Dejavu for Collingwood as they finish the season with 12 points, identical to their inaugural season.
Finishing with three wins and four losses isn’t quite good enough as their sixth-place finish would indicate, but strides were taken, improvements made and battles won.
Christina Bernardi spoke to TWG and reflected on Collingwood’s efforts.
“Halfway through the season we probably really hit our peak. Even though we lost to the Bulldogs we came back. We were very close against them,” Bernardi said
“The second half of the season, the vibe around the club was very up and about.
“We always had that belief that we could do that. We played fast fun footy. The results came and it showed itself."
Individually, Bernardi’s form was strong throughout and she’s determined to continually improve.
“I think my season is completely different to last season. I came in with the sole goal of being better for my teammates.
“I wanted to be a player that they were willing and wanting me to play in their team and have trust that I would play my role.
“I think I’ve made progress on that, that’s for sure compared to last season. Definitely looking to improve next season.
“I’ve been more involved in the club. I’ve been in the leadership group.
“It has been good but very keen for improvement and ready for next season to start soon.”
“When we had our pre-season camp, it started off well and brought us together,” Bernardi said.
“From there I think one of the biggest key moments was the Melbourne game in Alice Springs where the majority of the team were involved in community activities and I think that just provided a really great opportunity for the team to bond.
“Going into that game, the atmosphere was very bubbly, laughter and we came out and played extremely well.
“That was a really key moment. Ever since after that game, we played really well together.”
The players who stood out for the Pies were a mixture of older and younger, including AFLW Players’ MVP Award nominee Chloe Molloy.
“We have a few really strong young recruits. Obviously, Chloe Molloy has been an absolute standout for the whole season,” Bernardi said.
“Iilish Ross has done an amazing job every time in her role until she was injured.
“Jasmine Garner has been an absolute standout in the back half of the season. She changed up her role and went into the backline and came back into the forward and absolutely dominated.
“She’s probably someone that people know that she has been around for a long time but she’s still quite young.”
End of the Season
Out of the running for finals contention, the last game of the season was huge for the Pies. With Captain Steph Chiocci missing due to suspension, few could have predicted the amazing result for Collingwood and the devastating defeat for the Adelaide Crows.
“[We didn’t do any] majorly different. We knew it was our last game as a group and potentially the team could change next season.
“We knew we could really make an impact on the competition by beating Adelaide and we loved that it came down to our game to determine who was in the final.
“We started strong against them [Adelaide] last season and fell away in the second half so I think we really wanted to do one better than last season,” Bernardi said.
What Happens Now?
With clubs currently only able to sign single-season contracts, the players will to some extent go their separate ways while others will remain as part of the Collingwood VFL team.
“This is the first year that Collingwood have a VFL team so quite a few girls stay in the VFL team where we can be managed, managing injuries and really build for next season.
“We have quite a few interstate girls so they stay here and play VFL and some of them of will go home.
“Some other girls have decided to go and play for their other local teams in the VFL as well.
“The VFL starts in less than a month. We’re just trying to take this time and rest and recover a little bit before that starts.”