Round 10 of the Swisse Wellness VFL Women’s season produced wins to Darebin, the VU Western Spurs, Melbourne Uni, the Box Hill Hawks and Diamond Creek, as windy conditions made for unpredictable results.
As Callum O’Connor reports, the Darebin Falcons withstood Geelong’s defensive press and a thundering gale to win their seventh consecutive match by 13 points at Ikon Park.
In a curtain-raiser to the Peter Jackson VFL match between Geelong and the Northern Blues, Darebin kicked two goals against the wind in the first quarter before the Cats locked the game down with a heavily congested style. Geelong debutant Millie Klingbeil gave her side a sniff with a goal in the last term, but it was too little too late as the Falcons won a low-scoring contest 2.8 (20) to 1.1 (7).
Darebin rested stars Melissa Hickey and Darcy Vescio but the Cats were up to their necks in injuries with Elise Strachan, Alisha Habib, Maddison Janssen and Jaime Woollett sidelined and ruck Kate Hoare unavailable. They looked in trouble when the Falcons goaled through Katie Brennan and Georgia Hammond in the first quarter despite kicking into one of the strongest south-westerlies ever to blow through Carlton. Geelong piled numbers back to stem the bleeding but this played into Darebin’s hands as Libby Birch, Meg McDonald and Nicole Callinan swept behind the play to gather and rebound at will.
The Cats stuck at their defensive press and ground play to a standstill after quarter time. The Falcons were still on top in the clearances thanks to ruck Lauren Pearce but were confronted by blue and white every time they went forward. Geelong was well served by Renee Garing, Bec Goring and Anna Teague on the last line of defence.
Darebin held a 16-point half-time lead and the Cats began the third quarter looking to score quickly with the wind. However, after Geelong forward Michelle Fedele sprayed a snap deep in the forward pocket, the Falcons regained control of the play. Darebin champion Daisy Pearce played a grand second half through the middle as her side maintained an 18-point buffer at the final change.
The fourth term began with the match more evenly poised than the gathered crowd had anticipated. The Falcons stormed forward only for Lauren Pearce and Lauren Arnell to miss gettable set shots. With four minutes remaining, the Cats finally broke through as Klingbeil swivelled onto the right to kick a memorable first goal and leave the door ajar for a massive boilover. Geelong had one last chance, but a desperate defensive effort spared Darebin, which went on to run the clock down. The contest may have been ugly, but the Cats left the field with their heads held high by virtue of keeping the Falcons goalless for three quarters.
“We know that Darebin are a fantastic team, so it was a chance for our girls to test themselves against some really good opposition,” Geelong coach Paul Hood said. “It was about how hard we competed and our ability to think our way through the game and I thought we did that really well.”
In other Round 10 results:
- The wind played even more havoc in the clash between the VU Western Spurs and Seaford at Burbank Oval. The Spurs’ four first-quarter goals were the only majors for the day in their 4.5 (29) to 0.4 (4) victory, which keeps them well and truly in finals contention but left the bottom-placed Tigerettes still looking for their first win.
- The Box Hill Hawks backed up their inaugural victory with an upset 20-point win over Cranbourne at Frenken Homes Oval. The young Hawks started well and never looked back as their defence adjusted to the wind in the 4.2 (26) to 1.0 (6) success, which saw Box Hill jump the Eagles to sit in eighth position.
- Diamond Creek remain ladder-leaders after avenging their Round 5 loss to St Kilda in a thriller at Plenty War Memorial Park. Creeker midfielders Shae Audley and Lisa Williams sank clutch goals in the last quarter as their side came from behind to celebrate Millie Barden’s 100th game with a 5.7 (37) to 4.8 (32) win.
- After back-to-back losses, Melbourne Uni reinforced its finals chances with a confidence-boosting 55-point win over the Eastern Devils, 17.4 (106) to 8.3 (51). The Mugars had 11 different goalkickers, including veteran defender Cecilia McIntosh who marked her VFL Women’s return with two goals in a cameo as a forward, while Sarah Perkins played a lone hand inside 50 for the Devils with six majors. CLICK HERE to view a full replay