Building connections between Masters and VFLW.
Darebin’s Masters team has backed the Club’s VFLW 2021 campaign this year, grouping together to sponsor 3 players.
The team is incredibly proud to be associated with the VFLW 2021 squad, and their endeavors off and off the field. While Falcons famously have had a huge impact on this state’s premier football competition, there are enormous challenges connected with the emerging and exciting AFLW competition and an environment that is stacked against standalone and women’s only clubs. Sponsorship of the players and the squad are key to success in the VFLW, where Darebin remain the last club standing from the womens amazing pioneering clubs.
The Masters team banded together to fund 3 players #26 Mikayla Meyer, #29 Stephanie Normington-Dickens and #58 Vanja Smiljanic- and to contribute resources for the success of the VFLW squad. It was seen as a chance for the older women to connect with the VFLW competition, to enjoy watching our sponsored players as individuals within a team effort.
For some masters players, it is also an opportunity to contribute to development of the game, and to promote an inclusive, support environment for women in a sport that had excluded so many from participation.
A complete football pathway for women.
The Darebin masters entered the AFL Masters Vic Metro competition in 2019, and after a frustrating gap in 2020, will compete in the 2021 competition. This is just the 3rd comp that the Vic Metro AFL Masters has offered for women, despite the game for older male athletes starting up in the early 80’s. Initially, the masters competition was a chance for our Club to bring former players back to footy and introduce the game to those who may have just thought that the game had passed them by. The thought of having a masters team also felt right, with an already well-established pathway for juniors into senior footy.
The 2021 season has just got underway with Round 1 at A.H. Capp on Saturday 17 April, 2021. The Falcons had a great game, despite going down 5.3.33 against 6.3.39 from a lively Werribee Tigers. The team roared home after a slow start and would have totally won in the 5th quarter. The team featured 6 players on debut, (3 for their first game of football ever), and a further dozen or so who had only ever played in the new masters competition, plus some of the absolute legends of the game to bring everyone together.
Team selection for the masters team is a bit different to most, with more than 45 women on the masters list. But by the time you have factored in injuries, competing demands from being a main support in families, leading high intensity work, coaching and supporting other teams and players, having to travel further for games and training, the numbers are about just right.
Unique partnership for a unique club.
The partnership between the masters team and the VFLW squad is a unique one for the club. The Falcons way has always been to support and include each other in our shared vision of providing opportunities for women and girls through sport.
And we stick by each other through thick or thin. When one of the Masters sponsored players suffered a serious injury early in. the season, the group continued to support her.
“…we need to stand by our Falcs when they are injured as well as when they’re playing..”
Dedicated and passionate football-loving women are able to support each other to reach their potential, and to connect over the course of their lifetimes with both footy and the club’s community, on and off the playing field.