An unfortunately short season hasn't diminished the Pies' pride.
The Collingwood Magpies of 2020 were certainly a far cry from the team we’ve come to know over the past three seasons. They had a few new additions, including star recruit Bri Davey and new coach Steve Symons. They also had several late draft picks, that turned into players that complimented the side well, fitting in without missing a beat.
There were a lot of positives coming out of the season, especially the improvement on their win-loss ratio as well as their versatility, with several players being able to fill multiple positions. A lot of younger players were able to step up to fit into the positions of players the Magpies lost due to injury. Talking to Collingwood superstar, Chloe Molloy, this was her take.
“We were a contending side for the premiership. Although we lost that final, we got to within North Melbourne by two points. I think it was a pretty big turnaround from the past three seasons…
I think this season created a lot of belief amongst the group that we are good enough.”
The Pies had a great season in 2020, having four wins and only two losses, which was a massive improvement from last year. Those two losses against fellow premiership contenders in Melbourne and Fremantle seemed to have a common denominator.
“Probably a common theme is that we had a couple of slow starts that bit us in the bum.
Whether that be the start of the game or coming out the third quarter.
You know it's devastating, it hurts when it's so close… I think we just got comfortable with being uncomfortable and that's probably one of the lessons that we will take away from this year.”
There were lots of highlights for Collingwood fans throughout the season, including their first two wins or specific moments like Sharni Layton's first goal, or Alana Porter's debut. For Chloe, it was a tough call.
“It's very hard to narrow it down. Round 1 against West Coast at Victoria Park, that was my first game back after a long injury. And then also for Collingwood, we haven't been able to have a Round 1 win since the inaugural start for the AFL women's…
But that contends with a win against Carlton. There was a lot of passion in that game from both sides and there's a massive rivalry… They were both pretty awesome.”
From Round 6, fans weren't allowed to attend the games due to the restrictions put in place to minimise the spread of COVID-19. Collingwood has a great following when it comes to both AFL and AFLW. Collingwood AFLW team has its own unofficial cheer squad. They come to every training session no matter the weather and they support the girls all year round, including the VFLW season.
Chloe missed having that on-ground connection with the Pies’ loyal following.
“It's not something that I want to get used to because we play footy for ourselves but also for the fans… [Their absence] was quite bizarre.”
Collingwood played their first finals match against the red hot Kangaroos. The lead-up to the final wasn't without its drama, with the AFL having to cut the season short due. There was mass confusion amongst the AFLW community about which teams had qualified for the finals series.
“I remember at one stage, we were training and then we cut training short to watch the press conference. The way Gill delivered the message, people took it as it was going to be the top two. So tears started rolling… Then it came out that it's the top four so that was probably one of the biggest emotional roller coasters.”
Collingwood faced North Melbourne at an empty Ikon Park. North Melbourne got off to a fast start, but that didn't stop the Magpies from slowly chopping the lead back to be ahead at half time, before sadly losing by two points.
“We're all human and we all were quite nervous, which I think is a good thing because it means we care…
We were pretty nervous and excited but at the end of the day, we made history again for Collingwood and that's something we should be pretty proud of despite the outcome of the game.”