Sunday 14 May, 2023

La Trobe University

Darebin Falcons 0.4-4 def by Geelong 4.9-33

Although still not able to get the win, Darebin’s game against top of the ladder Geelong looked a lot stronger in the home fixture. Only 5 weeks on from the Easter weekend where these two teams met, it was bright sunshine and a vocal Falcons crowd at La Trobe University for the Mothers Day’s clash. Family was celebrated in the Falcon’s camp, with coaches Kate Tyndall and Aasta O’Connor bringing beautiful baby Lily to her first ever footy game. This Mother’s Day, it was an important acknowledgement of women being able to continue, whether that be playing, working, coaching, and being part of the club, to be able to continue their roles through pregnancy and taking care of young family. With the support of the players, coaches, volunteers and community, women can continue to be professional, well rounded, and connected.
The Falcons started the game winning the ball at the centre bounce. Geelong showed some speed and good structures but staunch defending from Vic Blackwood, Bec Goring, and Karly McNiece consistently drove the ball back into the centre. Another strong game from Sally Lynch, particularly against AFLW listed ruck, and a welcome return for Blackwood, who led the defence end with her competitiveness and intercept marking. Shan Egan showed her versatility with an inside running midfield role, with Alyssa Mifsud and Ange Gogos leading the team well on the ball. Grace Wake put on good body work at the stoppages, Emma Mackay and Vanja Smiljanic ran hard to create attacking momentum. The Falcons kept the Cats to just the one goal in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Ange Gogos worked hard at the stoppages, reading the ball well from Shan Egan and Sally Lynch. Quick hands from Piper Louey off the pack gave Ashleigh Gunn half a chance in the Darebin forward, but under pressure, the kick was off target for a behind. Karly McNeice, competing in the air, knocked it to Bec Goring. She managed a kick forward to Ashleigh Gunn, who danced and then had another attempt over her shoulder but didn’t quite get the distance. The Falcons forwards committed to keeping the ball in the attack with good tackle pressure. Sacha Kenna got a shot on goal, but it was unfortunately marked by a defender on the goal line. Half time, Geelong led by one goal to none.

The third quarter was tight. Falcons were able to build some good pressure, but were just not able to get the ball deep enough into their forwards. It wasn’t until the last 2 minutes of the 3rd quarter that Geelong managed to work an overlap for their second goal of the game. The Falcons were trailing by 17 points at the last break.
The final quarter started well for the Falcons with Ange Gogos winning the ball with yet another strong tackle. A strong shepherd from Egan gave Gogo’s kick more depth into the forward, but unfortunately just over the fingertips of the leading Steph Simpson. Lovely footwork and second efforts from Simpson gave her a shot at goal, but the ball bounced cruelly back on itself, through for a behind. Good hustle from the forwards kept the ball locked in. Kenna got another opportunity off the pack, but her kick was off line. Trading some intercept marks, Geelong did manage to put another goal on the scoreboard. Undeterred, the Falcons sent the ball again into their forwards. Millie Shone did well to gather and wheel around to get a balanced kick forward, which hit up a strong lead from Sabine Cowley du Parquet. Her shot at goal was accurate, but was touched on the line. With the sun right on the horizon and in the eyes, the Falcons kept their heads up and kept taking on the game. Geelong looked more settled in their line up in the final quarter and used the ball well to create more scoring opportunities, kicking 2.3 in the final quarter. Lynch and Blackwood got good position for intercept marks, sending the ball back into the centre. Wake too, took a lovely juggling one handed mark.

Coach Aasta O’Conner said that the game did have some positives, despite being disappointed in the result. “To be right up there throughout this match, even going into the last break, we were still in touch on the scoreboard, and that shows the growth in the group. There were positives to take from this game. This is a group that has real strength of character. The Falcons are keen to get that win, and the group is still driving to get more out of this season.”

Next Round, Darebin will play Western Bulldogs at ETU stadium on Sunday 21 May, 11am.

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