Ella Southgate in action for the Darebin Falcons during the 2024 rebel VFLW season. Picture: Rob Lawson/AFL Photos

A review of all the action from Round 8 of the 2024 rebel VFLW season.


PORT MELBOURNE                  1.1        1.1        2.3        2.3 (15)
WESTERN BULLDOGS           2.0        4.3        4.3        7.6 (48)

WESTERN Bulldogs moved into third spot on the rebel VFLW ladder with their third victory in a row, adding reigning premier Port Melbourne to last week’s win over ladder-leader Box Hill with a comprehensive 23-point victory at ETU Stadium on Friday night.

The Bulldogs had not beaten the Borough in four previous attempts but with the superstar Ellie Blackburn putting on another masterclass, they took control in the first half and overcame a third-quarter lull to win easily.

Leading by 12 points at the last break despite a scoreless third term, the Bulldogs charged home with 3.3 to nothing to record a fifth win in eight games after just three victories last year and none in 2022.

Blackburn again showed her class with 16 disposals, seven clearances, six tackles, two goals, getting silver service from Keeley Hardingham (13 disposals, 42 hitouts, one goal) who comfortably had the better of Borough premiership player Beth Wilson (seven disposals and 23 hitouts).

Dom Carbone (19 disposals, six clearances, seven tackles), Jaimi Tabb (18 disposals, eight tackles, one goal) and Jasmyn Smith (15 disposals, eight tackles) were outstanding alongside Blackburn, while Caitlin Pickett’s defensive efforts were magnificent, Dom Carruthers laid 13 tackles and Analea McKee booted two goals.

Lisa Hardeman medallist Lauren Caruso (15 disposals, seven tackles) was Port Melbourne’s best, while Lily Hart (13 disposals, six clearances, six tackles), Ava Seton (10 disposals, 11 tackles, one goal) and Jordan Mifsud (10 disposals, eight tackles) also worked hard defensively despite being stymied in attack.



WILLIAMSTOWN                        0.3        1.4        3.6        4.8 (32)
NORTH MELBOURNE              1.0        2.3        3.3        4.4 (28)

WILLIAMSTOWN also broke through for a drought-breaking win, knocking off North Melbourne by four points in a thriller at DSV Stadium on Saturday to maintain its grip on second spot on the ladder.

The Seagulls were 0-4 against the Kangaroos but managed to hold on in a seesawing contest that saw the first six goals of an eight-goal game result in the lead changing hands.

In fact, it wasn’t until Neve Crowley broke a 17-minute goal drought to give the home team a 10-point advantage with seven minutes to play that either team could feel comfortable.

Although Nyakoat Dojiok’s third goal with just over one minute remaining set up a nerve-wracking finish that saw the ball on the Roos’ half-forward line when the siren sounded.

Ash Thorneycroft (16 disposals, five clearances, seven tackles) was tireless for a Seagulls team that won with 60 less disposals. Sharnie Whiting (two goals) kept the lead in the Rohenna Young Medal and Ella Tyson, Eliza Straford and Teagan Brett were also important.

Dojiok (15 disposals, five marks, six tackles, eight hitouts, three goals) couldn’t have done any more to get North over the line.

Matilda Zander (18 disposals, six tackles, six entries), Alana Barba (22 disposals, six clearances, nine tackles), Renee Tierney (20 disposals, seven clearances, 10 tackles, seven entries) and Nic Hales (19 disposals, five rebounds) were also prominent and Audrey Rhodes stuck 10 tackles.



DAREBIN FALCONS 2.3        3.5        5.5        7.6        48
CARLTON                        1.0        1.2        3.4        3.5        23


After an agonising 770 days and 28 consecutive defeats, the Darebin Falcons finally belted out their song after downing Carlton by 25 points at Genis Steel Oval.

The club most synonymous with women’s sport in Australia had not saluted since beating Williamstown 2.3 (15) to 0.3 (3) way back on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

But they had been getting closer to Saturday’s watershed moment after a big recruiting drive in the off-season and some competitive performances in the first half of the year.

The losing streak had started in Round 8, 2022, and it was broken in Round 8, 2024, in dominant fashion as they won three of the four quarters and never looked like losing on a remarkable day that later saw their new alliance partner Northern Bullants also break a long drought at the same venue.

The writing was on the wall from the time Caitlin Bunker and Ella Southgate kicked truly in the last three minutes of the opening term and the Falcons stretched the lead to 27 when Southgate booted her second in the eighth minute after half-time.

Amy Trindade and Sophia McCarthy narrowed the Blues’ deficit to 13 at three quarter-time and created some nervous moments, but it was fittingly the Falcons’ best player throughout the losing run, Ange Gogos, who received a 50m penalty when Mel Staunton ran over the mark and slammed it home from the goal-line in the fifth minute of the last term to get the party started.

The experienced Gogos finished with 30 disposals, 10 clearances, eight tackles, five inside-50s and that goal in another dominant performance. Co-captain Bunker (22 disposals, eight clearances, seven tackles, one goal), Alyssa Mifsud (21 disposals, 10 clearances) and star forward Monique De Matteo (14 disposals, three goals) were also outstanding, De Matteo kicking multiple goals for the third week in a row.

