Despite having to operate through a second year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Darebin Women‘s Sports Club was able to field teams from its three key sports programs and survive 2021 – the year of lockdown.

The club certainly did not take a step back, fielding 26 junior soccer teams, a MiniRoos program, two senior soccer teams, three cricket teams, five junior Aussie Rules teams, an Auskick program, an elite VFLW squad, two senior Aussie Rules teams and a Masters’ Aussie Rules team for the ‘young-at-heart’ Over 35s.

Now to 2022.

Looking ahead in preparation for a big year, Darebin WSC held its AGM in November and welcomed four new General Board members, Robin Shepherd, Sally Chapman, Tanya Gallina and Jill Scanlon, while expressing sincere gratitude to those stepping down for their contribution.

For footy, the year ahead is looking promising with the confirmation of the coaching team announced last week.

Darebin Falcons President Jane Ryan said the leadership line-up bodes well for the upcoming season.

“It builds on the Falcons’ leadership and strong pathways for all players with the return of club legend Kate Tyndall as head coach, to guide and support the development of leaders across the club.”

Julie Boffa, Senior Football Coordinator, is also excited for a more settled year ahead.

“It’s great to see both our senior NFNL and VFLW teams back training after the COVID layoff,” she said.

“We’re really excited about our off-season recruitment with a new Head Coach for Div 1, Siobhan O’Dwyer, and for the VFLW we have formed a great coaching group and support staff, lead by Kate Tyndall and welcoming back some familiar Falcon faces, as well as some really handy pickups to complement our player list. Bring on 2022!”

While the club is well-known for its established history in women’s footy in the Melbourne community, one of its major success stories is its soccer program.

Growth for women and girls’ soccer in the Darebin area has been significant. Despite the constraints of ongoing lockdowns from early in 2021, 392 players registered in the pre-season, following a successful Go Fives development program which ran in November-December 2020 – and has again been delivered in wrapping up 2021.

Coming into the summer, the Falcons Cricket program is also looking very healthy.

This year, cricket had a breakout season, increasing from two teams in the previous year to five teams playing in the NWMCA competition, with a total of 47 registered players. These included teams in Under 10s, 12s and 14s as well as one Senior Women’s team.

In a recent ABC radio broadcast, Emma Race – member of the Outer Sanctum podcast team and well-known advocate for women in sport – was quoted saying;

“The role of Darebin and clubs like that have been essential, and actually the way that we honour those clubs, as AFLW starts to franchise a lot of the women’s sports clubs into what are traditional AFL clubs, is a really important part of the story.

“We need to recognise that we are all standing on the shoulders of those women who have gone before and built those institutions.”

This support underlines the high regard in which the club is held within the local community and the broader sports community in Melbourne, and adds to the feeling of anticipation for good years ahead.