There’s only a handful of football players who can take the competition by storm, seizing momentum and winning games single-handedly for their team.
Collingwood’s Chloe Molloy proved once again on Friday night she is one of these unique players, booting two goals in her return game to lead the Pies to an 11-point win over a defiant Geelong outfit.
With the likes of Brianna Davey and Ash Brazill out of Collingwood’s side, they needed a superstar alongside the ever-reliable Brittany Bonnici to fire the black and white army to a third consecutive victory to start their AFLW 2022 season.
Previously Molloy had been used as both a lively rebounding defender and then a lynchpin inside forward 50, but Friday night’s display proved Molloy can also be an impactful midfielder.
The Collingwood number two had 11 disposals to go with her two goals, which both came in vital moments of the see-sawing contest.
Molloy first hit the board in a tight third quarter, swooping on a loose Bonnici dribble to collect and snap a major over her head that gave the Pies some breathing space in the contest.
She then made her presence felt again in the final minutes of the last term, taking a crucial intercept mark just outside 50, before an undisciplined Geelong unit gave away another 50-metre penalty to give Molloy an easy second goal.
Collingwood coach Steve Symonds was rapt to have his superstar utility back, and flagged that we may be seeing more of midfielder Molloy in the coming weeks.
“Molloy came back and kicked a couple of goals, but also went into the midfield to give us a bit of extra drive,” he said.
“We have a bit of variety in there now, which is something to work with without Bri [Davey] in there.”
But that didn’t mean Symonds was particularly content – his Pies may have gotten their way to a third straight win that makes them one of the teams to beat this season, but their wayward form against a pressure-filled Geelong gives Collingwood plenty to work on in the coming weeks.
“The biggest takeaway is Geelong are a really good pressure team, their pressure tonight was outstanding,” Symonds said.
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“We struggled with it at times, we just weren’t clean, we used the handball a bit under pressure and transferred it, we overused the ball. We were able to work our way through it but there are some areas we need to work on with that.”
Although Molloy was crucial to the result, the consistent midfield efforts from Bonnici and Jaimee Lambert didn’t go unnoticed. Symonds also gave mention to Eliza James’ spark inside forward 50, while Aishling Sheridan’s goal sense makes Collingwood’s forward line a vaunted prospect for opposition defences.
Geelong coach Dan Lowther was left frustrated by an impressive performance that ultimately didn’t result in the four points they are yearning for at the Cattery.
“We chatted about how we are on an exponential growth, but we just need to get a win,” he said.
“We’re happy with improvement but when it doesn’t lead to wins it can be frustrating. We have pride but we know what we’re playing for.”
Despite the impressive efforts of defensive stalwart Maddy McMahon, who Lowther remarked could start “passing her baton of tricks over to the next generation” this season, the Geelong coach believed Collingwood’s class under pressure was the key in their close victory.
“They took their moment when it counted and we didn’t take ours,” Lowther said.
“We just don’t take our moments as consistently as other teams do, it can come down to composure and decision making, but we’ll get better. “
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