The two grand finalists to emerge from the most even rebel VFLW season in the competition’s history have two very different stories to tell.
Will Collingwood join Darebin as a two-time VFLW premier, with the Magpies already boasting a scarcely believable winning percentage of 76 per cent across its history?
Or will it the competition's sixth premiership cup be the first one to slide into a trophy cabinet at ETU Stadium alongside the record 17 VFA/VFL titles won by the famous blue and red vertical stripes in just their third year of VFLW football?
We can’t wait to find out!
COLLINGWOOD vs PORT MELBOURNE
Sunday July 30, 12:10pm, ETU Stadium
Head-to-head: Collingwood 4-1. At ETU Stadium: Collingwood 2-1. Streak: Collingwood 1
Qualifying Final at Victoria Park
COLLINGWOOD 2.2, 5.4, 5.4, 7.6 (48)
PORT MELBOURNE 0.0, 1.0, 3.3, 3.4 (22)
Collingwood: J. Bates, G. Ricardo, E. Jackson, N. Dojiok, T. Hurst, C. van der Vlies
Port Melbourne: E. Harley, L. Caruso, K. O’Keefe, I. Hartog, L. Wright, E. Morrison
Collingwood: M. DeMatteo 2, J. Bates, N. Dojiok, G. Ricardo, C. Sargent, C. van der Vlies
Port Melbourne: A. Campbell, F. Frew, B. Wilson
Collingwood: J. Bates 28, J. Tweddle-O’Donnell 16, E. Jackson, E. Nikolitsis 15, N. Dojiok 13
Port Melbourne: E. Harley 15, L. Caruso, K. O’Keefe 14, O. Barton, I. Hartog 13
Round 2 at ETU Stadium
PORT MELBOURNE 2.0, 4.2, 6.2, 9.3 (57)
COLLINGWOOD 0.2, 0.3, 1.8. 2.8 (20)
Port Melbourne: E. Morrison, L. Davie, K. Adams, C. Dyett, S. Reid, I. Stutt
Collingwood: J. Bates, C. Bunker, M. Zander, N. Dojiok, J. Tweddle O'Donnell, E. Jackson
Port Melbourne: F. Frew, A. Peck, B. Stutt, L. Wright 2, J. Williams
Collingwood: M. DeMatteo, N. Dojiok
Port Melbourne: E. Morrison 22, C. Dyett 17, L. Davie, K. O’Keefe 13, K. Adams, O. Barton, A. Campbell 12
Collingwood: J. Bates 31, C. Bunker 19, I. Evans, M. Zander 16, C. van der Vlies 14
SEASON 2023 - COLLINGWOOD
SF2: 3.4 22 def Essendon 2.6 18 (Victoria Park)
QF: 7.6 48 def Port Melbourne 3.4 22 (Victoria Park)
R14: 8.8 56 def North Melbourne 3.5 23 (Arden Street Oval)
R13: 5.13 43 def Geelong 0.3 3 (AIA Centre)
R12: 4.2 26 lost to Carlton 5.4 34 (AIA Centre)
R11: 11.6 72 def Darebin 2.1 13 (Genis Steel Oval)
R10: 3.6 24 lost to Western Bulldogs 6.4 40 (ETU Stadium)
R9: 1.7 13 lost to Southern Saints 2.6 18 (Victoria Park)
R8: 7.7 49 def North Melbourne 6.3 39 (AIA Centre)
R7: 4.6 30 def Geelong 4.3 27 (Deakin University)
R6: 8.11 59 def Darebin 5.3 33 (Victoria Park)
R5: 2.3 15 lost to Essendon 4.7 31 (Victoria Park)
R4: 7.3 45 def Box Hill Hawks 3.3 21 (Box Hill City Oval)
R3: 6.6 42 def Casey Demons 3.7 25 (Casey Fields)
R2: 2.8 20 lost to Port Melbourne 9.3 57 (ETU Stadium)
R1: 3.10 28 def Williamstown 2.1 13 (Victoria Park)
SEASON 2023 - PORT MELBOURNE
PF: 6.5 41 def Essendon 1.5 11 (ETU Stadium)
1SF: 5.7 37 def Carlton 5.6 36 (ETU Stadium)
QF: 3.4 22 lost to Collingwood 7.6 48 (Victoria Park)
R14: 4.2 26 lost to Casey Demons 5.6 36 (Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval)
R13: 3.4 22 def Essendon 3.1 19 (ETU Stadium)
R12: 8.10 58 def Darebin 2.5 17 (La Trobe University)
R11: 5.6 36 def Western Bulldogs 5.2 32 (ETU Stadium)
R10: 5.2 32 def Geelong 3.7 25 (Deakin University)
R9: 5.2 32 lost to Williamstown 5.6 36 (ETU Stadium)
R8: 3.4 22 lost to Southern Saints 3.7 25 (Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval)
R7: 0.4 4 lost to North Melbourne 0.6 6 (ETU Stadium)
R6: 3.5 23 def Carlton 0.8 8 (ETU Stadium)
R5: 9.2 56 def Box Hill Hawks 4.6 30 (ETU Stadium)
R4: 5.6 36 def Western Bulldogs 4.9 33 (ETU Stadium)
R3: 3.8 26 def Williamstown 3.2 20 (DSV Stadium)
R2: 9.3 57 def Collingwood 2.8 20 (ETU Stadium)
R1: 2.8 20 lost to Carlton 6.8 44 (Ikon Park)
The powerhouse versus the newcomers. The Magpies are seeking their second rebel VFLW premiership after thrashing Western Bulldogs in the 2019 decider and having the Grand Final abandoned in 2021 due to COVID lockdowns when they would have started strong favourites against Geelong. The Borough is the VFA/VFL’s most successful club with 17 premierships and it has taken just three years to find themselves in the big dance - a remarkable achievement given they finished 10th last year with only three wins and had not won a final until a fortnight ago.
Collingwood boasts a remarkable VFLW record of 61-19-1 and would feel unfulfilled if it can’t claim a second flag to reflect that dominance, while Port has recovered after its debut season was boosted by Richmond AFLW players, with this season’s run coming largely without that assistance.
The two matches this season suggest the result could go either way. The Borough smacked the Magpies on this ground under lights in Round 2 and Collingwood returned the favour in the qualifying final three weeks ago.
Collingwood has arguably the best player in the competition in Jess Bates, two dangerous goal kickers in Monique De Matteo and Nyakoat Dojiok, who came second and third on the goal kicking table, an inspirational skipper in tackling machine Caitlin Bunker and a star ruck in Sarah King.
Port Melbourne’s team will feature last year’s two leading goal kickers in Fed Frew and Jessie Williams, prolific midfielder Lauren Caruso, aerial specialists Maggie McKellar and Kaitlyn O’Keefe and the second-highest hitout exponent in Kate Dudley.
If the Borough can start well and heap the pressure on early, this premiership is winnable, but the experience the Magpies have all over the field ensures they will start favourites.