VFLW 2022 Season Preview – Darebin

THE 2022 VFL Women’s season is almost here, so it is time to take a look at each of the competing teams and see where they sit as another season approaches. Today, Rookie Me Central takes a look at Darebin, who finished last in 2021.

2021 was another tough year for the Falcons. They only had the one win, which came against North Melbourne in Round 6, and their only other points for the season came when they drew with Williamstown in round 11.

But that was then, and this is now.

Firstly, the Falcons have had a coaching change heading into the 2022 season. The coach is now club legend and four time premiership player for the Falcons Kate Tyndall.

Tyndall is excited about returning to the Falcons and what she is hoping to be able to achieve as coach.

“It’s really exciting. I know the club really well, it’s been a really great environment for me as a player and a coach,” Tyndall said. “It’s definitely taught me a lot about footy but also a lot about what it means to be in an effective team and to be a team player and I’ve really enjoyed my time at the club. So, I guess coming back it’s an opportunity.

“I want to create that same environment I had as a player, an environment where people want to come to training and they want to get better and they want to do the team things so we can achieve something together.”

Tyndall said that preseason has been going well for the Falcons, and that a number of players had been standing out on the track.

“Our experienced players like Stephanie Simpson, and then some of the younger players that are looking to progress this year, Mikayla Plunkett, Alice Caddy,” she said. “We’re looking forward to Nicole Callinan returning, and also our new recruits in Simone Ruedin and Angelica Gogos.”

Alongside Ruedin and Gogos, a number of the juniors from the Falcons who are currently playing with the Northern Knights in the NAB League will come play for the VFLW side once the NAB League season is over. This includes Tannah Hurst, Lulu Beatty and Mia Haas.

The current structure of the VFLW may seem really detrimental to clubs like the Falcons, but Tyndall is more reflective about it all.

She noted how proud the Falcons are of the fact that they are the only club still in the League that was a part of the inaugural season back in 2017. She also noted

“I think for us as a club we’re about empowering girls and women, and we want to provide an environment which barriers for girls to play their best footy,” she said. “That might not necessarily equate to being on the top of the ladder or premierships, but we’re certainly still striving to provide an environment that our players get better.

“We’re not happy right now where we are, there’s still plenty of improvement that we have to do, but our vision and what our purpose is hasn’t changed.”

The Falcons may not be happy about where they are at the moment, but Tyndall hasn’t put a pass mark on the season. She said she’s more about the process then the results, and although she wants the side to be competitive and win games, she wants them to keep improving their process and in time that will result in improvement on the scoreboard.

“For us the preseason has been about building that environment so that everyone continues to get better,” she said. “As a team we spoke about knowing the game plan and trying to implement that and getting better each week. But I think, if we can just improve our skills and maybe how we move the footy, we might be able to give ourselves some more opportunities in the forward half of the forward half of the ground and hopefully increase out scoring opportunities.”

The Falcons had a practise match against Carlton last weekend, and despite the lopsided score line Tyndall said there were still positives they took out of the game.

“We took a lot of positives out of the practise match,” she said. “We’ve been trying to implement new things as a team this year and in particular in the way we want to move the footy, and I think that was really pleasing that the players were trying to implement the things that we’ve been working on during the preseason, particularly under the pressure of games. So look, there’s a lot of learnings we took out of the game on the weekend, and we’ll take the next couple of weeks to kind of go through each of those learnings.”

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