Brilliant Bonnici sets Vic Park alight

Bonnici AFLW Collingwood
Photo: Collingwood AFLW

It was the Brit Bonnici show on Saturday afternoon, with the Pies co-captain putting on a clinic through the midfield all day.

Proving the perfect partner to Bri Davey’s bruising play style last season, reliance was heaped on Bonnici’s shoulders after scans confirmed the reigning League best and fairest would miss the remainder of the 2022 season with a knee injury.

Before the bounce, they also lost skipper Steph Chiocci to go with Davey, so the pressure was on the Pies’ engine room to compensate for the loss of their stars.

Against St Kilda, the Collingwood on-ball brigade silenced any critics.

The Pies recorded 13 clearances to nine in the opening half, getting their hands on the ball first and recording 45 contested possessions to the Saints’ 36. Furthermore, they laid more tackles over the opening two quarters.

The Collingwood midfielders weren’t just giving their forwards first use by winning the territory battle, they were matching the Saints’ pressure around the ball despite controlling possession for longer.

It resulted in a 17 per cent discrepancy in disposal efficiency (70 per cent to St Kilda’s 53 per cent), with the Pies kicking seven goals to their opponents’ zero.

Bonnici set the tone for the home side, and in front of a vocal Magpie army put on a dazzling display of midfield craft.

The diminutive star recorded 15 disposals to go with four marks, nine tackles and five clearances in the first half, then continued where she left off with another seven touches in the third term.

Her tenacity in the contest was matched by her power running on the outside, continually linking the 50 metre arcs with speed and precise ball use. 

She was seemingly everywhere, breezing past her Saints opponents as she saw the play unfolding in front of her. She finished off the game with 26 disposals and 10 tackles.

It is sure to be another three-vote performance from Bonnici as she continues her ascent to superstar of the AFLW.

Pies coach Stephen Symonds praised the work of Bonnici in the midfield, as well as veteran Jaimee Lambert.

“Brit’s reliable. She’s taking her game to another level week in, week out,” he said post-game.

“She’s a really good competitor – Jaimee Lambert’s another really good competitor in there. The two of them really get their hands on the ball and give us great drive.”

Despite injuries affecting Collingwood’s season early, the group that has grown together over the past few years is entering its prime, and at 2-0 the Pies have set themselves up to contend for the 2022 flag. 

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About Jasper Chellappah 242 Articles
Jasper writes on Aussie Rules, basketball, tennis and netball for The Inner Sanctum. His main area is player analysis, with a keen focus on the AFL Draft. He also lends his voice to The Checkside and the SuperCoach Sanctum PODcast each week.

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