kick 1.5, with Molloy the only goalkicker in the first half after she scrapped the ball through three sets of legs to break the deadlock.
The Giants pushed numbers back into defence in the third quarter, turning the match into a slog, but it opened up somewhat in the final term as the Giants avoided a goalless outing.
AFLW trailblazer Steph Chiocci was celebrated for her contribution to the competition in her 50th game and her leadership of the Magpies, with the team thrilled when the ball fell her way in the fourth quarter. Chiocci was hanging around in dangerous spots late in the game, sensing an opportunity, and it came when she collected the ball on the goalline before spinning and converting on her right foot. The 33-year-old finished her milestone game with 13 disposals, four marks and a goal.
Parker's stoppage dominance
In the second half on Sunday, Giant Alyce Parker had eight clearances while the Magpies as a team had seven. It was an outstanding half from the GWS midfielder, who won 14 of her 20 disposals after the main break and all her eight clearances. The 22-year-old's dominance meant the Giants turned around the stoppage battle, which they were losing 13-10 at half time but ultimately won 30-20.
The Magpies have a seven-day break before hitting the road to take on an injury hit Fremantle at Fremantle Oval on Sunday. The Giants also have a seven-day break and return home to host Hawthorn at Henson Park.
COLLINGWOOD 0.2 1.7 3.9 6.10 (46)
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 0.0 0.0 0.1 2.2 (14)
Collingwood: Molloy 2, Brown, Cann, Chiocci, Rowe
Greater Western Sydney: Hicks, Mowbray
Collingwood: Lambert, Molloy, Downie, Allen, Cann, Sansonetti
Greater Western Sydney: Parker, Dallaway, Eva, Pease, Hicks
Greater Western Sydney: Nil