Darebin faced one of the season leaders this week, against Collingwood at their home ground. Despite a challenging first quarter, the Falcons played themselves well into the game and matched the Pies on the scoreboard over the next three quarters. First games for the 2023 Talent League players, plus first goals in the VFLW to Evie Lee and Piper Louey, and a strong second half gave the Falcons supporters plenty to cheer on this week. Debuting players were Evie Lee, Grace Wake and Lauren Jatczak.
The Falcons did really well in the ruck all day, and that first hit out from the centre bounce sent the ball forward creating opportunities. Angelica Gogos got a shot on goal, but it was touched on the line for the first score of the game. The ball was then sent back into Collingwood’s forward line, where it stayed for the rest of the quarter, with the Pies kicking 4 unanswered goals. After a chance to re-group, the Falcons played better in the 2nd quarter. Again, getting first go at the ball in the ruck contests, Darebin picked up the intensity across the ground. Alyssa Mifsud had a nice position up high as the ball was sent into an open Falcons forward line, but her kick went through for only a behind. In a low scoring term, the only goal of the quarter at the 19 minute mark gave Collingwood a 35 point lead.
The hardworking Falcons kept at it in the 3rd quarter, keeping the pressure up. In the first game back after her injury break, Grace Wake built into the game, reading the ball well, getting some good clearing kicks out of defence. Piper Louey and Paige Kearney combined to send the ball into the forward 50, with Mikayla Plunkett collecting on the bounce, then wheeling around to send to the leading Mifsud. Initially overrunning the ball, Mifsud went back to body out the defender, soccering across her body and through the goals right on the three quarter time siren.
In the final quarter, Mifsud moved into the midfield, showing her versatility with immediate impact in the stoppages. In contested play in the centre, Mifsud got the ball by hand to Gogos who sent it right into the forward hot spot. The ball bounced high and backwards beating the pack, but right into the arms of Emma Mackay sweeping along the back. A clever kick from the left footer towards the goal bounced straight and beat the outstretched arms of the defender for the first goal of the final quarter. Still with the momentum, Lauren Jatcszak rucking well managed a tap down to Steph Simpson. Busting through, Simpson got the ball out and directly to Lee on the run forwards. Lee’s kick went right to the goal square, clearing the contest, bouncing through for Evie’s first VFL goal.
Ange Gogos then saw her chance at a stoppage high on the 50 metre arc. She snuck forward, picking up the ball and bouncing through to the front of the pack. Her kick under pressure was straight and evaded the defenders to go through for another Falcons goal. The momentum continuing for Darebin, Mifsud took a good intercept mark in the centre. She moved the ball on quickly, switching lanes and finding Lee free. Running on quickly, Lee kicked long to a leading Egan. Surrounded by Collingwood defenders, Egan got her arms free to handball on Zoe Larkin. Larkin’s kick was accurate, but cruelly not long enough, bouncing on the goal line and back in to play. Sabine Cowley du Parquet and Piper Louey were hot on the chase. Piper clever enough to get foot to ball, and soccer off the ground through for her first VFLW goal.
Collingwood did manage to steady in the final five minutes of the game, halting the scoreboard pressure from the Falcons, and finishing the game with a 26 point win. Coach Aasta O’Connor said she was pleased with the turnaround from the first quarter. “We can see the results of getting those little things right, and playing the team game, it was really pleasing to see more reward for our efforts.”