Darebin Falcons have entered 2 teams in the Northern Football Netball League (NFNL) in 2021, with the first rounds women’s grading matches now completed. Having been matched against some of the stronger teams of the comp, Darebin 1 and 2 both finished the four grading rounds with very credible 2 wins and 2 losses each. The results see our teams positioned in the NFNL Div 1 and Div 2 streams respectively for season 2021.
Along the way we have welcomed back many Club stalwarts – including very warmly received Masters top up players when our numbers were low – and many players new to the Falcons way.
Like all Victorian community sports, COVID interruptions has impacted the players development, with no footy played at all in 2020 and Darebin players faced a footy drought of 244 days before finally hitting the ground running for the 2021 NFNL Round 1 match.
The 2021 NFNL competition has 84 teams entered. This is another record breaking year after the 2019 NFNL Women’s competition saw overall participation reaching a record number of 2032 registered players in 81 female teams.
Coached by Elise Casamento, the Division 1 team will look to build on the successes of 2019 finishing 2nd on the ladder and competing in some exciting finals. It is also impressive to see five players moving up to play in the 2021 VFLW squad, and the standards at training are being set by the Falcons stalwarts as well as some new and exciting talent.
Coached by Tom McGuigan, the Division 2 team will be playing footy for fun, with an emphasis on developing skills for newer players and enjoying the game. The Div 2 team also played finals in 2019, and will be keen to return to the competition with some new recruits and some more experienced players, enjoying the opportunity for on field leadership. The loss of the 2020 season has created a sense of almost starting up a brand new team. After pre-season training and grading games, the progress of the players who have never played before has been most promising, showing a rapid development and building confidence in the playing group about what can be achieved together. The focus will be on the foundations of the game, learning more about reading the game, picking up the technical skills and looking to have fun as a team.
Social events within teams and across the club will continue to be a high priority, building the connections on and off the field. The subcommittee also plays an important part in contribution to the culture of the Darebin Falcons, of creating an environment that supports the equality, human rights and dignity of AFL athletes. The focus on inclusivity and supporting transitioned, transitioning and non binary players has been partly driven by the playing group and partly by league policies that are reflective of harmful social norms and policies which exclude some athletes. As part of the league, Darebin is committed to a sport that is accessible to everyone, and being part of the solution for eliminating discrimination which affects some people’s enjoyment of sport and prevent them from participating. As a pioneering club, it is exciting to contribute to leadership in women’s footy in 2021, with this work building confidence and connections in the team.
The Falcs Family is looking forward to getting around the NFNL teams this year.