IT was a perfect season for the Geelong Falcons in 2018, winning every game and then taking out the TAC Cup Girls Grand Final by defeating the Northern Knights by 11 points in the decider. They showed a huge amount of depth throughout the season and had very few weaknesses across any of their areas – midfield, forward, defence and ruck – with talented players to complement every line. They looked good from start to finish and in the end got the job done and celebrated the ultimate prize – the premiership.
Position: 1st (Premiers)
R1: defeated Sandringham Dragons by 20 points
R2: defeated Greater Western Victoria Rebels by 39 points
R3: defeated Dandenong Stingrays by six points
R4: defeated Oakleigh Chargers by 70 points
R5: defeated Murray Bushrangers by nine points
R6: defeated Eastern Ranges by 31 points
R7: defeated Calder Cannons by 20 points
R8: defeated Northern Knights by eight points
R9: defeated Western Jets by 55 points
GF: defeated Northern Knights by 11 points
Olivia Purcell: A terrific hard-nosed inside midfielder who constantly laid tackles, did all the defensive things and one percenters right throughout the season. Purcell showed good burst out of a stoppage and a unique ability to stand up in a tackle. She occasionally moved around the ground to other positions, but was known for her ball-winning ability in the middle. In the AFLW Academy match against Geelong VFLW side, she more than held her own against bigger bodies. Expect her to be one to star at the National Under 18 Championships.
Nina Morrison: A whirlwind past six months, Morrison raced from being an addition in the AFLW Academy to being a genuine star of the competition. She has lightning speed and is a tackling machine. She would often burst out of congestion and break down opposition zones with her ability to take them on and move well in transition. She also showed her versatility in the final round against the Western Jets, moving to full-forward and booting three goals among an array of shots on goal in windy conditions. So strong overhead and hard to move in a tackle.
Lucy McEvoy: The Geelong Falcons captain is a bottom-ager but was one of the most consistent players throughout the season. She held down the fort in defence along with Denby Taylor and a number of 16 and 17 year-olds. McEvoy captained the side with great leadership and etched her name into the history books when she lifted the premiership cup aloft on grand final day. Strong overhead, an ability to play at either end, and the nous to position herself in the right areas to intercept and rebound make her a damaging defender.
Denby Taylor: Underrated player all season who stood out like a beacon on grand final day. The best on ground in the decider was everywhere, moving up to the wing and taking grab after grab and having multiple shots on goal in one of the best second halves of the year by any player. She played forward in the AFLW Academy match booting a couple of goals, but also held her own in defence which is where she prefers to be. Another player who is strong overhead and provides good drive out of defence out. A long kick of the football too.
Tarryn Love: Often found burrowing under packs, Love missed a number of games due to injury mid-season. But when she returned, Love was one of the more consistent players, always offering defensive pressure and shovelling out handballs to running teammates. She spent some time down forward and provided a smaller target at ground level. Had the first Falcons goal assist of the grand final and then booted the next goal moments later. An important player for any midfield.
Sachi DeGiacomi: The key forward was no doubt a tad unlucky not to receive a Vic Country jumper this season after a fairly consistent year. She provided a target and kicked goals in most of her games and became the first Falcons goalkicker in the grand final. DeGiacomi has already played one game for Geelong’s VFLW side and will look to establish herself in the state league.
Zoe Inei: The raw ruck prospect showed really promising signs throughout the season, and will be one to watch at the National AFLW Under 18 Championships. She has good athleticism and an ability to win clean taps around the ground. Moves well and can play up forward as well which is always important.
Geelong Falcons completed the 2018 season without a hitch – winning all 10 games they played and taking out the 2018 premiership. While many of the top-age players will make their way onto either AFLW or VFLW lists in the next 12 months, there are still plenty of bottom-age and 16 year-olds coming through the ranks that are likely to keep the success rolling, with Renee Tierney and Abbey Chapman a couple of bookends that will be ones to keep an eye on next season and beyond.