VFLW Round 12 – St Kilda v Darebin: What Katie Brennan did next

VFLW Round 12 St Kilda Sharks v Darebin Falcons




Sunday 2pm, Peanut Farm Reserve, St. Kilda


The wonderfully named Peanut Farm Reserve was the backdrop for a stunning Katie Brennan performance on Sunday afternoon. I have a lot of questions about this oval’s name. Was it a peanut farm? When? Do you call the crowd at the Farm the peanut gallery? I could go on, but thankfully I won’t. Peanut Farm is lovely spot. You can hear the screams from Luna Park as you watch the match and just see the scaffold of the Scenic Railway over the top of the trees.

I arrived at the Farm at quarter time, a bit disheveled and tired out. It’s been a tough week in our household. The Little Guy is having a rotten winter with asthma and Saturday was taken up by visits to the Royal Children’s Hospital (long may they treat and prosper). He was okay by Sunday, so he stayed at home with his other mother and they watched endless episodes of Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom on the iPad. Also, there’s a strong chance there’ll be a postal ballot on our right to marry. But more on that later.

The Big Kid was off at her mate’s place, so  I turned up Fleetwood Mac in the car and rocked up alone. I took my place on the boundary line near the Darebin bench. D. Vescio is injured so there she was, doing stats. Libby Birch* was out too – I can only assume injured. Birch had an epic and fascinating battle with young gun and definite top 4 draft pick Chloe Molloy**  last week in the Falcons’ terrific win over Diamond Creek.


Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: the Falcons demolished the Sharks, especially in a six goal to zero effort in the second quarter. The Falcs had better spread from the contest, a disciplined approach to defence, and superior targets up forward. The Falcons won the ball, passed cleanly and had, in Brennan, a virtually unbeatable forward. During the last quarter, Darebin even had a version of Pagan’s Paddock*** going on, with the ball being kicked into space for Brennan to run on to. They got two goals this way – one to Brennan and another to Relle Byrne. And Katie Brennan? How do we count the ways she excelled on Sunday? She really is a player who can do it all. She’s fit enough to run on the ball, tall enough and strong enough to play as a key forward, and athletic enough to kick them on the run—around the corner and from a long way out. Her kicking was on song on Sunday, sending them through halfway up the post from 50 out. I’d love it if every detractor of the women’s game watched Brennan play. That’s the level of skill and fitness of a semi-professional athlete. Imagine when they can be full-time players?


Apart from a spirited three goal streak in the third term, the Sharks looked out of sorts, with the usual exception of the remarkable physical and skilled football of Carlton marquee player Brianna Davey. After kicking five goals last week against the Eastern Devils, the Sharks’ Jasmine Garner worked hard for a one goal return, but she was well held by the Darebin backs. The Sharks had no real answer for the Falcons on-ballers, lead this week by Karen Paxman’s grit, skill and play-reading off half back.  Coach Jane Lange must be thrilled with the development of some of her younger players too. Kathleen Roe had another good game, and players like Gabby Colvin are looking better every week. And listen up: here’s my traditional plug for my favorite Falcon, Meghan McDonald. Having smothered the ball with her face and come off for a check up, Meg Mac ran back onto the field of play, intercepted a loose ball, handed off under pressure, got the ball back and kicked a fine pass to Brennan while being tackled. KB didn’t let Meg Mac’s effort be for naught; she duly converted. It was the kind of moment I imagine a coach highlighting in an end of match wrap-up: the tough sacrifice play, followed by the team goal.


This game was a major let down for the Sharks who probably fancied their chances given their form over the last month.They would have had cause to believe that they had a finals spot sewn up, but this is not the case: if Darebin, Diamond Creek and Melbourne Uni fill out the top three spots, that leaves the Sharks, the surging Geelong side and the Western Spurs vying for the top four and finals. There’s no doubt that the Sharks missed new recruit Tayla Harris on Saturday, but then again, the Falcs played without Vescio, the wizard of the forward line and Darebin’s leading goalkicker.


And what exactly will Katie Brennan do next? Well the Falcons have another trip beach side next week to play bottom placed Seaford at their home ground. On current form, it looks like Seaford will be in for a very, very, very bad day. Or a learning experience, depending on how you look at it. Perhaps Katie Brennan will haul in Chloe Molloy’s lead in the VFLW goalkicking and continue her comeback story with another Best on Ground performance.


While writing this match report I’ve been distracted, and, yes, deeply saddened by the Turnbull Government’s approach to equal marriage. Football has been a lifelong love of mine, but Sam Newmanesque antics make it hard for me to enjoy some of the mainstream media. The Almanac, Marngrook, the Outer Sanctum and other alternative voices are my kind of thing. It was fantastic to get along to the footy on Sunday and enjoy a place that welcomes everyone and makes everyone feel as that they belong. As is clear from the photo of the Farm accompanying this article, a rainbow 50 metre arc was put in place for the SFNL Pride Game on Saturday August 12. That arc felt like a benediction after a week of having my community vilified. If you haven’t seen it, watch Penny Wong’s speech here: https://tinyurl.com/y7gx5paw

If we must have this postal survey, here’s to a huge yes vote. I’ll certainly be working hard to get people to vote and to vote for a fair future. After all, politicians come, and politicians go, but footy is forever.

Falcons for the flag.


St. Kilda  1.0 – 6          1.0-6            4.1 – 25      4.2 -26

Darebin   2.2 – 14        8.3 – 51        9.3-57        14.4 – 88


Darebin: Katie Brennan 7, Gabby Colvin 2, Elise O’Dea 2, Lauren Arnell, Mel Hickey, C Byrne

St, Kilda: Kate Hore 2, Georgia Harris, Jasmine Garner



Darebin: Katie Brennan, Karen Paxman, Elise O’Dea, Lauren Arnell, Mel Hickey

St. Kilda: Brianna Davey, Maddison Gay, Phoebe McWilliams


*Libby Birch has a fascinating story. A champion junior netballer, she made it onto the Western Bulldogs list as a rookie after only 10 games for Darebin during the 2016 season. She got the call to play from none other than Daisy Pearce – and she has looked the goods. Birch is both super fit & committed to learning the game. You can watch her story here and it’s really worth a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLnSdXTxILE


**Yes, Chloe is Jarrod Molly’s niece. She is also the leading goalkicker in the VFLW and a bustling, gutsy, tackle-breaking player. You can read more about her here: https://tinyurl.com/y8rs2g9l



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About Jackie Lynch

North Melbourne fan by birth, but Bulldogs for the AFLW and Darebin Falcons for the VFLW. I am a high school teacher in the Mighty West and a parent of two kids. Other interests include history, reading, running slowly and the Facebook Page Shit Brick Fences of Melbourne.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Thanks for the great report Jackie. Sad my Sharks had a rotten day against the champion Falcs. Agree about the postal vote, if the vote is what we get, we have to use it. Crappy leadership and fear is what I am worried about. People can be so rubbish at times. Here’s to the goods ones and the good fight and to footy.

    And to good communities.

  2. Jackie Lynch says

    Yes, the Sharks looked pretty disappointed. Brianna Davey’s efforts are enough to give anyone hope though. What an amazing athlete. I’ve been wondering about the Falcs in 5 years though – players like Daisy look like they could go forever but there will come a time when Hickey, Arnell, Pearce and Paxman will hang up the boots. Having said that though, Meg Hutchins is still going around for the Pies and the Eastern Devils, so what do I know?

    I think in some ways the postal ballot could be a massive victory for the forces of progress if we are organised enough. Here’s to footy and here’s to fair!

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