It will go down as one of the worst misses in AFLW history and it cost St Kilda a certain win as the Pies snatched a heart stopping two-point win at RSEA Park.
With just two-minutes left and the Saints up by four points Nicola Stevens had the entire 50m arc to herself as she ran into an open goal.
But somehow, in a miss that had to be seen to be believed, the 29-year-old sprayed her shot to miss the easiest of goals from the goal line to give Collingwood time to snatch it.
Trading Day begins 5pm EST on Fox Footy, Monday October 3 – daily news and analysis of the AFL trade period. Stream it live or on-demand on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
A quick transition and stoppage inside 50 presented Chloe Molloy the chance to repeat her heroics from last week and snap the winner, but it narrowly missed and the opportunity looked lost.
But the Pies locked the ball forward and with just 60-seconds on the clock Eliza James snapped an amazing goal that bounced through to give Collingwood the unlikeliest win on her 19th birthday.
Joanna Lin had just one touch last week against Essendon.
In just one quarter at Moorabbin the 20-year-old speedster had collected a game-high six disposals, kicked a poacher’s goal, and laid three tackles.
It helped set the tone for the Pies in what was a fierce opening stanza.
It wasn’t just
In the absence of star winger Steph Chiocci, Lin’s ability to work forward and back was vital in filling the absent boots of the Pies’ skipper.
Just minutes after kicking her goal, roving it off a pack in the goal square before quickly throwing the ball on her boot and snapping it through, Lin was cleaning up on the last line of Collingwood’s defence.
Lin finished with 11 disposals and a game-high nine tackles.
Hannah Stuart had put her best game in St Kilda colours together by halftime.
The 28-year-old in her debut AFLW season had already equalled her career-high in disposals and kicked two of the Saints’ three goals, including a goal of the week contender from the pocket.
From a stoppage in forward 50, Stuart received a handball from Rosie Dillon while running towards the boundary and it seemed the only option was to centre the ball.
But remarkably Stuart took just one step and threw it on her boot, snapping across her body to bend it through and send the crowd into raptures.
Stuart’s 234m gained in the first half was testament to her class with ball in hand, using nine of her 13 touches effectively.
What made Stuart’s first half all the more extraordinary was the fact she only played 57 per cent game time.
She finished the game with 25 touches, two goals, five tackles and four clearances.
Coming into the game 20 of St Kilda’s 27 goals for the season had come from just three players – Kate Shierlaw, Jess Matin and Caitlin Greiser.
The narrow avenue to goal needed to change if the Saints had any chance of toppling the high-flying Magpies.
By halftime the Saints had three goals on the board against a Collingwood defence that was conceding an average of just two per game, and none of them had come from the Saints’ big three.
The beauty for St Kilda was when it mattered most in the last quarter it was Shierlaw and Matin who stood tallest to add goals to those kicked by Stuart and Stevens.
SAINTS 2.0 3.2 3.2 5.4 34
PIES 2.4 2.7 3.8 4.12 36
MOTTERSHEAD’S BEST Saints: Stuart, McDonald, Dillon, Patrikios, Shierlaw, Priest. Pies: Cann, Lambert, Schleicher, Brazill, Butler, Allen.
GOALS Saints: Stuart 2, Stevens, Matin, Shierlaw. Pies: Lin, Brazill, Rowe, James.
INJURIES Saints: nil. Pies: nil.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
JAMES MOTTERSHEAD’S VOTES
3 H Stuart (STK)
2 M Cann (COLL)
1 J Lambert (COLL)
CATS SURVIVE THRILLER AGAINST BULLDOGS
When Julia Crockett-Grills kicked the Cats’ third goal in a row early in the final quarter, they looked home and hosed with a comfortable 19-point lead.
By that stage of the game, the Bulldogs only had two goals to their credit and had been largely outplayed in the middle two quarters.
But shortly after, Rylie Wilcox gave the Bulldogs a sniff with a converted set shot and eight minutes later Kirsty Lamb showed incredible courage as she won the free kick after being crunched in between two Cats at centre-half forward.
