Photo credits: Rob Lawson Photography and Point of View Sports Media Solutions

Leadership has always been highly treasured at Darebin Falcons with the club’s proud tradition of pioneering women.  The Falcons do have a long history of exceptional leaders, and it was with great anticipation that the 2024 VFLW squad leadership group was announced this week.  It was striking to see the consideration of experience and emerging leadership, as well as leaders named from all lines on the field.

Caitlin Bunker and Steph Simpson were named as co Captains with Vice Captains Alyssa Mifsud and Riley Christgoergl, and emerging leader Sam Pritchard joining the strong leadership group.

Caitlin Bunker is a new Falcon recruit but arrives stacked with footy smarts, and confidence on the field.   Captaining Collingwood to the VFLW Grand Final in 2023, Caitlin is a premiership player who is known for both her care for team mates, and drive for high standards.  Caitlin was a natural fit for the 2024 Co-Captain role, with a passion and enthusiasm to lead from the front with hands on the ball, and for her ability to play a strong team role and bring in others.

I am keen to keep evolving as a player and a person, and joining the Falcons this year offered that opportunity to grow.  I do pride myself on being an approachable person, on putting emphasis on relationships.  I want to grow the way that I communicate on the field, particularly as a senior player working with younger players who are looking to develop and take the next steps in their career

Caitlin Bunker

2024 Co Captain, Darebin Falcons

Steph Simpson has been part of the Darebin Falcons leadership group since 2018, including captaining the side from 2019, and awarded Club Person of the Year 2023.  A committed and inspirational footballer, part of the Falcon’s famous premiership years, playing in the winning Grand Finals from 2009-2010, 2013-2017.  A proven Falcon leader, the value that Steph brings to the squad is again endorsed through her teammates continued vote of support for her captaincy.

Another Falcon known for showing the way on and off the field, Alyssa Mifsud was again named vice captain.  Playing in the inaugural 2017 AFLW competition, and with considerable VFLW experience, Mifsud has added real versatility to her game over the last few seasons.

She is such as well regarded player, with a strong reputation for impact on the field, known for  being difficult to match up against her strengths.  She brings such good intent to the program over the last 3 months it has been clear that they have brought a very professional approach, looking to get reward as a group, and being clear on the kind of success that the club has deserved over a long period of time. And they are bringing everyone along for the ride.

Lache Walker

2024 Darebin VFLW Coach

New Falcon recruit Vice Captain Riley Christgoergl is well known for her ability to read the play, and clear communication with teammates.  Riley has several years experience captaining the Western Bulldogs’ VFLW team, before joining Collingwood in 2023, where she was a member of the leadership team that took that club to the Grand Final.  Riley is consistent and highly regarded receiving Coaches’ Awards at both former clubs, as well as being named 2023’s Players Player of the Year. 

Riley is a newer player in our club but already has just brought so much to our program with experience and leadership and getting around us all.  An amazing person who brings such good energy.  Every time they are down here, they work hard only make themselves better, but to make everyone around them better too.

Lache Walker

2024 Darebin VFLW Coach

Emerging leader was named Sam Pritchard, to the distinct delight in the room.  This will be the first VFLW season for Sam Pritchard.   Having been part of the Falcons senior NFNL team, the opportunity to demonstrate leadership at all levels is linked with our unique club.  Darebin are  the only sporting Club in Australia to offer a full pathway for girls and women from Auskick to Over 35s (Masters), that includes a VFLW team.   

Pritch’s fight back to footy has been impressive and the hard work over the last few months has shown reward. Everyone just has a smile on their faces at our announcement, we know that Pritch will grab this chance with both hands and make the most of it.

Lache Walker

2024 Darebin VFLW Coach

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Follow the action with Round 1 of the 2024 VFLW season kicking off with a home game for the Darebin Falcons. 

Saturday 23 March, 5.05pm, Darebin v Williamstown, La Trobe University, Bundoora. 

Keep up today with the fixtures and results here