In the aftermath of a brutal win over the North Melbourne-Tasmania Kangaroos, Chloe Molloy is on top of the world. After kicking two goals (two more than the opposition could muster on the night) to help cement the Pies’ spot towards the top, nobody could accuse Chloe Molloy of being a Debbie Downer when it comes to her high-flying Collingwood Magpies.

“I think before the season started, everyone was throwing up North Melbourne in the mix to be the team to beat...I don’t think Collingwood was ever up there as one of the teams to beat.

“We came out and really put it to ‘em! It’s definitely a statement to the league, because North Melbourne are such a premiership contender.

“It just goes to show that even if you’re a contender, Collingwood aren’t a team to mess with!”

You can easily forgive the exuberance from the 22-year-old All-Australian and former Rising Star winner; since arriving at Victoria Park at the tail end of the AFLW’s first year she has faced uncompetitive shellackings, season-destroying injuries, coaching upheavals and personal positional uncertainty in the side. Healthy, undefeated and reasonably settled as a forward in 2021, everything looks to be on the up and up for Molloy.

“I enjoy playing in this team, it’s good footy, it’s clean footy and that’s something that we didn’t have a few years ago. Credit to Wayne Siekman: the list was built, we just needed to get the right style of play for the players that we have and I think we’re heading in the right direction.”

Siekman was moved on from the head coaching position at the end of the 2019 season after the Pies recorded their worst ever result of one win from seven games. His replacement Stephen Symons had an immediate impact last year, leading the side to four wins and a maiden finals berth

“Thinking about it, it’s kind of two different Collingwood’s a very different style of game that we have now.

“The quality of skills; we’ve got more finesse in our kicks, more of a short game, a handball game...that’s something that you probably didn’t see in the 2017-2018 Collingwood side. It was always coming, the quality of matches was always going to get better, that was inevitable...and it’s doing its job, beating quality sides like North Melbourne.”

Molloy has also been doing her job, predominantly as a forward of late, where she has kicked six goals from her four starts to be within striking distance of the league’s best. While few others have the ability to kick majors so readily, the Diamond Creek product as been renowned since her junior career as a natural defender.

“I spoke to Steve (Symons) before the season and he really just wanted to settle me in a position.

“It sounds quite funny, but we had a young forward line to start with and I was kind of like the older head, besides Sophie Alexander.

“I’m just glad I’ve been able to be settled this year as I was thrown around a lot last year and that kind of shot my confidence a little bit. [But] I’ve gotta take that as a compliment because they want me where the footy is and where our weaknesses are; kind of like a band-aid.”

Another player who is generally close to the footy, is Brianna Davey. The former Carlton Blues skipper crossed to the traditional club rival ahead of last season and hasn’t looked back. Her decisive inside ball-winning performance against the Kangaroos was a lock for best afield; something Molloy is glad now occurs in the black and white stripes.

“I’m very grateful to be playing with her, not against her!

“She’s someone that you want to play for. If you muck up, it’s almost like you’re disappointed because she has so much respect around here at Collingwood.

“She puts her head over that footy every single time. It kinda sparks through the midfield; Bri, Chops (Jaimee Lambert), Ebs (Ebony O’Dea)... I don’t know how they don’t walk out of here with ice packs all over them.”

That Molloy can readily rattle off a list of tough, competitive and driven teammates who leave nothing on the field should have Magpies fans dreaming big; when Chloe talks about her own goals and aspirations for this 4-0 side, it should have them positively excited.

“We play footy for one reason and that’s to freakin’ win.

“Every step is a step closer to a flag. I know some people frown upon it...‘Take it one week at a time’ is a cliche; obviously that’s going to happen, but we want to be the best team in the end!

“At the end of the day we all want that premiership and only one team can win it...

“I’m do or die – I want to win it!”