Flying Falcons free of win drought burden

IT has been a long time coming, but after more than 700 days without a win the Darebin Falcons finally got back on the VFL Women’s winners list on the weekend, and their coach Lache Walker was certainly a happy man post-match.

After promising performances against the likes of Geelong and Port Melbourne in recent weeks, momentum was building to finally end the drought.

“It was just a matter of time until we put all the pieces together,” Walker said. “Our kids stepped up and had developed enough, we had the right mix and everyone in the right positions, and we built that team chemistry with enough games to get the win.”

Unsurprisingly after an achievement as big as this one, Walker confirmed that the victory did take a weight off both his and the groups’ shoulders.

“There was a lot of emotion after the game,” he said. “It’s just nice to get reward for effort in the context of this season, and that’s just been something that’s been really great to have.

“The players know that we’re on the right track and we are growing and developing, and that everything we’ve done since preseason has been building towards that moment… Particularly when you’re not winning games, it’s about focusing on the positives and how we’re growing as a team.”

A number of players’ efforts stood out to Walker in the win, and one of those was forward Sabine Cowley Du Parquet, who Walker thinks played “one of her best games of the season”.

“It’s been really great to work with ‘Sab’, her contested marking and aerial game is her strength,” Walker said.

“I think what she’s really enjoyed this year is having some really strong structure in place and being a really predictable team to each other and that’s being able for her to utilise her strength and her read on the ball and contest as well.

“When Sab goes out there and she has that self belief and that confidence she can do anything, so it’s been really great to see her just coming leaps and bounds since last year.”

Sabine Cowley du Parquet and Ange Gogos were both crucial in getting the Falcons the win on the weekend. Picture Credit: DAEJ Media

Someone who has added different dimensions to her game this season is fellow forward Monique DeMatteo, with Walker noting that DeMatteo has played a “different role” compared to her last few seasons and she is “starting to see reward for effort”.

“She gets higher up the ground in terms of just that structure and has now really built in that work rate into her game between the arcs and going back to inside 50,” he said.

“Mon’s been really good in terms of providing really deep options, developing our younger forwards as well.”

Walker also praised Falcons’ vice-captain Riley Christgoergl, who has become a leader at her new side after previously being captain at the Western Bulldogs VFLW and a member of the leadership group at Collingwood VFLW last season.

“Riley’s been a really important part of our defence and we knew that at the start of the year that she’d be really key cog for us” Walker said.

“Riley’s really great at developing the people around her and doesn’t just focus on herself. She’s really selfless and I think too, just that leadership she brings to the backline enables us to have really great clarity even if we get scored against.”

The Falcons face the ladder leaders Box Hill this coming weekend, but despite it being a daunting task Walker is not scared of the challenge in front of him.

“We just focus on ourselves and what we can do to improve and playing our own brand of footy and being an independent footy club and not being AFLW-aligned, we think that’s our strength and that’s what sets us apart,” he said.

“Coming against Box Hill this week, it’s just another opposition for us, and we feel if we can execute everything that we need to, that we can walk away with the four points.”

“I think that’s just the expectation of the group every week that we do everything that we can and we focus on ourselves and if we follow enough of our processes and we’re competitive enough, then the scoreboard looks after itself.

“We’re really confident, we’re full of spirit and really feel like if we just play ‘Falcs footy’ that we’ll walk away with the four points on the weekend.”

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