VFLW Round 5 vs North Melbourne
Photos by @melbournesportsphotograph

Darebin Falcons 3.1-19 def by 8.9-57 North Melbourne

It was the first match of the year at Preston City Oval for the home crowd.  Competitive in parts of the game, the Falcons struggled with consistency, and were only able to win one quarter on the scoreboard.  North Melbourne started with strong intent and piled on 4 goals in the first quarter.  The Falcons rallied well and brought up the pressure with goals from Zoe Larkin and Alyssa Mifsud.  Better defensive pressure also restricted the scoring, and brought the game back to 16 points.  Despite committed efforts, the Falcons were not able find any goals in the second half, and struggled to keep possession, letting in 2 goals in the third, one more in the fourth, all scores from the last 5 minutes of each quarter.

It was a welcome return in Round 5 from Captain Steph Simpson, playing a key role in the midfield with 10 kicks, 5 handballs and 5 tackles, and defender Vic Blackwood who finished the game with 7 tackles, 3 marks, and 6 kicks.  Ange Gogos was dynamic at the stoppages, and had a game high 26 disposals, including 24 kicks, 2 handballs and 9 tackles.  The Falcs were well served by Bec Goring with 13 kicks, 5 tackles, Shan Egan with 37 hit outs, 4 marks and 7 kicks and Simone Ruedin with 10 disposals had some good impact around the ground.

The first quarter, Darebin were left ruing their slow start, which left them with a 4 goal deficit at the first break.  The team did manage to regroup well and started getting better ball movement after the break.  Although deep in defence, Steph Simpson got a good clearance to a contest, where Piper Louey created a stoppage with a solid tackle.  Millie Shone read the tap well and kicked strongly into the centre square.  Emma Mackay got down for a nice pick up off the ground, then showed some fancy footwork to give herself a bit of space for a kick to the leading Alyssa Mifsud.  One out with her opponent, Mifsud took a lovely one handed mark, and then went back and kick the Falcons onto the scoreboard.  The momentum was with the Falcons then, and some good movement into a nice open forward line nearly created an opportunity for Sabine Cowley du Parquet running towards the goal line, only to have the ball bounce on its end and straight up over her head.

When North wrestled the momentum back their way, the Falcons defenders managed to create more contest and more pressure on the attackers, although North did manage to kick an answering goal right on the 15 minute mark of the second quarter.  From the centre bounce, the Falcons midfielders were taking advantage of Egan’s dominance in the ruck.  Simpson bundled the ball forward, and on the 50 metre arc, Cowley du Parquet kicked to the forwards coming out of the forward pocket.  Ruedin contested well, and her strong body work created space for a clean handball away to Zoe Larkin on the move.  Running towards goal and hard up against the boundary line, Larkin executed a lovely kick through the big sticks.  Again back at the centre bounce, Ange Gogos found space to kick accurately into the forwards.  Cowley du Parquet was held onto illegally, and went back with her free kick to send the ball in deep.  Ruedin brought the ball to ground and tapped to Mifsud perched at the back of the goal square, who kicked along the ground to get past the defenders and through for her 2nd goal of the game.

Winning the second quarter did put heart into the players and their vocal supporters cheering from the line.  However trailing by the 16 points created more pressure for the Falcons, and despite valiant efforts, the team were unable to impact the scoreboard.  North were able to take more risks in attack and managed to kick goals in the last 5 mins of the third and fourth quarters.

This week’s Falcon of the week is awarded to Operations Manager Emily Dal Pos for her incredible work efforts to ensure that everything runs smoothly for the squad.

Next match will be Round 6, Saturday 29 April, Darebin playing Collingwood at Victoria Park, 11am.

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