Collingwood delivered another statement of its premiership intent on Saturday afternoon, overcoming a week of adversity to routinely sweep aside a struggling St Kilda at Victoria Park.
With a handful of key contributors sidelined – including both of its co-captains – to injury and the AFL's health and safety protocols, the Magpies called upon their strength in depth to overwhelm the Saints from the outset and cruise to a 27-point victory.
Despite the absentees, reliable duo Britt Bonnici (26 disposals, 10 tackles) and Jaimee Lambert (25 touches) remained as busy as ever in Collingwood’s depleted midfield and set the tone for the comfortable 6.5 (41) to 2.2 (14) win.
St Kilda, led bravely by Olivia Vesely (15 disposals, four marks) and Catherine Phillips (20 touches), withstood the onslaught for large periods. But the winless Saints ultimately left themselves with too much to do following a disappointing start.
The immense size of the challenge facing St Kilda was quickly laid bare, as the Saints were held without a single inside 50 to quarter-time. Given its dominance, Collingwood barely needed assistance. But it got some anyway when a 50m penalty and a careless free kick put Ebony O’Dea and Eloise Chaston to the goal line within five minutes.
It helped the Pies build a commanding 21-point lead at the first change, an advantage that continued to grow as the game wore on. Even when St Kilda managed to stem the bleeding in the second term, Collingwood capped a late counter through Aishling Sheridan to secure the quarter’s only major.
Sheridan continued to prove a handful after half-time, adding her second to extend Collingwood’s buffer beyond five goals, but it came amid arguably St Kilda’s strongest patch of the afternoon. Unfortunately for the visitors, though, a reward on the scoreboard wasn’t forthcoming.
It made for an anti-climactic conclusion, as the Magpies eased to a 2-0 record without being troubled. Molly McDonald and Kate Shierlaw converted late to ensure the Saints didn’t go goalless, but by that stage it mattered little to the outcome.
Did you see that?
Eagle-eyed Pies supporters might have noticed a trend when a 50m penalty for encroachment put Ebony O’Dea to the goal line for the game’s first major on Saturday. Just a week after Collingwood was the beneficiary of three goals from 50m penalties against Carlton, O’Dea’s major made it four in seven from 50m penalties for the season at the time. But, as the saying goes, you make your own luck – and a dominant opening term certainly meant that was the case for Collingwood at Victoria Park.
Work in progress
That should be the title of St Kilda’s book, if one was being written on its 2022 season. Yes, the Saints made it hard for themselves on Saturday – falling 21 points down at quarter-time and trailing by 39 points midway through the final quarter. But the manner of their fightback would have pleased coach Nick Dal Santo, who missed the game due to the AFL’s health and safety protocols. A young St Kilda side only lost the final three quarters by six points and had just one fewer scoring shot after the first change. Despite what the scoreboard said, it wasn’t all one-way traffic.
The first blow
The blows all came before the game for Collingwood. Having already lost co-captain Bri Davey to a devastating ACL injury in its season-opener, fellow skipper Steph Chiocci was also ruled out 90 minutes before the bounce with an Achilles problem. Star forward Chloe Molloy missed, having entered the AFL’s health and safety protocols during the week, while Tarni Brown was sidelined through concussion. It would have made the manner of Saturday’s victory incredibly satisfying for Pies coach Steve Symonds.
Collingwood is set to head down the highway, where it is due to face Geelong at GMHBA Stadium next Friday night. St Kilda will also be on the road, travelling to Casey Fields to face an in-form Melbourne next Saturday afternoon.
COLLINGWOOD 3.3 4.4 5.5 6.5 (41)
ST KILDA 0.0 0.1 0.2 2.2 (14)
Collingwood: Sheridan 2, O’Dea, Chaston, Newman, Cann
St Kilda: McDonald, Shierlaw
Collingwood: Bonnici, Lambert, Butler, Cann, Rowe, Allen, Sheridan
St Kilda: Vesely, Phillips, Priest, Lucas-Rodd, Dillon
Collingwood: Chiocci (Achilles) replaced in selected side by Barnett, Fowler (concussion)
St Kilda: Nil