The Southern Saints will kick off their season on Sunday 28th February at 10:30am against Essendon at the Hangar in Tullamarine, as the AFL announced the fixture for the first round of the rebel VFL Women’s Premiership Season on Monday.
VFLW season breakdown:
14 games over 16 weeks starting Saturday February 27, 2021
12 Clubs – Carlton, Casey Demons, Collingwood, Darebin, Essendon, Geelong, Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Port Melbourne, Southern Saints, Western Bulldogs and Williamstown
Port Melbourne are new to the competition after announcing an alignment with Richmond for the 2021 rebel VFLW Season
Top Six finals series to commence in June to be played over four weeks
rebel VFLW Grand Final scheduled for the weekend of July 10, 2021
2019 VFLW Grand Final re-match between Western Bulldogs and Collingwood to be played in round three
Collingwood to play Essendon on the ANZAC Day weekend
The Saints are coming off an impressive preseason campaign, in which they won their opening two practice matches convincingly against North Melbourne and Williamstown and they will be looking to continue their good form into the season proper.
Sunday’s match marks the first test for the Saints and new Head Coach Dale Robinson in an exciting time for women’s football in Victoria, as the AFLW, VFLW and NAB league will all be played at the same time.
Robinson said she is looking forward to the alignment of the competitions.
“It’s a good avenue to have the programs working together,” she said.
“It gives the girls that are on the fringe of breaking into AFLW an opportunity to get some really good game time, but it also gives the girls at VFL level (who are aspiring to that level) an opportunity to learn from them and see what it takes.”
The new alignment with the other competitions means there will be some new faces around the Saints as well as some recognizable names.
The Saints leadership group will be made up of six players for 2021 and a trio of co-captains in Tara Bohanna, Deanna Jolliffe, and Frankie Hocking.
Speaking about the upcoming season, Hocking seemed excited about the prospects of the group.
“The feeling among the group is that we’re starting to click at the right time,” she said.
“We’ve been able to retain quite a few that were around for the 2020 season, so we’ve built a nice foundation and then we’ve gained a few extra players for 2021 - it’s all looking positive.”
Having made a preliminary final back in 2019, the Saints will be looking to again make a push for finals success in 2021 and Hocking is confident they can start their campaign off with a strong performance against Essendon on Sunday.
“We’ve got loads of energy - we’re ready to go.”
VFLW Round One: Southern Saints v Essendon
Date: Sunday 28th February
Venue: The Hangar, 275 Melrose Dr, Melbourne Airport VIC 3045
Written by Will Michael - Sandringham Football Club Media