Darebin Falcons 1.2-8 def by Essendon 6.6-42
Photos by Phillip Louie
The 2023 Sir Doug Nicholls Round match was opened with an Acknowledgement of Country, and an excellent performance by Brent Watkins. It was remarkable to share the moment with Essendon’s VFLW squad, with both teams sharing club stories and exchanging gifts. Essendon leads with First Nations coaches Jacara Egan and Kirby Bentley, and Indigenous Co-Captains Mia-Rae Clifford and Courtney Ugle. The Falcons squad wore the club’s inaugural indigenous jumper, designed by artist Rebecca Bell and were joined by Falcons’ First Nations family, and supporters.
Darebin’s whole of club approach included the junior and senior teams marking the Sir Doug Nicholls Round over the weekend, along with the VFLW Squad. Under 16’s match was led by First Nations player Meerah Sehgal, who gave the acknowledgement of country. The club also introduced new Best on Ground medals for this round in honour of Sharon ‘Nan’ Hughes, who played with the then Fairfield Falcons in the early 1990s. The club has been thrilled to have Nan Hughes return to the club through her family. Granddaughter Rikki Ryan moved to Melbourne in 2022 and became a Falcons player herself in the NFNL Div 1 side. The winners of the 2023 Sharon ‘Nan’ Hughes Medals were Ange Gogos for the VFLW match, and Dallas Rowland for the Div 1 Match.
Darebin Falcons once again showed resolution and courage at their task in Round 10. Fierce pressure kept Essendon to a single goal in the first half. The Falcons backline were resolute, with the midfielders and forward line running hard and linking up well to bring the ball back out of danger. But Essendon found their momentum, with more inside 50s resulting in two goals in the third quarter. Falcons started the fourth quarter strongly with a strong intensity. The attackers piled on the pressure to keep the ball in the forward line, scrambling with second and third efforts. Stef Simpson roved well from a contest, sending the ball deep towards Piper Louie, who got it by hands to Millie Shone in a good position. Shone gave herself room to kick her first goal of the season. Sabine Cowley du Parquet was unlucky with two behinds from gettable positions. Essendon responded with three goals in three minutes to put the game out of touch.
Making her debut Stef Velona impressed with 6 tackles, and Stephanie Normington Dickens celebrated her 50 games at senior level with some great contest. Sharon Nan Hughes Medal winner Ange Gogos continued to show strong leadership and athleticism, playing her heart out with 15 tackles, 4 marks and 26 kicks. Shan Egan had a strong game playing back in the ruck, consistently out jumping her opponent. Sim Ruedin’s return to the game was a Falcon of the Week performance with contributions in the ruck, and across the ground being there to pick up her teammates and provide encouragement throughout the game.
Next Round is the Darebin will play Collingwood on Sunday 4 July, 10.30am at Preston City Oval
This will be part of an exciting day at Preston City Oval with a double header organised by the Northern Bullants to raise money for the Royal Children’s Hospital. The matches will feature the northern (Darebin) based teams with the VFL men’s match featuring Northern Bullants v Collingwood and VFLW’s women’s Darebin Falcons v Collingwood. The day is will be loads of fun for the kids with face painting and Footy4Fun inbetween the matches. Captain Steph Simpson will be part of the panel sharing stories and insights into the game for the fundraising Corporate lunch. Buy tickets through the Northern Bullants events page or directly here:
In 2023, VFL Women’s matches are streamed LIVE on AFL.com.au and the AFL Live Official App.
Keep up to date through the 2023 VFLW app or through https://vfl.aflwstats.com/season/2023
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