Pies beat Bulldogs in AFLW finals thriller

Collingwood might pay a high price for their bruising AFLW elimination final win over the Western Bulldogs, with several players hurt in the five-point thriller.

The Bulldogs stormed home from 28 points down in the third quarter, kicking the only two goals in the last term before the Magpies held on 5.10 (40) to 5.5 (35).

Collingwood will head to Adelaide for next weekend's semi-final against the Crows.

It was a pulsating end to the first week of the finals series, with 4823 fans packing Victoria Park as Melbourne's foul spring weather came good at last.

There were several heavy clashes during the frenetic last quarter and Collingwood's Ruby Schleicher (leg) was helped from the field in her 50th game.

Sarah Rowe (knee) and Tarni Brown (head knock) were also hurt.

Bulldogs hard nut Deanna Berry had a hamstring problem and threw up at halftime before she was knocked out in the last quarter, while Heidi Woodley nursed a foot injury through the game.

Magpies coach Steve Symonds said they had seven players assessed for injuries during the second half.

"It's too early to say what they're like, but I don't think it's anything really bad," he said.

"It was pretty physical. They're pretty tired."

The game should have been over in the third term, but Collingwood's inaccuracy nearly cost them dearly.

"We left the door slightly open and they just about came through it," Symonds said.

Playing in her first final, 19-year-old Magpies forward Eliza James made up for missing a sitter early in the first quarter by kicking four goals - an AFLW finals record.

"Maybe she's a big-stage player. If she keeps doing that every final, that would be great," Symonds said.

Stacey Livingstone was mighty in defence for the Magpies, while back Katie Lynch kept the Bulldogs in the game early.

Collingwood's Imogen Barnett took a game-saving mark in the last few seconds as the Bulldogs made one last charge into attack.

Joanna Lin's desperate lunge on the goal line also stopped a certain goal from Woodley earlier in the last term.

Bulldogs captain Ellie Blackburn battled through a hard tag from Aishling Sheridan which took a little of the polish off her game.

"Aish did a great job ... maybe that might have been the difference," Symonds said.

After saying on Friday that he detested any talk that his young side was in this finals just for experience, coach Nathan Burke was a mix of raw emotions post-match.

"I've never been involved with a side with as much guts," he said.

"It's a great foundation for us. That guts is something that few sides have ... we now need to add all the other stuff that makes a good football team.

"We could have won the game. Right here, right now, it still hurts. I wouldn't even say it's bitter-sweet - it's still bitter at the moment and hopefully the sweet bit comes a little bit later."