Star forward Chloe Molloy has steered Sydney to a 19-point victory over Collingwood, moving the Swans one step closer to their first finals appearance.
Sydney have taken a big step towards securing their maiden AFLW finals berth with a win over Collingwood
The victory puts the Swans in the top eight for the first time in their history
Earlier, Niamh Kelly produced a late match-winner for the Crows against North Melbourne
Withstanding a late-term surge from the Magpies, the hosts launched themselves into the top eight for the first time in their AFLW existence with a 9.4 (58) to 5.9 (39) victory at Henson Park on Sunday.
“I actually turned to the other coaches and said, ‘I think we’re on today’,” Swans coach Scott Gowans said after the match.
“I never felt like we lost more than about a five-minute block in the game, which is really a big step for us against a top eight side.
“It’s pretty special, isn’t it? To reflect back to where we were last year, today keeps us alive.”
Fresh off a career-best performance against the Western Bulldogs, Sydney co-captain Molloy (three goals, eight score involvements) put on another electric performance in her first match against her former side.
In-form Collingwood ruck Sabrina Frederick also enjoyed one of her finest performances, dominating with 39 hit-outs and two goals.
With the Pies eager to set the tone early, Frederick and Nell Morris-Dalton exploded from the gates to kick two majors in the opening three minutes.
The ever-prolific Rebecca Privitelli (two goals) dribbled one through to turn the tables for the Swans, kickstarting a chain of three unanswered goals.
It was Molloy’s turn to hit the scoreboard in the second term, but not without controversy.
The off-season recruit played on from a mark just outside the goal square, kicking the belly of the ball to seemingly launch it across the face.
Without a score review system in the women’s competition, Sydney were granted the crucial major to build an 18-point lead at halftime.
Collingwood surged back to life in the third quarter with goals from Grace Campbell and Frederick, but inaccuracy cost them the lead.
Backing up a major from the tightest of angles in the right pocket, Sofia Hurley (two goals) put boot to ball on the run to give the Swans a 12-point cushion heading to the final term.
Another Molloy goal sealed the win, sending the 5722-strong crowd into raptures.
KELLY THE HERO AS CROWS SNEAK HOME AGAINST NORTH
Niamh Kelly has kicked a clutch late goal to lift Adelaide to a thrilling three-point AFLW win over North Melbourne, locking in a top-two finish for the Crows.
The Crows rebounded from a loss last round as their never-quit work ethic and elite midfielders set up the 6.5 (41) to 5.8 (38) victory at Norwood Oval on Sunday.
With one round of the home and away season remaining, top-placed Melbourne and Adelaide are guaranteed to finish in the top two as they sit two games clear with 8-1 win-loss records.
It was a thrilling contest right from the opening bounce as momentum swung drastically between two teams destined for the finals series.
It took a running goal from Kelly with only 90 seconds left on the game clock for the Crows to hit the front for the first time.
North Melbourne had their chances with four misses early in the frantic final quarter when they controlled the play inside the forward-50.
Crows onballer Ebony Marinoff celebrated her AFLW record-equalling 75 games with another polished display and 30 possessions, backed by Anne Hatchard (32) and Kelly (22).
The third-placed Kangaroos (6-3) lost no admirers and they proved to everyone that they deserve to be in flag contention to nearly snatch an upset victory at such a hostile venue.
This battle showcased the elite midfielders with Jasmine Garner, leader in the AFLW Coaches award, contributing 27 possessions in her team’s heartbreaking loss.
With so much at stake, it wasn’t surprising to see the intense pressure, particularly on the ball-carrier.
North Melbourne dominated the early possessions and the forward pressure posed danger for the visitors in their front half.
Adelaide were fortunate to trail by only 12 points at quarter-time, given the Roos’ control of the ball. And when Kate Shierlaw goalled, North stretched the lead to 18 points early in the second term.
Source: AFL NEWS ABC