It's not often after winning a flag the coach will leave the club for another opportunity, but that was the exact scenario Collingwood found itself in after the 2019 VFLW Premiership triumph.

Penny Cula-Reid, who was also a part of the Magpies' inaugural AFLW team, led the club to its first ever VFLW premiership and then left to take up an opportunity with Williamstown a few months later.

That left the door open for Chloe McMillan to take on the VFLW head coach role at Collingwood, a club she too had been a part of since the AFLW's inception.

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"Penny did such a good job setting the foundation and the culture of the team," McMillan said.

"I've come in with some really mature players and good people within the group."

Collingwood Assistant coach Brett Alexander and Molie Emond

While taking over a premiership team may seem like a daunting task, McMillan appears to have taken it in her stride, instead focusing on what's next for her side.

"I think what’s happened in the past has happened. Every year is a new year and it’s always going be a challenge to get back to that spot, so there wasn't really any extra pressure or expectation from my end."

McMillan joined the Pies under the tutelage of then AFLW coach Wayne Siekman in 2017 and every year has taken on more responsibility and developed her craft. 

Taking on a head coaching role was something she never expected to happen so soon, but says she was "super stoked" when the club sat down and offered her the role.

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"Every day in the beginning I was pinching myself, getting to learn from some experienced coaches and being in the environment," she said.

"As the years progressed I began to feel more comfortable, now I'm sort of forging my own way and feeling like I belong and making a contribution as well."

If taking over a premiership side wasn't hard enough, the pandemic cut short McMillan's first season in charge.

"When the season got cancelled we were getting into practice matches and had a full pre-season done, to get the season called off and not train or see anyone for three to four months was really hard.

"The group we've got now, we've stayed together pretty well and did a lot of the things to keep the group together. It wasn't ideal but we're making the most of every session and game now because we don't know what could happen."

The Pies have adapted and thrived after the interruption to their preparation, sitting on top of the VFLW ladder undefeated after six rounds. McMillan is bullish about how her side will attack the second half of the season, declaring they haven't hit their peak.

"I don't want this to come across as arrogant, but we aren't playing anywhere near as well as we can," McMillan said of her team.

"We've played well against some good teams, now it's about building on what we've got, not being complacent. It's about keeping the group together, keeping it simple and playing the way we want to play."