Collingwood claimed bragging rights in the latest Melbourne derby, recording a 67-51 victory at Ken Rosewall Arena to take the four points and plenty of positive learnings.
1. Patience is key
One extra pass into the goal circle is sometimes all it takes.
While Shimona Nelson is an imposing target in the shooting circle, the tables turned for Collingwood when they began to take a little extra time to find the safe feed.
For the Magpies, it was about resisting the urge to go long and instead, finding the short ball and driving forward to deliver the next.
After head coach Nicole Richardson called for time in the first quarter when the Vixens lead by six goals, the Magpies rediscovered their second phase depth.
Kelsey Browne’s electric pace saw her find the circle’s edge to continue to lead the way for goal assists – now at 145 for the season and nearly 20 clear of her nearest competitor.
Nelson put 55 goals to post and was ably supported by her goaling partner Gabby Sinclair, who contributed ten of her own.
2. Playing the long game
Ten deflections for Jodi-Ann Ward, 6 for Ash Brazill and five for Geva Mentor.
The defensive unit built the pressure from the get-go, forcing the Melbourne Vixens to test multiple combinations to work their way through the wall.
Early on, the deflections may not have turned into gains but the doubt forming in the minds of the Magpies’ opposition was visible, as the Collingwood defense continually hunted ball.
Ward finished with three intercepts, Mentor recorded two and Brazill and Molly Jovic contributed one each.
3. Gabby Sinclair can fly under the radar
34 feeds, 25 goal assists and 79 Nissan Net Points was the stat line that earned Gabby Sinclair Player of the Match honours.
What wasn’t reflected on the stat sheet was Sinclair’s work rate.
Sinclair was tireless and became a lynchpin for the Magpies’ attack, feeding Nelson with pinpoint accuracy whilst also proving a threat to the post.
Sinclair played a vital role in ensuring scores were tied up at the first break, with two clutch Super Shots erasing the Vixens lead and creating the momentum that eventually carried the Magpies to victory.