The Collingwood Magpies have put a serious dent in Brisbane’s chances of making the Grand Final, coasting to a 14-point win over the Lions away from home to keep them from regaining second place on the ladder, and also doing a number on their percentage.
After losing last weekend, this was a must-win game for Brisbane with Adelaide winning on Friday night, and the remaining contenders below them on the ladder in Melbourne and GWS still to play this round.
But the Magpies came out the more determined team, keen to play fast football despite the ground being wet underfoot, blowing away their opponents from the get-go.
Christina Bernardi was spectacular up forward, kicking three goals and setting up another, and Moana Hope continued her excellent form with three goals of her own.
It took some excellent defensive cameos over the four quarters for the Pies to earn the result, however, with Jasmine Garner, Jess Duffin and Chloe Molloy in particular having standout performances.
The large score kicked against Brisbane is particularly telling, as the Lions at least had their percentage to fall back on if they didn’t pick up the win this round.
It could’ve been much worse had it not been for the Lions kicking three late goals, which keeps them in third spot at least for now.
Despite it raining on and off all day before the first bounce, the pace was up early on, and one team took full control of it.
The Magpies were off to a barn-storming start, first with Caitlyn Edwards picking up and dishing off to Christina Bernardi with a free run to goal, then Moana Hope controlled the ball to ground and snapped another goal in a tackle.
Edwards, who almost had a second goal assist had Jasmine Garner not hit the post, was able to double her efforts by passing to Bernardi again with the same result.
Before you could bat an eyelid, the Magpies had a 20-point lead.
It took a great overhead mark from Sabrina Frederick-Traub to stop the rot, but a 50 metre penalty up the other end would bring Hope right to the goal square to negate the Lions’ first goal.
Brisbane continued to press, however, with Nat Exon finding herself at the fall of the ball to snap home under pressure.
The Lions could’ve had another shortly after, but Tara Morgan displayed some remarkable one-on-one defensive work, waiting for Isabella Ayre to make a decision before committing to the smother.
After that huge turning point, it was almost symbolic that the rain would start smashing down, making the Lions’ job ahead more difficult as they faced a 14-point deficit after one quarter.
On debut, Ashleigh Brazill was a strong presence across half-back for the Magpies, leaving us to think what might’ve been had she not succumbed to an injury just prior to the season’s beginning.
As the heavy rain fell, the scoring dried up in the second quarter.
It wasn’t for a lack of effort from the Lions, however, with the Magpies forced to do plenty of defending.
But the likes of Jess Duffin, Chloe Molloy, Morgan and Garner – the latter who started forward and kicked three behinds in the first term – all stood up under pressure.
Garner and Molly in particular stood up, Garner for her clean marking in the wet weather and Molloy for two out-of-this-world handballs over the top to herself.
Sophie Conway almost created something special by darting in and out of pressure before giving the ball to Ayre, whose shot was only just off target.
With only two behinds to show for their efforts in the second quarter, the Lions trailed the Magpies by two straight kicks at half-time.
Emily Bates worked her backside off to lift her team in the second term, but the defensive organisation of Collingwood was too much to overcome.
As happens so often in the AFLW, the team that was unable to impact the scoreboard was made to pay in the following term.
The Magpies again found a free player running forward, as Bernardi was able to handball over the top to Garner for a simple tap-in.
Brisbane had opportunities to reduce the margin, but wayward kicking didn’t help, nor did Meg Hutchins slotting an unbelievable set shot from the boundary line to further extend the margin with one quarter to play.
23 points down in belting rain, there was no genuine opportunity for the Lions to come back, and it was made impossible when Bernardi kicked her third.
Again, it came from the goal square as Mo Hope won her one-on-one, handballed over to Bonnici who was given the opportunity to find Bernardi straight in front.
Not to be outdone, Hope let loose from just inside 50 and let the footy slide through for her third also.
The one positive for the Lions were the three consolation goals, one each to Jessica Wuetschner, Kate Lutkins and Kaitlyn Ashmore, which stopped the Lions from dropping below Melbourne at least in the short-term.
But the loss still leaves Brisbane’s premiership aspirations in tatters, with a win next weekend against a determined GWS still not enough to guarantee a spot in the Grand Final.
It is also the first time the Lions have lost two games in a row in the AFLW, the last team in the competition to suffer that feat.
More importantly, the Lions dropped from 121.9% prior to the match to 107 after it, but at one stage in the fourth quarter they were as low as 96% so as mentioned, it could’ve been much worse.
We know that Collingwood’s season is over, but we are left with thinking what might’ve been after yet another excellent performance, as was the case in 2017.
Brisbane: 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 5.9 (39)
Collingwood: 4.4, 4.4, 6.5, 8.5 (53)
Brisbane: Sabrina Frederick-Traub, Nat Exon, Jessica Wuetschner, Kate Lutkins, Kaitlyn Ashmore
Collingwood: Christina Bernardi 3, Moana Hope 3, Jasmine Garner, Meg Hutchins
Brisbane: Emily Bates (20), Jamie Stanton (18), Ally Anderson (18), Kate Lutkins (18)
Collingwood: Jess Duffin (18), Jasmine Garner (18), Chloe Molloy (18)
Are you a fan of Girls Play Footy?
Girls Play Footy is an independent media outlet operated by volunteers. If you’d like to help us cover the costs of doing what we do, we hope you’ll consider supporting us on Patreon! Becoming a GPF patron gives you access to additional content and some great rewards.
To pledge to support Girls Play Footy on Patreon, follow this link!