ST KILDA has won an absolute thriller against Collingwood, kicking five final-quarter goals to claim a 12-point victory on Sunday afternoon.
The sides, who played in a nailbiter last season where the Pies won thanks to a desperate Eliza James goal, proved their genuine rivalry in this year's edition. St Kilda snatched its first win of the season, 7.5 (47) to Collingwood's 5.5 (35) in front of a vocal home crowd at RSEA Park.
SAINTS v MAGPIES Full match coverage and stats
Underrated Saint Liv Vesely (19 disposals, seven tackles) did the job at the contest, while former Pie Jaimee Lambert (18 disposals, one goal) was outstanding against her old side.
After failing to score until midway through the second term, a late press from St Kilda put the typically composed Collingwood defence under serious pressure. Commonly calm players like Jordy Allen and Stacey Livingstone found themselves fumbling the footy and gave the home side all the momentum.
As the Saints have done in patches this season, they brought the pressure right from the start, earning repeated holding the ball free kicks as Collingwood learned it had less space and less time than it thought. Unsurprisingly it was Tyanna Smith (10 tackles) leading the way in the pressure stakes, with support from Hannah Priest (eight tackles) and Nicola Xenos (six tackles) as the game wore on.
With both sides largely breaking even at the contest, resulting in a clearance count of 29-26 the Saints' way, it was a game for outside runners to really have an impact. Brit Bonnici's spread from stoppages saw her register 22 disposals, five clearances and 10 tackles, while Georgia Patrikios did the same for the Saints from the wing, with 15 disposals and an important last-quarter goal.
The Pies managed to maintain territory control for much of the second and third quarters as St Kilda struggled to rebound out of defence, looking up after winning an intercept to see nothing but a wall of Magpies. But the Saints stuck fat, creating the exact same problem for Collingwood in the final term.
Sabrina Frederick was immense in the thick of it for the Pies, winning 30 hitouts and five clearances across the afternoon. But it was the way she stood up in the contest at each end of the ground that really made her presence felt, taking a strong intercept mark to save a sure Saints goal in the opening minutes, before taking another in attack soon after to open the Pies' goalkicking.
Casey in hot water?
Veteran Collingwood defender Sophie Casey has an anxious wait for the Match Review after a crude hit on Saints midfielder Liv Vesely. Deep in St Kilda's forward pocket late in the third term Casey, who is no stranger to MRO citations, awkwardly hit Vesely in the throat, felling the Saint. While no free kick was paid on the day, it will surely earn a look in the match review process.
Old friend, new foe
While high profile former-Pies Steph Chiocci and Jaimee Lambert have headlined conversations coming into this match-up, it was in fact the player who went the other way in that trade who did most of the damage. Tarni White, coming up against her old side in St Kilda, kicked two huge goals for Collingwood just as it was begging for someone to give it some reward on the scoreboard. Her first goals for the Pies, her teammates got right around her as she celebrated accordingly.
St Kilda will head to another AFLW heartland in Whitten Oval to face the Dogs in the first game at the ground in a year, while Collingwood hosts Essendon at Punt Road on AFL Grand Final morning, now relocated from the AIA Centre.
ST KILDA 0.0 1.2 2.3 7.5 (47)
COLLINGWOOD 3.2 3.3 5.5 5.5 (35)
St Kilda: Lambert, Exon, Patrikios, Xenos, Friend, McDonald, Guttridge
Collingwood: Frederick, Smith, White, Morris
St Kilda: Vesely, Lambert, Smith, Plane, Chiocci
Collingwood: Bonnici, Frederick, White, Cann, Davey
St Kilda: Nil
Crowd: 3,230 at RSEA Park