Women’s Footy Rewind: 2017 VFLW Grand Final – the end of an era

WITH less women’s footy over the summer months than fans have become used to, we here at Rookie Me Central take you down memory lane and look back at key moments in women’s footy history from the past few years.

In today’s inaugural article, we rewind to 2017, and the end of an era in top flight Victorian Women’s Football.

For a long time in top flight women’s football, from the old VWFL and into the new VFLW competition, one rivalry stood out above all else – Darebin Falcons and the Diamond Creek ‘Creekers’.

The 2017 VFLW Grand Final was the sixth Grand Final in a row the two clubs had competed in in the top grade, with the Falcons gunning for their fifth flag in a row that day.

However, it was to ultimately be the end of an era, as after the 2017 season the Creekers, alongside the Eastern Devils and St Kilda Sharks, were forced out of the VFLW as the AFLW clubs started to bring in their own aligned state league sides.

Both sides that day were stacked with a lot of talent that either was already playing AFLW at the time or would go on to make the national league in the next few seasons.

The Teams

Diamond Creek

B: 4. T. Hetherington, 23. L. Morecroft, 10. R. Hicks

HB: 17. S. Chiocci, 7. K. Hicks, 13. E. Grant

C: 44. L.  Brazzale, 18. S.  Audley, 9. L.  Williams

HF: 38. A. Barden, 26. K. Harrington, 15. K. Loynes

F: 22. J. Kennedy, 2. B. Grech, 52. C. Molloy

R: 80. A. Downie, 5. K. Lamb, 42. A. Riddell

Int: 3. S. Abbatangelo, 1. L. Duryea, 25. J. Graham, 24. A. Saxton

Emg: 53. H. Bullas, 8. C. Fitzpatrick, 30. D. Haines, 66. G. Harvey, 21. A. Morcom

Darebin Falcons

B: 8. E. Birch, 14. M. McDonald, 21. K. Roe

HB: 10. G. Lawson-Tavan, 40. L. Pearce, 4. K. Paxman

C: 2. N.  Callinan, 18. M.  Hickey, 11. K.  Tyndall

HF: 13. L. Arnell, 16. K. Brennan, 19. E. Marinoff

F: 30. E. O’Dea, 34. S. Egan, 17. S. Simpson

R: 41. A. O’Connor, 6. D. Pearce, 12. J. Dal pos

Int: 27. S. Hogan, 43. A. Lister, 1. E. Oliver, 23. A. Reynolds

Emg: 36. C. Byrne, 32. G. Colvin, 47. E. Gardner, 22. G. Hammond, 39. K. McNiece

The game itself

It was a hard, strong contest early with neither side giving an inch, which is just what you would have expected of a clash between the two sides.

Although it was the Creekers who got the first point on the board, it was in fact the Falcons who got the first goal of the game. It came about 10 minutes into the first quarter, and came off the boot of none other than Meghan McDonald. Yes, the very same Meg McDonald that is now Geelong skipper in the AFLW.

It would take until the final minute of the quarter for either side to score another goal, and it went to the Falcons off the boot of the 2017 VFLW leading goal kicker, .

That would be the last score of the quarter as the Falcons took an 11-point lead into the first break.

The intensity from the first quarter well and truly continued into the second quarter. Neither side gave away an inch as clean and clear disposals were hard to come by.

The intensity was so high that neither side managed a goal in the quarter, with Darebin’s two behinds for the quarter all that was registered on the board.

The intensity continued in the third quarter, but the goal drought ended five minutes into the third term Ebony Marinoff – who came across from South Australia to play for the Falcons at state league level that season – slotted one straight through from straight in front.

Things went from bad to worse minutes later for the Creekers when star forward Chloe Molloy went down with a shoulder injury. She went down in a contest clutching at her shoulder, but after winning a free kick for her team still managed to go back and kick the Creekers’ first of the afternoon.

However that would be just about the last people saw of Molloy that day, with the now Collingwood star leaving the ground after the kick and not returning until the fourth quarter.

Darebin got their second of the term through former skipper Daisy Pearce, but Diamond Creek replied with seconds left in the quarter via Sophie Abbatangelo.

Those late goals saw the margin at 14 points in the Falcons’ favour at the final change.

Abbatangelo kicked her second about seven minutes into the last quarter, and suddenly the margin was back down to nine points.

However, Brennan booted her second minutes later to restore the Falcon lead to 15 points.

The Creekers got one more goal via Katie Loynes, but ultimately the Creekers ran out of time to bridge the gap any further, ultimately falling seven points short.

The Best on Ground Medal ultimately went to Falcons star Karen Paxman, who was prolific through the midfield in the win.

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