MIDFIELDER Brittany Bonnici has stepped up to the plate in the absence of Collingwood’s co-captains, turning in a dominant best-afield performance to haul the Magpies to a 27-point AFLW victory over St Kilda.
The Magpies are without Brianna Davey (ACL) for the season while Steph Chiocci (Achilles) was a late withdrawal but Collingwood still proved too good to win 6.5 (41) to 2.2 (14).
Bonnici racked up 26 disposals, 11 contested possessions, six clearances and 10 tackles to inspire the Magpies,as one of three stand-in co-captains alongside defenders Stacey Livingstone and Ruby Schleicher.
Gun midfielder Bonnici was well supported by Jaimee Lambert (25) disposals and Sarah Rowe (18), while Aisling Sheridan booted two goals and Sabrina Frederick proved a focal point up forward at Victoria Park.
While the Saints were kept goalless for the opening three quarters, Olivia Vesely (15 touches) was solid through the midfield while Cat Phillips and Bianca Jakobsson had 20 and 17 disposals respectively.
Both teams were affected by COVID-19 related absences.
St Kilda was without coach Nick Dal Santo, with Paddy Hill deputising.
Collingwood star forward Chloe Molloy and St Kilda’s Rhi Watt both missed out through the league’s health and safety protocols.
The Magpies seized full control of the game by the first break.
Bonnici alone racked up seven disposals, three clearances and three tackles to help drive Collingwood to a 21-point lead at quarter-time, while the Magpies kept St Kilda scoreless.
The Saints were far more competitive in the second term but only added a point to their tally.
Collingwood extended their lead when Sabrina Frederick failed to make the distance from relatively close range but Aisling Sheridan crumbed with aplomb to extend the lead to 28.
Sheridan struck again on the run in the third term to all but put the game beyond doubt.
Mikala Cann’s snap early in the fourth term, Collingwood’s sixth goal on the bounce, gave them a game-high 39-point lead.
The Saints finally drew blood when Molly McDonald thumped a powerful left-footed effort home midway through the final term.
In the final minute, Jakobsson found Kate Shierlaw, who on her return from COVID-19, grabbed a big mark and converted to keep the scoreline respectable.
Collingwood is now two wins from two and top of the ladder, while the Saints are still searching for their first victory after losing to Richmond first-up.
(C) AAP 2022