Superstar Collingwood midfielder Jaimee Lambert overcame an injury scare to run out the Magpies' dour, slogging four-point win over Geelong at GMHBA Stadium.
The unbeaten Magpies escaped the war of attrition 2.3 (15) to 1.5 (11) on Saturday, moving to the top of the AFLW ladder and inflicting the Cats' maiden defeat of the season.
Neither side, ranked No.1 and No.2 defensively in the competition, could register a goal in a scrappy first half but Collingwood's bigger concern at the time was the fitness of Lambert.
The three-time best-and-fairest winner, who came into the game managing a left ankle concern, hurt her upper right leg in a second-quarter collision with sliding-in Geelong forward Chloe Scheer.
After hobbling off, Lambert, encouragingly, came back on and saw out the second half.
"Chloe Scheer came across my knee and my hip went the opposite way," Lambert said.
"I'm not sure if it's hip or hammy or what, we'll assess during the week, but I played out the second half."
The Magpies' line-breaking brigade of Lambert, captain Steph Chiocci and Irishwoman Aishling Sheridan ran rings around the home side early.
Collingwood registered the first six inside-50s and outmarked the Cats 19-5 in the opening term, setting the tone for an opening half of field domination, which wasn't translated on the scoreboard.
It was more of the same in the second stanza, at the end of which Collingwood led 0.3 to 0.1.
The Cats were being outplayed, but their defence was standing tall again - to that point, Geelong's backline had conceded one goal across 10 quarters this season.
Speedy defender Alana Porter finally notched the first goal of the afternoon - and the first of her AFLW career - with a fine finish with 9:13 remaining in the third to give the Magpies the edge.
Georgia Clarke countered with Geelong's first, converting a free kick to tie the scores at three-quarter-time.
The Cats' midfield trio of Georgie Prespakis, Amy McDonald and Rebecca Webster flipped the script to start getting right on top and give Geelong repeated field position advantage.
Against the grain, Jordyn Allen marked and goaled to give Collingwood the lead midway through the fourth period.
Prespakis's snap and Meg McDonald's flying shot could only register behinds as Geelong sought a late match-winner, the ball remaining encamped in the Cats' attacking 50 down the stretch.
In the closing seconds, Magpies centre half-back Lauren Butler was nearly caught holding the ball and Scheer almost tackled too high but the umpires' whistles were put away as Collingwood's under-pressure backline defended grimly to the death.
"We really pride our game on our pressure," Lambert said.
"To know we can stand up against Geelong, who are a very high-pressure team, we're like where our men's side is.
"We rely a lot on our pressure."