Pies coach earns two-year extension on eve of finals

COLLINGWOOD has re-signed AFLW senior coach Steve Symonds for another two seasons.

Symonds joined the club from SANFLW club Norwood in June 2019 in place of inaugural coach Wayne Siekman, and first took the reins for the 2020 AFLW season.

The rebuilding Pies lost a heartbreaking semi-final to North Melbourne last year, the first under his watch, and are set for a qualifying final this weekend also against the Roos.

Symonds currently has an 11-5 win-loss record, with the Magpies piling on seven wins already this year.

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"Steve has played a crucial role in advancing the women’s football program and developing our players," Collingwood CEO Mark Anderson said.

"The program’s results speak for themselves. He came to us with a strong record and reputation for development – something like 48 players coached by Steve are in the AFLW system – and with Collingwood he has shown why.

"The two finals campaigns are one thing, but his impact is has been greater than results themselves. Steve has established an environment with a strong work ethic where talent is nurtured.

"We are confident that the program will continue to develop under Steve’s leadership."

Symonds said he was pleased with the new deal, but all eyes are on this weekend's qualifying final against North Melbourne.

The Pies comfortably accounted for the Roos the last time they played, winning by 20 and holding their opponents to just eight behinds.

There will be a series of mouthwatering match-ups in the midfield, with Brianna Davey, Britt Bonnici and Jaimee Lambert set to take on Jasmine Garner, Emma Kearney, Ash Riddell and Jenna Bruton.

Steph Chiocci and Katelyn Ashmore will battle on the wing, while Emma King and Sharni Norder will face off in the ruck.

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"Our midfield group is super and they're all in really good form, with great chemistry in there as well," Symonds said.

"I guess people will look at it and say whoever wins that midfield battle will win the game. Whoever does gets territory, and both teams play a strong territory game.

"Once the ball's in the front half, they tend to protect it quite well, so the midfield's going to be quite important."

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