COLLINGWOOD has strengthened its NAB AFL Women's premiership credentials, shooting to the top of the table with a scorching 35-point win over a wasteful Melbourne on Sunday.
Star forward Chloe Molloy was unstoppable with three goals as the Pies extended their winning streak to a club-record five straight victories in the 7.7 (49) to 1.8 (14) result at Victoria Park.
The Demons weren't without their chances but were left to rue a third term where they kicked 1.4 and blundered several other opportunities.
It left the Demons with a combined 2.20 scoreline from their past two matches, back-to-back losses relegating them to outside the top six for the first time this season.
Molloy was the difference in the first half, kicking a goal from a set shot and later a brilliant checkside on the run to have the better of her match-up with the tight-checking Libby Birch.
The Demons then dominated the play in the third quarter but were wayward in front of goal, with Sinead Goldrick, Maddi Gay, Kate Hore and Alyssa Bannan missing regulation efforts before Lauren Pearce broke their deadlock at the 15-minute mark.
The Pies made the visitors pay in the final term and booted three more majors including two off the boot of co-captain Bri Davey (25 disposals) who was again one of her side's best.
Molloy finished the game on the bench after a crunching hit to her shoulder in the dying stages but is expected to be right to face the Western Bulldogs next week.
However, Pies forward Jordan Membrey will have further assessment on a knee injury that ended her day midway through the third quarter.
The win leaves the Pies as the only unbeaten team in the competition after the inaugural round five NAB AFLW Indigenous Round.
Molloy's three majors propelled her to equal-top of the goalkicking table with nine for the season, alongside Crow Erin Phillips and Dog Isabel Huntington. As Melbourne coach Mick Stinear stated, Molloy (eight disposals) wasn't flushed with opportunities but took every one, leaving Birch with little chance to have an impact on the contest.
Best midfield in the competition?
It wouldn't shock if all three of the Pies' starting midfielders made the All-Australian side this year, such has been their dominance. Davey, Britt Bonnici (23 disposals) and Jaimee Lambert (21) were again on-song and were well supported by Sharni Norder (11 disposals, 12 hitouts). Coach Steve Symonds was also quick to praise the efforts of co-captain Steph Chiocci on a wing and the depth others including Tarni Brown and Ebony O'Dea.
Coach Mick Stinear conceded last week's inaccuracy played its part in the Demons' efforts on Sunday. His side finished with 2.12 – including four straight behinds in the final term – in the loss to the Western Bulldogs and started with six consecutive behinds against the Pies. "It shouldn't (impact) but I reckon there would've been a little bit when you get to 0.3 or 0.4 and then it's the (thought of) 'not again' with the little monkey on your shoulder," Stinear said post-match.
"Last year when we played them they opened us up out the back a couple of times so we focussed on that so it didn't occur as much and we think defensively we did a good job which help set-up our game." - Collingwood coach Steve Symonds
"We do need to make some changes, whether that's personnel coming into the team or whether that's shifting our forwards around do we can get some better outcomes. I certainly don't want to be sitting here next week having the same conversation with you about scoring, that's not a great reflection on our coaching." - Melbourne coach Mick Stinear
The Pies return to Victoria Park to host the Western Bulldogs next Sunday at 2.40pm AEDT in what shapes as one of the matches of the season. The Demons have a six-day break before hosting St Kilda at Casey Fields on Saturday at 7.10pm AEDT.
COLLINGWOOD 1.1 4.3 4.4 7.7 (49)
MELBOURNE 0.1 0.2 1.6 1.8 (14)
Collingwood: Molloy 3, Davey 2, Sheridan, Cann
Collingwood: Molloy, Davey, Bonnici, Livingstone, Lambert, Schleicher
Melbourne: Hanks, Paxman, Scott, L.Pearce, Hore, Mithen
Collingwood: Membrey (knee)
Crowd: 2931 at Victoria Park