Finals Week 1 Sunday 6 November

Victoria Park
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    Pies stay in finals hunt as Dogs' fightback falls short

    ELIZA James. Remember the name.

    The silky 19-year-old Pies forward was a class above in Collingwood's five-point elimination final win over the Western Bulldogs, booting three goals in the first half alone during just her 20th AFLW match.

    The Bulldogs – 17 points adrift at the final break – made a frantic comeback in the final seven minutes of the game, closing the margin to five points.

    Last two mins: Pies hold off Dogs to stay alive

    02:23 Nov 6. 2022. 5:15 PM

    Enjoy the thrilling final moments at Victoria Park as Collingwood hold on against a fast-finishing Western Bulldogs to secure a semi-final spot

    But to pinch the win was just a step too far, with Pies ruck Imogen Barnett taking a match-saving mark just seconds before the final siren to record the 5.10 (40) to 5.5 (35) win, while Jo Lin was crucial with a touch on the line minutes earlier.

    James only booted five goals last season, and another five up until Sunday, and became the first AFLW player to kick four in a final, while likely opponent Eleanor Brown (head knock/neck) sat watching on the sidelines.

    The Bulldogs are known for their fast footy, but Collingwood's defence was well up to the task for most of the match, with Ruby Schleicher spending much more time behind the ball than she has in recent weeks, working well with Stacey Livingstone and Lauren Brazzale.

    Gabby Newton ensured Bulldog fans had their hearts in their mouths, playing on in a congested goalsquare after a strong contested mark, but it gave the Dogs their first goal (and score) in the opening minutes of the second.

    AFLW S7 Highlights: Collingwood v Western Bulldogs

    05:54 Nov 6. 2022. 5:35 PM

    The Magpies and Bulldogs clash in the elimination finals of the 2022 NAB AFL Women's Competition

    The Dogs came out full of fire after the main break, and didn't look like they would get any reward for their strong contested work until two quick, late goals from Sarah Hartwig and Newton closed the gap to 17 at three-quarter time.

    That margin was closer than it should have been, with the Pies once again struggling for accuracy, with a number of running shots in the first three quarters pushed wide.

    MAGPIES v BULLDOGS Full match coverage and stats

    Katie Lynch was outstanding at full-back for the Dogs, keeping them in the hunt under enormous pressure, while Mikala Cann and Jaimee Lambert did the damage for the Pies in the middle, with Aishling Sheridan and Ellie Blackburn locked in an intriguing battle throughout.

    Deanna Berry's day finished before the final siren after an accidental clash of heads with Mikala Cann, as the Pie tackled the Dog, with coach Nathan Burke saying she had been troubled by a hamstring and illness earlier in the game.

    Collingwood coach Steve Symonds was unsure of the severity of injury issues with Sarah Rowe (knee), Schleicher (leg) and Tarni Brown, but said they were unlikely to be "really bad".

    EJ shakes it off
    It wasn't all smooth sailing for James, who opened her scoring rampage with a nervous, wide spray running into goal. She wasn't fazed, turning round just minutes later to salute with a sharp snap from deep in the pocket. The rest was history.

    James wows everyone with brilliant banana opener

    00:48 Nov 6. 2022. 3:23 PM

    Eliza James steadies with composure to kick a magnificent checkside

    One step back, two steps forward for the Dogs
    The Western Bulldogs will be disappointed they were unable to move any further into the finals, but the young team made good strides in season seven. Lynch, Alice Edmonds, Isabelle Pritchard and Issy Grant have made big strides, while Elle Bennetts, Sarah Hartwig and Elisabeth Georgostathis have locked down multiple positions. The next step is to beat one of the top seven sides, something they were unable to do in four attempts (including finals) this season.

    Classy Hartwig bites back the margin

    00:30 Nov 6. 2022. 4:31 PM

    Sarah Hartwig sticks a superb overhead mark and finishes with composure

    Say what?
    "Really happy we got through. Three quarters of the game we dominated, and the Dogs came back in the last quarter and put us under some pressure. The players were probably a little too defensive, instead of trying to take the game on a bit, we went back into our shell a little bit and tried to save the game, so some lessons learnt there. It's a funny game, the scoreboard dictates what goes on, and if we'd kicked 10.5, then we wouldn't be in that position." – Collingwood coach Steve Symonds 

    "We threw everything at it, and I had no doubt we would, because this side always does. I've never been involved with a side that has this much guts. Not once did they turn up their toes and say it was too hard and they weren't going to win, it's bloody hot out there, but they just kept pushing and pushing. That's what they do. If a few things had gone our way, a little bit of luck, then we earn a few more than what they did, then things could have been different." – Western Bulldogs coach Nathan Burke

    Up next
    It's the end of the road for the Western Bulldogs, while Collingwood has the tough task of taking on reigning premier Adelaide in South Australia in a semi-final, with details to be confirmed on Sunday night.

    COLLINGWOOD                1.6     3.7     5.9     5.10   (40)
    WESTERN BULLDOGS       0.0     1.4     3.4     5.5     (35)

    GOALS
    Collingwood: 
    James 4, Moloney
    Western Bulldogs: 
    Newton 2, Hartwig, Cranston, Lamb

    BEST
    Collingwood:
     Cann, James, Lambert, Schleicher, Livingstone
    Western Bulldogs: Lynch, Blackburn, Pritchard, Lamb, Edmonds

    INJURIES
    Collingwood:
    Rowe (knee), Schleicher (ankle)
    Western Bulldogs: Berry (head knock)

    Reports: Nil

    Crowd: 4,823 at Victoria Park

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