Trindade (23 disposals, eight marks, five clearances, five tackles, one goal), Hannah Scott (26 disposals, five marks), Hannah Bowey (21 disposals, five rebounds) and Isla Baldwin (24 disposals, five entries) did their best to keep Carlton in it, but the Blues slipped a game and percentage outside the top six with six rounds to play.



ESSENDON                    1.2        6.3        7.6        10.7 (67)
CASEY DEMONS        0.2        1.2        4.2        4.2 (26)

TIA Davidge sparked a devastating run of five goals in nine minutes as Essendon blasted the Casey Demons by 41 points on its return to Windy Hill to climb up to fourth spot on the ladder.

The Bombers led by just a point when Niamh O’Neill kicked Casey’s first goal seven minutes into the second term, but Davidge responded with a running goal from the next centre bounce and then converted from a contested mark a couple of minutes later to spark an avalanche that blew the lead out to 31 points by half time.

Casey did kick the first three goals of the third term to get back within 16 points but never looked like getting back into the game, failing to hit the scoreboard again as the Bombers gained a percentage booster.

Essendon finished with 72 more disposals, 16 more clearances and 25 more inside-50s as Matilda Dyke (21 disposals, 17 hitouts, five clearances, five tackles, one goal) dominated around the ground.

Kodi Jacques (22 disposals, seven clearances, five tackles), Ash Melnikas (19 disposals, nine clearances, five tackles), Ruby Mahony (19 disposals, five clearances, five tackles) and Alex Morcom (17 disposals, five tackles, eight entries) controlling the midfield and third-gamer Emily Tassiopoulos and Davidge starred up forward with three goals each.

Meg Macdonald (20 disposals) did her best to keep the Demons in touch, with Grace Hill (17 disposals, seven rebounds) leading an under-siege backline, but they and Sammie Johnson (13 disposals) were the only the Demons in the top 15 ball-winners on the ground.



GEELONG CATS          0.0        0.1        0.1        0.1 (1)
COLLINGWOOD         2.1        4.2        5.4        6.7 (43)

GEELONG became only the second team to reach 100 rebel VFLW matches when it took on Collingwood at Deakin Reserve, but the celebration turned into a nightmare as the Magpies soared to a thumping 42-point win.

Geelong managed just a solitary behind – the lowest score in its history – and suffered its biggest ever loss to Collingwood on a horror day in extremely windy conditions.

To make matters even worse for the Cats, they also lost key forward Liv Cicolini to what looked like a serious knee injury in the second quarter.

The Magpies simply ground the Cats into the turf, although there were highlights, headed by a stunning goal from the pocket in the opening term by Sarah Sansonetti, while Jaide Anthony overcame a heavy bump to be the visitors’ leading ball winner with 22 disposals and eight clearances.

Sarah Ingram (21, eight tackles, five entries) starred in the middle, Erica Fowler (three goals) was too powerful for the Cats’ defence and on the rare occasions Geelong went forward (14 entries), it was turned back by Lambert-Pearce medallist Akayla Peterson (15, four rebounds).

Geelong had few players who could hold their heads high and was guilty of overusing the handball in tough conditions, although Lily Jordan (19, six clearances, 13 tackles), Abbey McDonald (26, eight tackles), Brooke Plummer, Bella Smith and Jo Sunderland never stopped trying.



SOUTHERN SAINTS 0.0        2.5        2.5        2.6 (18)
BOX HILL HAWKS     1.0        1.1        3.2        4.5 (29)

BOX HILL Hawks broke a two-match losing streak and maintained top spot on the ladder with a gutsy 11-point victory over Southern Saints at Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve on Sunday.

The Hawks were kept well in check by a desperate Saints outfit for most of the day but responded under severe pressure in the last quarter, outscoring their opponent into a strong wind to protect a slender three-point lead from the final change.

Eastern Ranges debutant Grace Belloni proved the hero with the sealing goal in the last minute.

Earlier, the Saints had defended marvellously well, holding Box Hill to a solitary goal with the wind in the first term and then dominating the second, although they missed the chance to build a big lead by kicking 2.5.

With Hawthorn AFLW captain Tilly Lucas-Rodd proving a class above off half-back, the Hawks did better second time around with the breeze as clutch goals from Matilda van Berkel and Tam Luke turned a 10-point deficit into a three-point lead.

While the lead didn’t look like being enough, the Hawks found another gear and dominated the last term, even though they didn’t get the reward until Sophie Butterworth’s kick found Belloni running into an open goal.

Lucas-Rodd was the clear best afield, turning the Saints back time and again with expert reading of the play on the way to 30 disposals, seven marks and five rebounds.

Tamara Luke (16 disposals, 29 hitouts, six clearances, five tackles, one goal), Sophie Locke (20 disposals, 10 tackles, five entries), Caitlin Thorne (15 disposals, five clearances, nine tackles) and Belloni (15 disposals, one goal) were also good.

Full-back Georgia Foran (21 disposals, seven marks, seven rebounds) and the Saints’ only AFLW-listed player, Caitlin Matthews (16 disposals, seven marks), were terrific in defence for their team.

Jemima Wrigley, Winnie Laing and Charlotte Ryan provided strong run and carry, Abbey Tregellis was strong in the air and young ruck Maddison Torpey put in a lion-hearted effort against a much-more experienced opponent in Luke, but their efforts couldn’t stop the Saints falling to a sixth-consecutive loss.