The Southern Saints are off to a winning start in 2023 after beating the Darebin Falcons on Saturday afternoon.
Photography by Darcy Allen
The Southern Saints have defeated the Darebin Falcons by 33 points at La Trobe University in a great team performance to start the 2023 VFLW season.
Standout displays from Margaret Kershaw (19 disposals and 13 hit outs), Jemima Wrigley (17 disposals and a goal) and Winnie Laing (17 disposals and five tackles) contributed to the result.
Tessa Boyd also put in a strong performance across the half-back, collecting 17 disposals and helping to keep Darebin to only two goals for the match.
First time Saints Meg Ginnivan (ten disposals and seven tackles) and Sera Kaukiono (13 disposals and a goal) had fantastic starts to their careers in red, black and white.
A total of nine players made their first appearance in Saints colours. They included: Kershaw, Ginnivan, Kaukiono, Wrigley, Michelle Podnecky (11 disposals), Jemma Webster (11 disposals), Dakota Mason (one goal), Georgia Foran (12 disposals and a goal) and Sophie Phillips (15 disposals).
The Saints controlled the territory battle throughout the game surging the ball forward from stoppages and keeping it locked inside the forward half through forward pressure and structure behind the ball. The Saints went on to win the inside-50 count 41 to 14.
Kicking with the breeze in the first term the Saints managed a goal within 20 seconds of the first centre bounce as Co-Captain, Tayla Kearns broke through the 50-metre arc to fire home.
The Saints went on to kick four of the next five goals with majors from Kaukiono, Mason, Wrigley and Lucy Burke helping to build a 29-point lead into the half-time break.
Kaukiono showed great strength and balance to stroll through 50 and kick her first goal for the Club. Mason also demonstrated poise to burst through a tackle and slot the ball home.
In the play of the game at the start of the second quarter the Saints recovered a sure goal from half-back and worked it through the middle of the ground which allowed Wrigley to finish smartly into the breeze.
Burke also finished nicely following a fantastic chain of handballs from the Saints midfielders and forwards.
The Saints managed the game well in the second half as we limited Darebin’s chances to score and peppered the scoreboard ourselves – kicking one goal and four behinds in the third quarter.
Foran intercepted the ball in the front half and converted the set shot expertly in the third term to deny any momentum Darebin were looking to create. Her Saints teammates came from all parts of the ground to celebrate her first goal for the Club which turned out to be the sealer for this match.
It was a similar story in the final quarter as the Saints stopped Darebin from taking advantage of the breeze and kept them goalless in the final term.
The Saints' control of the ball was evident as we had almost 100 more possessions than Darebin and doubled their number of marks.
Charlotte Ryan also worked her way into the game well – finishing with 19 disposals and four marks.
Following a strong start to the season the Saints will look to get another victory when we play Essendon at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval on Sunday.