SYDNEY has given its finals hopes a huge boost after running away to a 19-point triumph over Collingwood as Chloe Molloy returned to haunt her former side at Henson Park.
The Swans have crucially climbed over the Magpies and into the top eight with one round to play following their 9.4 (58) to 5.9 (39) victory on Sunday.
Molloy rose to the occasion with a stunning display against her former teammates and popped up to boot her third goal and the sealer with two minutes remaining in the contest.
Young gun Sofia Hurley was just as pivotal with two goals in the final term as the Swans built on a two-point advantage at the last change to clinch the win.
The loss snapped a four-match winning streak for the Magpies and the visitors will also be sweating on the fitness of Ruby Schleicher after the gun defender had to be helped from the field in the final term.
Collingwood was well-aware of the damage that Molloy can do near goal but nonetheless received a firm reminder when the former Magpie was first to pounce on a bouncing ball and boot the goal that put the Swans in front for the first time.
Molloy was spared her blushes minutes later when a long bomb fell into her arms in the goalsquare, as the 24-year-old sent a barrel skyward that barely crossed the goalline from two metres out.
The Swans co-captain was busy all over the ground, and even spent some time in the ruck against the towering Sabrina Frederick, while gathering 18 disposals along with three majors.
Rebecca Privitelli was also lively in the Swans forward half and booted two goals including a smart set shot from deep in the forward pocket when using the stiff breeze to her advantage in the second term.
Brenna Tarrant was immense in defence, while Laura Gardiner, Lucy McEvoy and Hurley were superb in the Swans midfield.
SWANS v MAGPIES Full match coverage and stats
The Magpies surged while kicking with the wind in the third term but failed to make the most of their dominance when booting 2.4 to no score while having 12 inside 50s to the Swans’ four.
Frederick again impressed in the ruck for the Pies with 12 disposals, 39 hit-outs and a season-high two goals.
Pies captain Brianna Davey battled hard and was part of an intriguing battle with the Swans’ Tanya Kennedy, while Mikala Cann and Brittany Bonnici also stepped up in trying conditions.
But the Pies now have to hope other results go their way in the final round of the season if they are to secure a fifth consecutive finals series campaign.
The loss also takes Collingwood out of the McClelland Trophy race, with Melbourne now a game clear on the leaderboard with one round left in the AFLW home-and-away season.
Newman key to coast-to-coast cracker
Aliesha Newman was only included in the side when Montana Beruldsen was a late withdrawal but made an immediate impact with a key role in a stirring team goal that sparked Sydney. It wasn’t the silkiest of plays as the Swans moved the ball from defence to attack, but Newman maintained the momentum when gathering what was a rushed kicked forward in the centre square. Chloe Molloy was soon caught running inside 50 but crucially had Newman suddenly nearby after running 100m to pick up the crumbs and slot a smart snap on goal.
Magpies struck down by second-half blues
Collingwood have rarely had the better of second halves this season and even when overrunning Brisbane in round six arguably had to rely on some wayward kicking for goal to clinch the four points. The Magpies had an opportunity to brush aside that ongoing concern when surging with a strong breeze behind their back in the third term. But the Pies could only manage 2.4 from 12 inside 50s to get within two points of the Swans at the last change that ultimately proved to be too much with the wind then against them.
Collingwood hosts Richmond at Victoria Park on Sunday, while Sydney travel to Fremantle for the last match of the AFLW home and away season later the same day.
SYDNEY 3.1 6.3 6.3 9.4 (58)
COLLINGWOOD 3.2 3.3 5.7 5.9 (39)
Sydney: Molloy 3, Privitelli 2, Hurley 2, Ham, Newman
Collingwood: Frederick 2, Campbell, Morris, Morris-Dalton
Sydney: Gardiner, McEvoy, Molloy, Privitelli, Tarrant, Hurley
Collingwood: Frederick, Davey, Cann, Sheridan, Bonnici, Schleicher
Collingwood: Schleicher (knee)
Sydney: Montana Beruldsen replaced in selected side by Aliesha Newman
Crowd: 5,722 at Henson Park