Saturday 12th February 2022, Latrobe University
Darebin Falcons 6.1-37 def Williamstown 5.4-34
The Falcons opened their 2022 VFLW campaign with a courageous, nail biting, come-from-behind win on Saturday. The Falcs family were absolutely screaming on the line as the players dug deep and put their bodies on the line in a heated battle with Williamstown Seagulls. Williamstown charged off with seven scoring shots for 5 goals in 15 minutes, with many Falcons looked quite surprised to be playing VFL in February. However, the quarter time break allowed the team to reset, and with some clear instructions from the experienced coaching panel, the Falcons were able to get out of their heads and back into the game. Plenty of grit and determination, combined with accuracy on the scoreboard resulted in an exciting 3 point win.
Williamstown came out firing and really played some beautiful football in the first quarter. Despite efforts from the Falcons to hold up play, there was a lack of effective pressure, and the Seagulls ran through packs creating havoc, and were given too much room to send the ball forward. Head Coach Kate Tyndall said that the first quarter was not the performance she had been was anticipating from her first game at the helm. “We had been working really hard, and I felt we had a good preseason, so this was definitely not what I was expecting. So the quarter time message really was ‘we have to compete!’ “
In the second term, the Falcons went out as a team looking determined to make up for their poor start. Some good body work, and clean ball movement led by the team’s leadership group created more dangerous entries into the forward. With great attacking pressure Callinan got the Falcons on the board with a goal scored from a free kick awarded from deep in the pocket. Misfud also created another scoring attempt which was just off-line. Williamstown were pressing hard, and looking to wrestle the momentum back but managed only one scoring shot which went out of bounds on the full. With noticeably more composure, the Falcons defenders were well organised bringing the ball out of the back line. A strong contested mark from Cowley Du Parquet linked up with glorious run from half back from Meyer, who bounced and kicked a long goal from the 50 metre arc. Showing her pace to take on the game, Meyer nearly repeated the dose a few minutes later but was caught before she could get her kick away. The margin was still 19 points at half-time but the Falcons had definitely showed that they were back in the game.
The third quarter was an arm wrestle with both teams tackling hard and putting on strong pressure. In her first game as a Falcon, Emma Mackay used her speed to get a valuable toe poke forward. Hazlett attacked well to get the pickup off the ground and a nice little kick found Simpson on a lead. The Falcons leading goal scorer from 2021 went back and kick truly to open her account for 2022. A short time later, a lovely bit of roving off a ball-up with Gogos handballing to Celebre, who snapped her first goal as a Falcon. Williamstown again had some momentum in the last part of the quarter, sending the ball forward only to be repelled by the fine efforts of the Falcons backline. Relentless pressure from McNiece, Blackwood, Ruedin, Lawson-Tavan and Gunn meant that the score line at three quarter time was Seagulls 33-25 Falcons.
The Falcons were quick off the mark in the final term, with Gogos finding space to wheel around and kick over the mess for a great goal 3 minutes in. Then a quick kick from Mifsud deep into the forward line was best read and well marked by Simpson. Going back and putting the goal through, Captain Simpson put the Falcons in the lead for the first time all game. With 10 minutes still left in the quarter, Williamstown were pushing hard with a quick snap narrowly missing and going through for another behind. The entire team found another level of determination as they committed to keeping the Seagulls from scoring. Led by vice captains Callinan and Lawson-Tavan, the Falcons ran hard to make a contest all over the field.
If Mikaela Meyer’s glorious run goes down for consideration for goal of year (and it should!), then Angelica Gogos almighty 10th tackle of the game in the final minute will also be a deserving entry in the year’s highlight reel as an illustration of the sheer effort and tenacity that was needed to get the team over line.
Captain Steph Simpson said “overall, I am just really proud of the way the whole group responded. Once we clicked into gear in the second quarter, it was really pleasing to see us match Williamstown’s physicality, and also see us move the ball, which we have worked on really hard during the pre-season. It was a hugely contested game, and the team kept competing until the final siren.” Coach Kate Tyndall was also really appreciative of the team’s contest “we wanted to put up a competitive fight, it was so pleasing that we did that in the last 3 quarters. Especially in front of everyone’s support. The way that they were there with us today was really special”
With WVFL Life members Ann Rulten, Leesa Catto and Di Smith also watching the game from the sidelines, the Falcons were reminded of their proud history in the state competition, and of the significance of the club’s battle against the odds to just get on the field. Darebin is the last remaining side from the re-launched VFLW season in 2017, and the only independent club. The Round 1 schedule featuring this clash as the only 2 sides which are not aligned with AFLW sides in the comp, and the game was a significant reminder of women’s footballing history and the hard work that has gone into Victoria’s state competition.
As well as excitement on the sidelines, the game generated lots of buzz with a great article in the Northern Leader, on afl.com, and there was plenty to talk about on social media.
More about the Falcons in the media
Goal Kickers: S.Simpson (2), N.Callinan, N.Celebre, A.Gogos, M.Myer
The replay and all live VFLW matches in 2022 can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/user/AFLVictoria
Or download the much-improved 2022 version of the official VFLW app
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