COLLINGWOOD has broken its winless start to the NAB AFL Women's season with an impressive 34-point win in oppressive conditions against Melbourne in Alice Springs on Saturday night.
With the temperature hitting 37 degrees at TIO Traeger Park, in the first AFLW match held there, the Magpies dominated much of the contest against one of the competition's premiership fancies, winning 9.4 (58) to 3.6 (24).
Mo Hope (two goals from five shots) continued her return to form with a lively effort up forward, sparking the Pies’ comeback after the Demons booted the game’s first two goals.
Collingwood coach Wayne Siekman said he had seen signs in previous matches that a victory was coming.
"It's always a relief when you get your first win, but more importantly, we got reward for effort for our playing group," Siekman said.
"We've had really good patches throughout the season where we've actually dominated the three sides that we've played previously but haven't been able to sustain that for a full game.
"Tonight, we were able to see that, and see a four-quarter performance."
Melbourne has spent the past week on the road, having arrived in the Northern Territory last Wednesday after last week's loss to Fremantle in Western Australia.
Aside from the first quarter, when the Demons controlled much of the play, they never looked like seriously challenging.
Magpie forward Christina Bernardi was involved in much of her side's scoring efforts, particularly in the second term, working well in attack with Hope.
Melbourne star Daisy Pearce copped plenty of close attention from Brittany Bonnici and was restricted to nine disposals.
Fellow Magpie midfielders Jaimee Lambert and captain Stephanie Chiocci combined for 36 disposals, while Elise O'Dea and Karen Paxman stood up for the Demons.
Melbourne coach Mick Stinear said the loss was because of a lack of effort.
"I think it was just work rate, our ability to work from contest to contest. Collingwood got the better of us in that department around the ground," Stinear said.
It was over when…
Melbourne was pressing early in the last term and trailed by 17 points, so a comeback was on the cards if it could have strung together a couple of quick goals. Instead, Chiocci effectively ended the contest, spinning past a would-be tackler and booting a great goal from 40m.
Bernardi was outstanding for Collingwood. She was essential to the Magpies’ comeback in the second term, slotting a goal and setting up a couple for Hope. Her creativity in attack was crucial to the Pies posting their first victory of the year.
Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater…
The Demons have lost two straight but the fixture has not helped them. After a trip to Fremantle last week, they were in the Northern Territory on Saturday and will appreciate the chance to return home ahead of their upcoming clash against Brisbane.
What a turnaround
After some promising signs in her recall last week, the first five minutes from Hope were poor. She was twice caught holding the ball and accidentally hit teammate Lambert high. Impressively though, the maligned forward turned it around, booting 2.3 and being a major threat in attack.
"If we can put out performances like that and maintain that intent and that work rate, then anything's possible. This competition is so even, as we've seen, and if you don’t turn up and you don't play at your best, you're going to be suspect to winning a game of footy."
– Collingwood coach Wayne Siekman
"To their credit, they worked harder than us tonight. They deserve the outcome they've got. It was certainly disappointing, because it's not a true reflection of what our group's capable of."
– Melbourne coach Mick Stinear
Collingwood can post consecutive wins when it takes on the Western Bulldogs at 2.35pm EDT next Sunday at Ted Summerton Reserve in Moe, while Melbourne hosts the Lions at Casey Fields on Friday at 7.05pm EDT.
MELBOURNE 2.2 2.2 3.4 3.6 (24)
COLLINGWOOD 0.0 3.2 6.4 9.4 (58)
Melbourne: Hore, Mifsud, O'Dea
Collingwood: Hope 2, Edwards 2, Bernardi, Barden, Chiocci, Hutchins, Kuys
Melbourne: Paxman, Downie, O'Dea, Cunningham, Jakobsson
Collingwood: Bernardi, Lambert, Chiocci, Bonnici, Hope, King
Melbourne: Smith (concussion), Cranston (hand)
Umpires: Galbraith, Crosby, Broadbent
Official (or estimated) crowd: 2000 approx. at TIO Traeger Park