VFLW Round 1 vs Southern Saints

Darebin Falcons 2.1.13 def by Southern Saints 6.10.46

Darebin Falcons started their 2023 season in front of a passionate home crowd in Bundoora this week.  Facing the grand finalists from last season, the Falcons had a bit of a nervous start with the first ball up going straight down for a Southern Saints goal.  Darebin rallied, and scored a quick reply 2 minutes later.  The defenders had their work cut out for them however with the ball coming in fast for most of the first quarter.  The break to provided the team with a chance to take a breath.  A rev up aligned with the practical support from the coaching group, sent the players back out to create more contest on the ball.  The Falcons certainly improved as the match went on, but the hesitant start in the first half created more confidence in their opponents, with the Saints ending the match with six individual goal kickers.  With the second half seeing some low scoring, highly contested footy, the final margin was 33 points.

It was exciting to see 5 debuting Falcs, and the return of 2017 VFLW Premiership player Shannon Egan. Fans were also delighted to see Ange Gogos back to her strong 2022 form with a game high 24 disposals and 9 tackles.  Another important contribution to the team this week from captain Steph Simpson, showing some good timing in attack and commitment in defense.  (And potentially a nice shiner to show for it)  Key forward Alyssa Mifsud was a good presence in the forward line, kicking two goals.  Millie Shone had a strong game and played an important role for the team in the midfield, with a big preseason clearly paying off for her.

In 2023, the VFLW Falcon of Week will be awarded by the playing leadership group, and will be recognition of outstanding efforts and contributions to upholding the Darebin way.  Key defender Vic Blackwood saw a lot of action this week with 7 tackles, 5 kicks, 6 handballs, 3 marks, and her contributions were recognised as the Round 1 Falcon of the week.

For the coaches, there were some clear positives with the way that the Falcons were able to stick at their game plan.  At times, the opposition had control over many areas, but with some persistence the team were able to contain the Saints.   Coach Aasta O’Connor said that she was pleased that the group did not drop their heads. “Our aim is to get the game plan going, to win or halve each contest, and we did see more of that as the game continued.  I’m proud that the players were prepared to stick at it.  While there are areas of the game that need to be improved, I’m pleased with the way that the team did defend more effectively in the second half”

Falcons will be pleased to have that first game under their belt, and to have shaken off first game nerves.   Finishing just out of the finals in 2022 means the fixture will include more of the higher finishing teams, so expect some good challenges in the 2023 season for our talented VFLW Darebin squad.

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

Next match will be Sunday 2 April, Darebin playing Casey Demons at Casey Fields, 2.30pm

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