AFLW Insight: The stat that's defining the Magpies' rise

COLLINGWOOD'S AFLW side has never been in this position before.

Over the last three seasons, the side has had to wait till at least round four before winning a match, and didn't break through in 2019 until the final match. 

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But coming into a round three clash with competition pace-setters Fremantle, Collingwood is sitting pretty, undefeated after two games and having knocked off a much more fancied rival in Carlton

AFLW Match Highlights: Carlton v Collingwood

05:48 Feb 16. 2020. 5:32 PM

The Blues and Magpies clash in Round 2 of the AFLW

The Magpies have new coach Steve Symonds in charge, but the squad hasn't undergone too many changes. 

Sunday's team featured just three players who weren't on the club's list last year – small-mid defenders Alana Porter and Ebony O'Dea, and runner Aishling Sheridan – as well as the returning Chloe Molloy, who missed 2019 with a foot injury. 

Sarah D'Arcy, Chloe Molloy, Ebony O'Dea and Erica Fowler celebrate Collingwood's big win over Carlton

Big-name recruit Brianna Davey only played in round one, missing her reunion with the Blues due to a shin injury. 

The improvement and influence of several young Pies has been stark. 

NO SECOND-YEAR BLUES FOR THESE PIES

 

Avg. Disposals

Av. Marks

 

2019

2020

2019

2020

Jordyn Allen

8.7

10.5

3.1

4.0

Lauren Butler

3.0

12.0

0.3

4.0

Mikala Cann

4.5

14.5

0.5

3.5

Jordan Membrey*

4.0

9.5

2.3

3.0

*Membrey played a season at Brisbane back in 2017, but this is her second season at the Pies  

Allen has been a real focal point at half-forward, while Butler's confidence has been evident, taking on more responsibility in defence. 

Collingwood is also playing in a noticeably different manner. Players are simply getting their hands on the ball more often and linking up with longer disposal chains.

Average

2019

2020

Disposals

169.6

221.0

Kicks

121.4

122.5

Handballs

48.1

98.5

Marks

38.1

46.5

Contested possessions

87.0

107.0

Uncontested possessions

77.0

120.5

Goals

3.1

5.5

 

The handball statistic is particularly eyebrow-raising, with the team averaging 40 more handballs a match in 2020 compared to 2019.

It means the Pies have been able to get the ball out into open space, clear of opponents, which then makes hitting options close to goal easier. 

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Short kicks are also in vogue, and in both matches the Magpies have controlled play well down the ground. 

Getting the ball inside 50 wasn't an issue last year, but the ball would usually bounce straight back out again. 

Pies straight out of the oven and onto the scoreboard

00:50 Feb 16. 2020. 3:35 PM

Jordyn Allen finishes off some fantastic work from the Collingwood midfield and scores the first goal of the game

Clear direction from Stacey Livingstone and Ash Brazill in defence has seen a well-structured Collingwood trap the ball in attack much more effectively in 2020, leading to higher scores. 

It is only two rounds in, but in an eight-round season, Collingwood appears to be on the right path to qualifying for its first AFLW finals series.

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