Seagulls snap Falcons hoodoo in opening round thriller
By Paddy Farley
After 554 long awaited days since our last VFLW match, premiership points were finally there for the taking once again. It was a new-look Williamstown that took on Darebin in Round 1 of the 2021 season as 13 players donned the blue and gold for the first time.
There weren’t only firsts on the field though, as Penny Cula-Reid was able to finally coach her first regular fixture match after being appointed head coach in late 2019.
The sun was beaming down and it was pristine conditions at La Trobe University, with both sets of fans - including many of the Club's VFL coaching staff and players in a great show of support - eager to have football back after last year's season cancellation. It was a wonderful sight to see the blue and gold colours back in the stands.
It was a goalless affair in the first quarter despite Williamstown applying plenty of pressure and playing the more attacking game from the first bounce, as they were able to manage eight inside 50 entries and have the majority of the play spent in their front half. Despite the strong first quarter performance from the Seagulls, the Falcons led by a slender two points.
The game opened up throughout the middle quarters as both sides started playing free flowing football.
A mentionable highlight came from Ruby Tripodi who, in the second term, slotted a magnificent ‘balk’ goal after picking up a loose ball and weaving her way around an opponent.
Williamstown went into the premiership quarter still trailing by two points and it was a quarter reminiscent of the first - plenty of ball forward with little scoreboard pressure.
That was until inside mid Megan Williamson snared a crucial major mid-way through the term to wrestle the lead back for the Seagulls for the first time since the early seconds of the contest.
As Darebin started to hit their straps and surge the ball forward, they were unable to get it past Williamstown’s strong back six, led by Skipper Erin Meade, Sasha Long and newcomer Lana King as their relentless courage and unmatched marking ability was put on full display.
The seagulls led by the slimmest of margins heading into the final stanza and the intensity noticeably lifted, with every possession amplified in the context of the match. Darebin pushed and tested the Seagulls' defensive structure as the final siren neared.
But despite the home side's efforts, Williamstown was able to hold on and capture a spirit-lifting, memorable two-point victory and their first against Darebin.
Round 2 of the VFLW season is expected to be released this Monday.
Williamstown 2.5 (17)
Darebin 1.9 (15)
M. Williamson 1, R. Tripodi 1
M. Williamson, E. Meade, G. Biedenweg-Webster, A. Whelan, R. Tripodi, L. King
Watch a full replay of the match below: