04/03/2024

Despite seeing their 2022 season end in the qualifying finals, Collingwood still bought plenty of excitement for fans this year. (Image: Collingwood AFLW Twitter).

Collingwood will be aiming for greater things next season, after a turbulent AFLW campaign was capped off by a disappointing loss in the qualifying finals.

The Collingwood Magpies entered the 2022 season with an assortment of fresh faces to the side, as the club said farewell to eight players – including Emma Grant who announced her retirement from the game following ongoing concussion concerns.

Injury blows in the form of Joanna Lin who was sidelined during pre-season, as well as All-Australian Brianna Davey out for the majority of the season following a knee injury, caused concern for the side at the beginning of the season.

But a dominant performance throughout the year, ending with a 6th placed ranking on the ladder saw Collingwood sent straight to a enthralling battle up against an in-form Brisbane Lions pack. However, the side were unable to get the win in the qualifying final and ultimately had their 2022 premiership campaign end on a sour note.

The Collingwood Magpies fought on during 2022 but missed out after falling short of a win against Brisbane. (Image: Collingwood AFLW Twitter).

Finishing position: 6th (six wins, four losses).

What worked?

A high number of disposals seemed to have worked well in favour of the Pies, as they ranked 5th in the competition this year with an average of 222.4 (2446). They came just behind the Adelaide Crows who beat them out for fourth place with 231.5 on average (2778).

Jamiee Lambert was key for Collingwood in this department as she was best in her side with an average of 20.3 disposals across the entire 2022 season. Brittany Bonnici comes in second with the average of 19 disposals, with Ruby Schlelcher rounding off third place with 18.

Whilst Lambert produced the greatest total of disposals in 2022, Allison Downie topped the list for disposal efficiency, as the 37-year-old averaged 77.8 in this category. Following Downie was Jordyn Allen (74.6 percent) and then Aishling Sheridan (72 percentage).

What didn’t

Like other teams in the competition, the Collingwood Magpies endured a multitude of issues. Among them were the injuries that caused impacts to the side’s squad. Alongside Lin and Davey’s stints on the sideline, other noticeable names such as Tarni Brown, Imogen Barnett, Steph Chiocci and Erica Fowler also saw time out from the game as a result of injury.

Along with enduring injury concerns during the season, COVID-19 continued to run rampant during the season causing frustrations for clubs across the tournament – for Collingwood, it was no different. A handful of players were out as part of the AFL’s health and safety protocols, which only caused a slight headache for the Pies.

Another consequence of COVID-19 was the rescheduling of games which saw Collingwood among the teams impacted.

Their qualifying final against the Brisbane Lions was ultimately postponed due to COVID, as the side fell short of the minimum 16 AFLW players plus five top-ups required to field a side. It didn’t help that the club faced injuries and suspensions during this time too.

Who impressed?

Jaimee Lambert and Britt Bonnici were perhaps the major standouts for Collingwood this season, with both players’ performances in 2022 getting plenty of attention.

Lambert and Bonnici tallied 12 votes each during the W Awards this year, a feat not surprising with both Collingwood superstars both having consistent performances in 2022.

Lambert made an appearance in 11 games in 2022 and had significant influence in Collingwood’s midfield. The two-time club Best and Fairest winner continued her brilliance in the competition as she overall had a season encompassed with averages of 20.3 disposals, 11.9 kicks, 8.4 handballs, 6.0 tackles and 4.3 clearances.

She really made a splash in round 10 against Richmond, where she put on a show during her season best performance with a whopping 31 disposals made across the four quarters.

Young gun Bonnici was the other star that shone for Collingwood.

Although she played eight games in 2022, it was clear that she was also had a significant impact for her side. The 24-year-old had averages of 19.0 disposals, 13.9 kicks, 5.1 handballs and 5.5 tackles within the eight games she made appearances in.

Highs and lows

Highs

Whilst the side saw many high points in their 2022 season campaign, it would be hard to go past Collingwood’s final home and away game. Taking down a struggling Richmond side by 38 points, the win was only more sweetened as it meant that they would see themselves to a qualifying final against the Lions.

Jamie Lambert was in impressive form during the game with 31 disposals. Mikala Cann, Aishling Sheridan, Lauren Butler and Ruby Schleicher also excited with top performances on ground.

Young-gun Cann showed off with a stellar 22 disposals, 13 handballs, nine kicks and five tackles.

Sheridan was unstoppable in her performance (14 disposals and seven handballs) as to were Butler (14 disposals, nine kicks, five handballs and four marks) and Schleicher (25 disposals, 13 kicks, 12 handballs and five marks).

Lows

At what was the worst timing for a Collingwood side aiming to make the big day of a grand final, Sophie Casey missed out on playing in the qualifying final after the tribunal handed her down a one-match ban.

Casey was given the penalty of a one-match ban following a bump on Richmond’s Tayla Stahl, which ended up being graded careless conduct, medium impact and high contact according to Channel 7.

The medium defender, who played 10 games this season, was not the only Pie to face the tribunal.

Sarah Rowe found herself with a one-match ban suspension after she was found to be engaging in rough conduct against Brisbane Lion’s Jade Ellenger during the qualifying final. Despite the club challenging the charge, Rowe’s suspension was upheld and will see her miss one game of the next AFLW season.

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Who’s on the move?

At the time of writing this, there has been currently no player movements confirmed by Collingwood as of yet. Though with the introduction of the four new teams Port Adelaide, Essendon, Hawthorn and Sydney, it is likely that the side will see player movements announced shortly.

What’s next?

The Collingwood Magpies will have to start off the next season without star player Rowe following her one-match ban from the tribunal. It won’t be the start that the Magpie’s will be looking for as the 26-year-old was influential for the club this season, with Rowe clocking up 16.8 disposals in the season alone.

However, despite Collingwood missing out on grand final action in 2022, they showed signs that they can be a future premiership winning side down the line. Should the development for their young guns continue, as well as a continuation of stellar performances from the more mature players, there’s no doubt that Pies fans can expect big things from this club come next season.

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