She then passed it to Kelly Coyne whose set shot from 40m out was a shocker, as she slipped as she kicked it, but it worked out well in the end, because Deanna Berry was there to take the mark 20m out from goal, before getting the Dogs within seven points.
The Bulldogs kept coming, and put the Cats’ backline under enormous pressure as they more than doubled them for inside-50s in the final term (10-4), but Geelong did enough to put the brakes on the Dogs, and a goal from Elle Bennetts on the siren wasn’t enough for them to avoid an agonising one-point loss.
But the Bulldogs will be left to rue other opportunities in the final term which could’ve scored them a come-from-behind win. At the eight-minute mark, ruck Celine Moody dropped a fairly easy mark at top of goalsquare, and six minutes later, Coyne’s set shot form 25m out went out of bounds on the full.
GEELONG THEIR OWN WORST ENEMY
The reason why the Bulldogs were still in the game in the final quarter was because of Geelong’s wastefulness.
The Cats could’ve almost put the game to bed late in the second quarter, but they kicked four behinds in five minutes, and had to settle for a seven-point halftime lead instead of what could have been a matchwinning advantage.
And in the third quarter, Chloe Scheer’s set shot from directly in front went out of bounds on the full, while Mia Skinner hit the post from a gettable set shot and Amy McDonald’s running attempt from 25m out failed to score.
The Bulldogs actually did all of the early attacking with nine of the first 10 inside 50s in the opening term. Geelong struggled to exit their defensive zone as the Dogs effectively set up the wall on their 50m line.
The Bulldogs’ pressure was fierce and the Cats’ backline under siege, but for all of the hosts’ dominance, they could only manage one goal.
Geelong responded by upping their intensity, gaining the ascendancy in the contested situations and controlled the game in the middle two quarters.
But just prior to her missed set shot, with the game still in the balance and the Cats only up by seven points, Skinner chose the perfect time to produce a goal of the season contender.
After receiving the handball from ruck Olivia Fuller tight on the boundary line, Skinner took a few steps and instinctively had a flying shot on goal from the 35m out on a severe angle.
Despite being under pressure from Bulldogs captain Ellie Blackburn, and on the wrong side for a right-footer, Skinner threaded the eye of the needle magnificently, sparking exuberant celebrations.
SCOTT DENIED BIG BAG
Shelley Scott looked so dangerous up forward for the Cats, and finished with two goals, but it could so easily have been four.
Her snap shot from traffic in the first quarter was outstanding, as was her roving attempt early in the third quarter.
But late in the second term, the 34-year-old’s running shot on goal looked as though it was going to bounce through, before Bulldogs defender Millie Brown got a touch on the goal line, and then shortly after Scott burst through the traffic with strength, but her snap shot from close range hit the post.
BULLDOGS 1.3, 1.4, 2.5, 5.6 (36)
CATS 1.1, 2.5, 4.6, 5.7 (37)
Bulldogs: Blackburn, Fitzgerald, Pritchard, Berry, Edmonds, Lynch.
Cats: Scott, Morrison, A.McDonald, Webster, Scheer, Emonson.
Bulldogs: Newton, Blackburn, Wilcox, Berry, Bennetts.
Cats: Scott 2, Scheer, Skinner, Crockett-Grills.
Sarah Hartwig (neck spasm) replaced in the Western Bulldogs’ selected side by Bailey Hunt; Kate Darby (illness) replaced in Geelong’s selected side by Melissa Bragg.
Pearson, Clamp, McIntee
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
3 Ellie Blackburn (WB)
2 Shelley Scott (Geel)
1 Nina Morrison (Geel)
Giants respond from biggest defeat in history to beat Blues
Greater Western Sydney could have been forgiven for heading into this game with their tails between their legs and their confidence shot.
After all, they suffered the heaviest defeat in AFLW history last week when they copped a 16-goal hammering from reigning premiers Adelaide.
