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VFLW: Southern Saints fall short to Falcons

We’re starting to use the ball a lot better – we’re starting to link up and exit the stoppage with more composure.
Peta Searle

The Southern Saints were all heart but were ultimately unable to claw victory away from a star-studded Darebin outfit, going down by four points at Bill Lawry Oval on Saturday afternoon.

The Saints fought valiantly, with Georgia Ricardo and TAC Cup prospect Eleanor Brown’s hard work around the ball instrumental in the Saints’ gutsy performance against the VFLW powerhouse.

With the Falcons boasting the likes of AFLW Bulldogs premiership player Nicky Callinan and Melbourne livewire Lily Mithen, the Saints focussed on the basics of defensive pressure and clean ball movement.

READ: VFLW Round 14 Preview

The Falcons dominated early, but the young Saints rose to the challenge and made the most of their opportunities.

In a tightly fought match, the Saints played with a composure that belied their relative inexperience.

A final quarter fightback saw the gap narrow, but the Falcons managed to hold on to run out victorious.

It was a tale of two Court(e)neys in the first quarter, as Courtney Jones and Courteney Munn were both able to penetrate Darebin’s defence, scoring a goal apiece in quick succession.

Jones kicked the Saints’ first major, before Munn followed two minutes later, converting a brilliant set shot from the boundary and putting the Saints into the lead.

Darebin piled on the goals early in the second term before the Saints steadied the ship and rounded out the half with two goals of their own to level the scores, courtesy of Amy Silver and Sophie Bolding.

Fresh off a three-goal haul last week, Tara Bohanna was in fine form again, kicking the Saints’ only goal of the third term after a spectacular overhead mark.

Spearhead Tara Bohanna flies high for a mark against Darebin

Two goals from Darebin put them in front late in the third term, giving them a one-goal advantage at the final break.

An early goal to the Falcons pushed their lead out to 11 points early in the final term, but the Saints dug deep and increased their defensive pressure.

A late goal from Courteney Munn kept the Saints’ hopes alive, but the Falcons were able to withstand the late surge, holding on to win by just four points.

Head coach Peta Searle was full of praise for her young team and their performance.

“It was a great team effort,” she said.

“We’re starting to use the ball a lot better – we’re starting to link up and exit the stoppage with more composure.”

Searle insists that consistency is the key to the Saints’ continued improvement.

“We keep working on things we need to work at,” she said.

“We have the same goals, the same approach, same focus – not much changes.”

The Southern Saints face league-leaders Collingwood next Saturday 18 August at Victoria Park.