Saturday 29th July saw Darebin Falcons using their home match to celebrate some of the rich history of women’s footy. As a competition which started in 2018, 60% of our players are completely new to football, with only 40% of players with experience playing in other leagues when they were younger. This home and away match was a chance to share together both where we are today, and achievements from the past.
10 years ago, the Victorian Women’s Football League VWFL premier division Grand Final featured some of our very own Over 35’s Footballers. The Susan Alberti Cup that year was played at Coburg City Oval, between Darebin and Diamond Creek. The VWFL was the oldest and largest Australian rules football league for women in the world, consisting of 47 clubs from Victoria, Australia, across seven divisions and a total of over 1,000 players. Initially formed in 1981 with four teams competing at open level.
With Round 9 of the Women’s Over 35’s competition fixture at A.H. Capp, the day was an opportunity to celebrate that 2013 Grand Final. Having been runners up in previous seasons, 2013 was a redemption win. It was also the start of a strong run for the club, with the successful creation of strong women’s football programs that centred on girls and women’s experiences. Read more about this game here (https://falcons.org.au/darebin-falcons-take-home-the-susan-alberti-cup/?doing_wp_cron=1690952938.7033319473266601562500) The game included Over 35’s Women Comp player Jane Lange, who with Louise Potter, jointly won the Golden Boot in 2019’s Over 35’s competition. Other 2013 Premiership players Kathy Zacharopoulous, Natalie Wood and Sarah Hammond have played with the Over 35’s since 2019, and Shevaun Hogan, Aasta O’Connor joined this year.
Being able to continue to play on in the Over 35’s Women’s competition means that the players were able to share their love of footy with former and new players. Rather than reminiscing from the sidelines, players were able to get out their boots and showcase some silky skills, footy smarts, and of course, some great goal awareness.
It was also incredibly special to celebrate the 200 Game milestone for Shevaun Hogan. Shiv is a Darebin life member for her contributions on and off the field, joining the club in 2010. Playing footy since the age of 7, she was a founding member of the Eastern Devils in 1999. Shiv represented Victoria at the 2011 National Championships, and won 5 VWFL premierships. A knee injury in 2018 stranded Shiv on 195 games, but also gave her the opportunity to coach. With great footy smarts and a clear communication style, she has been part of the Darebin VFLW coaching panel for the last 5 years.
Joining the 2023 Over 35’s Women’s competition this year gave Shevaun Hogan the chance to make her 200 milestone game, and to showcase some of her amazing talent. Although known for her defence skills, on Saturday Shiv was played up forward. She kicked 2 goals in Darebin’s win to secure their place in the 2023 finals, to the absolute delight of the Falcons family on the sidelines.
Box Hill North also celebrated the 50th game for Sophie Marinos. As one of the 6 teams chasing the chance to play finals, the 2023 Over 35’s competition’s hotly contested season shows that improvement from first matches back in 2018. For both teams, sharing a game with the milestone players was a moment to celebrate, but also an opportunity for learning from the greats for the rookie players who are rapidly learning the game.
2023 Competition heats up
Although not getting the win in Round 9, Box Hill North are still in with a chance. They will need some extra percentage with a win in Round 10 to make the finals, but will have home crowd support when all 8 sides play at Box Hill North on Saturday 12 August. The 12 noon games feature Northside and Werribee, both keen to get a win, as well as Williamstown chasing a final berth and needing to beat ladder leaders Port Melbourne. At 2pm, Darebin v Parkside Spurs first match up of the season will determine who will finish 2nd on the ladder. And for the home team, Box Hill North will need the points and a percentage boost to get in over 4th placed Mordialloc/Peninsula. The non contact games will start from 10.30am for any new players who would like to come and try Over 35’s Womens’ Football.