VFL Women's recap: Round 2
An undermanned Darebin has dug deep to defeat the Eastern Devils and claim a gritty first win of the season by 12 points at Bill Lawry Oval.
Missing key playmakers Daisy Pearce, Lauren Arnell and Norieul Kinross, the Falcons trailed at every change but took the lead with five minutes to play in the last quarter. A goal to Katie Brennan in the dying minutes iced a win that was as stirring for Darebin as it was crushing for the Devils, who lost their Round 1 clash to St Kilda in a carbon-copy result. The final score was Darebin 6.8 (44) defeating Eastern Devils 4.8 (32), as Callum O’Connor reports.
With Darebin coming off their first loss since 2015, the Devils had a chance to knock off the reigning premiers with the milestone matches of both Meg Hutchins (game 200) and Steph Carroll (50) an extra impetus for victory. After a quiet Round 1 debut at her new club, Emma King was the key player for the Devils in the first half. The Devils attacked through the Collingwood marquee player, happy to exploit the mismatch against King’s much shorter opponent Libby Birch. King had two goals in the first quarter as the Falcons were forced to drop midfield engineer Karen Paxman back into defence.
By half time, the Devils had forged a 10-point lead but poor kicking for goal denied them a larger buffer and it would eventually cost them in the second half.
Within minutes of the restart, it was clear Darebin had found an extra gear in their ability to not only win the ball but cleanly dispose of it. Gabby Colvin, one of four Falcons making their VFL debut in 2017, quickly drew the margin back to two points. Katie Brennan, engaged in a physical tussle with Pepa Randall, cleverly drew a free kick to convert from a set shot and Darebin had the lead. With Elise O’Dea and Jess Dal Pos winning the contested ball and giving their forwards every chance, it seemed the Falcons would run over the top of the Devils. However, they too blew chances in front of goal and opened the door for Jess Foster to steal the lead back for the Devils at the last change.
In a nerve-racking final quarter, Darebin tied the scores with a string of behinds before Mel Hickey marked from a kick-in and set up Lauren Pearce. From just 10 metres out, the Darebin ruck broke the deadlock and broke the Devils. The game was won by the time Brennan snared her third goal to push the final margin out to 12 points.
Post-game, Darebin coach Jane Lange was quick to point to the performances of the likes of Gabby Colvin and Isabelle Porter as an indication of the Falcons’ growing depth.
“We’re looking to build our best 22 out to a 25, a 27, a 29,” Lange said. “It was great the way they responded today.”
- CLICK HERE to watch a full replay of the game
In other results:
- Geelong remains on top of the ladder after a 47-point win against Seaford. The Cats set up the win with a six-goal-to-one first half, featuring 10 individual goalkickers for the game.
- Diamond Creek defeated Cranbourne by 77 points on the back of six goals from competition leading goalkicker Chloe Molloy.
- Melbourne Uni held on against a fast-finishing St Kilda to record a five-point victory. Leading by 24 points at three-quarter time, Uni did not score in the final quarter as the Sharks flew home with three goals for the term to just fall short.
- VU Western Spurs claimed back-to-back wins with a 67-point victory over Box Hill Hawks. Olivia Flanagan created history for the Hawks by kicking the club’s first-ever goal, but Alyssa Mifsud kicked five for the Spurs down the other end to ensure an undefeated start to the season for her club.
The competition has a bye this weekend, before returning May 27.
NEXT WEEK: Round 3
Saturday, May 27
Box Hill Hawks v St Kilda Sharks
Diamond Creek v Darebin
VU Western Spurs v Melbourne Uni
Sunday, May 28
Cranbourne v Geelong
Eastern Devils v Seaford
Photo: Kadek Thatcher