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Collingwood have lost star defender Ruby Schleicher to a serious knee injury in their 19-point loss to Sydney, a result that also knocked them out of the eight with one round to play and cost them a $1 million prize.
A limping Schleicher, who played her first game of 2023 just last round after being sidelined with an ankle injury, was helped from the ground in the dying stages of the game. She finished the day on crutches, the Pies confirming the injury was serious but that more would be known after the defender had scans.
Ruby Schleicher of the Magpies is consoled by team mates after coming off injured after the round nine AFLW match between Sydney Swans and Collingwood Magpies at Henson Park, on October 29, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. Credit: Getty
A crucial cog in their backline, Schleicher’s loss will be huge blow for Collingwood, who now have a must-win clash with Richmond next Sunday (and a wait to see that other results go their way) if they are to make finals.
The Magpies, who entered the weekend knocking on the door of the top-four after four straight wins, have now fallen to 10th spot.
The loss hands the McClelland Trophy to Melbourne, where the $1 million prize will be shared between the club and its men’s and women’s players.
Swans head coach Scott Gowans celebrates the victory with co-captain Chloe Molloy.Credit: Getty
It was a much better day out for the Swans, who just in their second season have snuck into the eight with one game to go, against 13th-placed Fremantle over in Perth. While they had passages of important teamwork, there was no denying the influence of their co-captain Chloe Molloy in her first game against her old side. Molloy finished with three goals and 18 touches.
Collingwood started hot with two goals within the first three minutes, thanks to Sabrina Frederick and Nell Morris-Dalton, but Sydney fired back and took an 18-point lead into the main change. The Pies closed the gap to just two points by three-quarter-time, but the Swans took back control while kicking with the breeze in the final term.
Young Swan Sofia Hurley had two crucial goals in the last quarter, while Laura Gardiner had a game-high 30 touches, 10 tackles and 10 clearances. In the ruck, it was Collingwood’s Frederick that dominated with 39 hitouts.
The icing on the cake for the Swans was getting the win in front of their largest home crowd – 5722 – for their home Pride game. They have the highest home crowd attendances for any side this year.
Dees secure $1m prize, cement top-of-ladder status
Melbourne cemented their spot at the top of the ladder and secured the McClelland Trophy in the process with a 33-point victory over Fremantle on Saturday afternoon.
This was helped by the Brisbane Lions losing to St Kilda later in the day, as the Lions were also in the race for the $1 million club prize, along with Collingwood, who bowed out after their loss to Sydney on Sunday.
Melbourne’s Casey Sherriff reacts against the Dockers.Credit: AFL Photos
The Pies were one game and nearly 18 percentage points behind the Dees, so needed to thump the Swans to snatch it off the Dees. Instead, they lost.
The trophy goes to the best-performed club across both the men’s and women’s competitions with the cash bounty to be shared between the club and its players.
The Demons’ 8.13 (61) to 4.4 (28) victory also means the Dockers are now out of finals contention. Fremantle led by one-point at quarter-time, but Melbourne quickly took back control despite some wayward kicking in blustering conditions.
Skipper Kate Hore and Eden Zanker kicked two goals apiece but also had as many or more behinds. Their midfield dominated, as Paxy Paxman had a game-high 27 disposals, Eliza West had 20 touches and 10 tackles, and Eliza McNamara 25 touches and five clearances.
For the Dockers, Megan Kauffman kicked three of her side’s four goals, while Kiara Bowers had a whopping 13 tackles.
Melbourne next play the Lions to close out the home-and-away season in what was going to be a million-dollar match up, before the Lions lost to St Kilda 8.7 (55) to 5.4 (34), putting their top-four spot in doubt.
Drought-buster: Bulldogs finally find a win
The Western Bulldogs have stormed home to claim their first AFLW win of the season, an eight-point victory over West Coast.
Boosted by the return of premier ruck Alice Edmonds, the Bulldogs tasted success for the first time in almost 400 days with a dominating 6.8 (44) to 5.6 (36) performance over the Eagles.