But to their credit, they started the match with a fantastic attitude and great energy, so much so that you wouldn’t have known they had just copped a frightful smashing six days earlier.
It took the Giants less than two minutes to better their final score of 0.1 (1) from last week when Emily Pease nailed a super set shot from 48m out on the boundary line.
And 10 minutes later they shaded their Round 4 score of 1.3 (9) when Pease bobbed up again to split the big sticks from 15m out.
Tone set early for Blues
The signs were ominous early for Carlton when star defender Vaomua Laloifi had the wind taken out of her after veteran GWS forward Cora Staunton cannoned into her in the first five minutes.
It took Laloifi a while to pick herself up from the deck before being helped from the ground by trainers with what looked like a potential rib injury.
And things went from bad to worse for the Blues 12 minutes later when Lily Goss also left the ground clutching her right shoulder after appearing to suffer a dislocation.
Goss would take no further part in the game, but fortunately for Carlton, Laloifi returned to the field and did an outstanding job on the dangerous Staunton.
Laloifi held her ground in most one-on-one contests against the strongly-built Staunton, but also read the play beautifully and intercepted numerous GWS forays. She finished with 16 disposals (13 contested), in a sign of how much time the ball spent in Carlton’s back half.
Down the other end of the ground, Carlton’s star forward Darcy Vescio was kept quiet by the Giants’ Annalyse Lister.
It was Vescio’s first game back from a broken finger, but she had no influence on the contest.
Blues squander dominance
Thanks to rucks Breann Moody and Jess Good, Carlton dominated the hit-outs (40-5) and the clearances (27-17), with Abbie McKay (seven clearances), Jess Dal Pos (five) and Mimi Hill (four) the major beneficiaries at the stoppages.
Those numbers should’ve translated into a fairly competitive score for the Blues, but unfortunately for them, the Giants’ brilliant pressure negated all of that, forcing the visitors into numerous turnovers and mistakes throughout the day.
That played into the hosts’ hands and despite getting comprehensively outpointed at the stoppages, they countered that by dominating the inside-50 battle 38-27.
Alyce Parker is arguably the Giants’ most important midfielder, and when she fires, so does her team. Given she finished the game with 18 disposals (12 contested) and five clearances, it came as no surprise that GWS finished 17 points to the good on the final siren.
Parker worked hard all day, and her vision, composure and awareness in general play were crucial to the result.
Carlton radar out of whack
Just as they did in the second quarter, Carlton did all the early attacking again in the third, but again, they couldn’t find a goal, with a trio of shots all missing the target.
The worst of them by far was Keeley Skepper’s attempt as her set shot from 30m out directly in front not only missed everything, but finished out of bounds 20m around from the behind post.
She would’ve been lucky to score if there was a second set of goal and behind posts.
A minute later Hill’s set shot from directly in front hit the post, and shortly after, Gabriella Pound, playing her 50th game, also missed a gettable shot from close range.
Before that flurry of shots at goal took place, Carlton only trailed by 13 points, and the complexion of the game could’ve been very different in the second half had they nailed at least one of those chances.
By the time Staunton drilled her second goal midway through the final term, Carlton’s fate was sealed.
GIANTS 2.2, 3.4, 3.4, 4.5 (29)
BLUES 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 1.6 (12)
LERNER’S BEST Giants: Pease, Parker, Garnett, Brazendale, Lister, Staunton. Blues: Laloifi, McKay, Hill, Moody, Good, Peterson.
GOALS Giants: Pease 2, Staunton 2. Blues: Pound.
LATE CHANGE Brid Stack (calf) replaced in Greater Western Sydney’s selected side by Emily Goodsir.
INJURIES Giants: Nil. Blues: Goss (shoulder).
UMPIRES Nippress, Mitchell, Birch
VENUE Henson Park
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
3 Vaomua Laloifi (Carl)
2 Emily Pease (GWS)
1 Alyce Parker (GWS)
– With NCA Newswire