PREVIEW | VFLW Round 1 – It all begins today

IT has been a long time coming, but finally the VFLW is back.

Eight months after Port Melbourne famously claimed its first VFLW title, it is time to do it all again.

There has been plenty of change across the league during the offseason, both within the on-field brigade and the off-field one.

Across the league there are seven new coaches, with Collingwood (Tom Cashin), Essendon (Cherie O’Neil), Carlton (Glenn Strachan), North Melbourne (Brett Gourley), Darebin (Lache Walker), Casey (Matt Brewer) and Box Hill (Michael Ericson) all having new bosses this season.

There has been plenty of list changes in the offseason too, with some clubs heading into 2024 with totally new lists.


Box Hill Hawks

Finalists the past couple of years, the Hawks will be looking to finally take that next step and make a serious tilt for the flag.

They have recruited from far and wide in the offseason.

Danika Spamer and Jessica Cox have come to Box Hill from interstate to try their hand at the VFLW, while recent AFLW delistings Jessica Matin and Tess Cattle have also chosen to call City Oval home this season.

There are plenty of familiar faces at the club still though, including Nicole Garner, Nadia Von Bertouch and Ellie McLinden.


After a much improved season in 2023, the Blues head into 2024 with a very young list, with only a small percentage of players born before the year 2000.

They too have looked north for their recruiting strategy, picking up young NSW talents Mel Staunton and Asha Turner Funk. They have also gone to the pool of recently delisted AFLW players for some signings, picking up the likes of Sophia McCarthy and Hannah Bowey.


Casey will be looking to turn things around this season after a bit of a poor 2023, and have brought in some very experienced heads to help do so. This includes the return of former captain Samantha Johnson, plus former AFLW players Sarah D’Arcy and Casey’s 2024 captain Meg Macdonald.

There has also been an injection of youth, with Olivia Morris coming down from NSW to join sister Ella in red and blue.


Last year’s runners-up have had the most list changes, with only one member of the Grand Final squad still at the club.

They have also sourced their new players from quite a number of places. These new players include Coates Talent League graduate Ava Campbell, former AFLW Dee Jordan Ivey, reigning Lambert-Pearce medalist Akayla Peterson, former University of Queensland pair Kristen Tyquin and Kaitlyn Day, and former Melbourne Victory goal keeper Melissa Maizels.


Collingwood’s loss has certainly been Darebin’s gain, with seven former Pies now calling the Falcons home, including the likes of Caitlin Bunker, Monique DeMatteo and Riley Christgoergl.

They join returning experienced heads Simone Ruedin, Alyssa Mifsud, Stephanie Simpson and Angelica Gogos to help provide some much needed experience to the young Falcons side, who will be looking to improve on what was a season to forget in 2023.


Although it was going to be near impossible to replicate the success of 2022 last year, the Bombers still made finals and will be looking to do so again this season.

Under the leadership of El Chaston, the Bombers have recruited the likes of former AFLW players Christina Bernardi and Sarah Perkins, former Falcon Karly McNeice, former NSW youngster Marnie Robinson and Coates Talent League graduate Ava Jordan.


Geelong has added youth while losing a bit of experience this offseason.

Recent Coates Talent League graduates Lily Jordan and Johanna Sunderland are among the ins, but Chloe Leonard, Sachi DeGiacomi and Breanna Beckley have all left the side, so it may fall to the likes of Cheryl De Groot, Poppy Schaap and Olivia Cicolini to really lead the team.

North Melbourne

North is another side that has recruited plenty of former Pies. Among the group of is ruck Sarah King, lively forward Nyakoat Dojiok and young mid Tricia Cowan.

They join returning names Emily Paterno and Kayla Peake at a side that will be looking to finally break the ceiling and make finals in 2024.

Port Melbourne

Not even a premiership win could help the Borough avoid at least a little bit of list turnover.

Many of the premiership stars are still at North Port Oval, including the likes of Federica Frew, Claire Dyett, Emily Harley and Isobel Hartog, but among the inclusions include reigning Lambert-Pearce Medalist Jordan Mifsud, former University of Queensland mid Ava Seton and past Casey Demon Belinda Woolcock.

Southern Saints

The Saints are another side who will be looking to take the next step and be more of a finals threat in 2024.

Among the new faces at Moorabbin this season are a couple of big forward targets. Eva Nikolitsis has come across from Collingwood, while Chloe Hunt has made the move up to VFLW from local level football.

They join the likes of Tayla Kearns and Gabriella De Angelis who are returning to the club this season, but one face who will not be returning is lively forward Kayla Ripari.

Western Bulldogs

The Bulldogs will be looking to build on how the 2023 season went for them, and one thing they targeted with their offseason recruiting was leaders. That is why the likes of Courtney Ugle, Nicole Callinan and Mia-Rae Clifford are all now calling the Whitten Oval home.

They join returning experienced heads Mary Sandral and Sarah Skinner.


The Seagulls have also looked near and far to add to their list and help improve off the back of a breakthrough 2023 season.

Ashlee Thorneycroft has come across from Carlton, while defender Laura Blue has come down from Coorparoo in Queensland to test herself in the VFLW.

A couple of ex-Seagulls are also returning this season, with Bridie Kennedy and Gabrielle Biedenweg-Webster returning to the club after stints in the AFLW.

The quartet join experienced returning heads Emily Eaves, Lori Stepnell and Erin Meade.

VFLW Round 1 Fixture

Southern Saints vs Collingwood – Tonight at 7:05pm – RSEA Park

Essendon vs Port Melbourne – Saturday at 10:05am – The Hangar

Geelong vs Carlton – Saturday at 11:15am – GMHBA Stadium

Western Bulldogs vs North Melbourne – Saturday at 12:05pm – Whitten Oval

Darebin vs Williamstown – Saturday at 5:05pm – La Trobe University

Casey Demons vs Box Hill Hawks – Sunday at 11:05am – Casey Fields

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