Bulldogs captain Ellie Blackburn was inspiring across the park, lifting her side with a game-high 32 disposals, seven score involvements and 665 metres gained – more than triple that of her teammates.
Special feeling: Western Bulldogs players mark the moment.Credit: AFL Photos / Getty Images
Returning from a finger injury, Edmonds was typically prolific in the ruck, kicking one goal and collecting 27 hitouts to the Eagles’ collective 18.
The Eagles had their own workhorse captain, with Emma Swanson leading from the front with 28 disposals and eight contested possessions, supported by young talent Ella Roberts (27 disposals, six clearances).
Sarah Hartwig opened the account for the Bulldogs, capping an impressive run and carry chain sourced from an intercept by Blackburn in their defensive 50.
Determined to secure a win under caretaker coach Rohan McHugh, the Eagles found a response in a snap goal from Isabella Lewis but it would not take long for Baily Hunt to give the Bulldogs the lead at quarter time.
McHugh took the helm earlier in the week after third-year coach Michael Prior quit his post following the Eagles’ surprise win against the Bombers.
The Western Bulldogs enjoyed a game-high 26-point lead before Kate Bartlett and Kellie Gibson (two goals) sparked a late-term surge for the Eagles ahead of third-quarter time.
Heidi Woodley, Isabelle Pritchard and Kirsty Lamb were among the Bulldogs’ six goalkickers.
Eagles defender Charlotte Thomas switched post to move up forward in the final term, slotting her first goal to keep the visitors just eight points away.
Isabella Grant and Gabrielle Newton withstood the swelling Eagles attack in the dying minutes, recording a combined 21 intercept possessions including nine intercept marks, to bring the Bulldogs across the line.
The Western Bulldogs (1-8) finish their horror season with a clash against the formidable North Melbourne, while West Coast (2-7) face a similar uphill battle when they take on competition heavyweights Adelaide.
Saints stay in hunt for finals
St Kilda shocked the Lions with their 21-point victory over the top-four placed side to stay in the hunt for finals.
Saint Jesse Wardlaw kicked two goals in her first match against her old side, where she was the league leading goalkicker last season. However, it was former Collingwood star Jaimee Lambert who starred for the Saints with 20 touches and eight tackles.
St Kilda’s Jesse Wardlaw (centre) starred against her old side.Credit: Getty Images
Lambert helped keep the ball away from the Lions’ forward arc as the Lions were held to just one goal at half-time. A late burst saw them attempt to claw back the margin, but the Saints were able to counter.
The Lions were missing influential winger Sophie Conway, who was a late withdrawal and replaced by Analea McKee. Their midfield struggled without her, despite a mammoth effort from league best-and-fairest winner Ally Anderson (19 touches, nine tackles).
Bombers blitz Blues, knock them out of finals contention
Essendon regrouped from their shock loss to West Coast last weekend with a 32–point demolition of Carlton at Windy Hill on Saturday afternoon to have the Bombers pushing for a top-four spot.
The 8.8. (56) to 3.6 (24) win knocked the Blues out of finals contention.
If Essendon win their next game against Gold Coast in Mackay and the Lions lose to Melbourne next weekend, the Bombers could sneak into the top four and claim the double chance for finals in just their second season.
Essendon, spurred by their co-captain Bonnie Toogood (two goals, 20 disposals, six tackles), kept Carlton scoreless at half-time. The Bombers had five individual goalkickers, including Sophie Alexander with three goals in her 50th game and newcomer Kodi Jacques with her first in the sash.
Bomber best-and-fairest winner Maddy Prespakis starred against her old side, with a game-high 28 disposals and seven clearances. The Blues, however, couldn’t get their game going despite Prespakis’ counterpart Abbie McKay’s best efforts with 25 touches, eight tackles and five clearances.
Essendon’s Sophie Alexander celebrates during the win over the Blues.Credit: AFL Photos
It was the Blues’ third loss in a row after a strong start under new coach Mathew Buck, who replaced Daniel Harford in the off-season following a review of the women’s program.
The Blues next play St Kilda at Ikon Park.
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