Darebin Falcons club champion Angelica Gogos contests the ball during the Round 5 match against North Melbourne. Picture: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos

Darebin found itself in unfamiliar territory in 2023 with the season starting poorly and never getting much better.


Position: 12th
W-L-D %: 0-14 (22.2%)
Players used: 30
Played every match: 6 – Shannon Egan, Angelica Gogos, Paije Kearney, Karly McNiece, Mikayla Plunkett and Millie Shone
AFLW players used: 0
Debutants: 10 – Mia Giannopoulos, Lauren Jatczak, Sacha Kenna, Zoe Larkins, Evie Lee, Piper Louey, Julia Phung, Stefania Velona, Grace Wake and Alesha White


Best and Fairest: 1st: Angelica Gogos, 2nd: Victoria Blackwood, 3rd: Shannon Egan, 4th: Sally Lynch; 5th: Alyssa Mifsud
Lambert-Pearce Medal votes: Angelica Gogos (7), Shannon Egan (1), Millie Shone (1)
Coaches MVP votes: Angelica Gogos (39), Alyssa Mifsud (7), Victoria Blackwood (5), Sally Lynch (5)
VFLW Team of the Year representatives: Nil
Goalkickers: Alyssa Mifsud (8), Sabine Cowley Du Parquet (3), Lauren Jatczak (3), Piper Louey (3)

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 02: Victoria Blackwood of the Falcons looks on during the 2023 VFLW Round 02 match between the Casey Demons and the Darebin Falcons at Casey Fields on April 2, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos)


(Averages – Minimum 6 matches)

Disposals: Angelica Gogos (20.8), Alyssa Mifsud (13.6), Karly McNiece (12.6)
Kicks: Angelica Gogos (17.1), Karly McNiece (10.4), Alyssa Mifsud (10.0)
Handballs: Simone Ruedin (4.8), Emma Mackay (3.7), Angelica Gogos (3.6)
Marks: Alyssa Mifsud (1.9), Sabine Cowley Du Parquet (1.9), Karly McNiece (1.8)
Tackles: Angelica Gogos (8.8), Mikayla Plunkett (7.6), Zoe Larkins (5.6)
Hitouts: Sally Lynch (22.0), Shannon Egan (20.3), Simone Ruedin (4.5)
Clearances: Angelica Gogos (6.9), Alyssa Mifsud (3.9), Steph Simpson (3.3)
Inside-50s: Angelica Gogos (3.7), Emma Mackay (1.9), Alyssa Mifsud (1.5)
Rebound-50s: Karly McNiece (4.9), Trinity Mills (4.1), Angelica Gogos (3.2)


The experienced Angelica Gogos again proved herself to still be one of the best players in the competition while fellow leaders such as skipper Steph Simpson, recruit Bec Goring, Alyssa Mifsud, Ashleigh Gunn, Karly McNiece and Emma Mackay all led from the front. The Falcons got games into plenty of youngsters as well, with 10 players making their VFLW debuts to give them plenty to work with for the future.


Obviously a winless season shows how far the Falcons need to go to get back to being the powerhouse club they used to be. 21 consecutive defeats seemed unthinkable when they were 5-2 midway through last season. Scoring was a big problem in 2023, with only one game producing more than three goals, and not once did an opponent score less than the Falcons’ best tally of 5.3 (33).


Club great Kate Tyndall did everything she could with the tools at her disposals and the youngsters blooded will be better for the experience. It would be great if more contemporaries from the golden era could come back to help put things back on the rails because footy is better with a strong Darebin.