Women’s Footy – VFL: Jess Dal-Pos

The Darebin Falcons are a champion team and a team of champions; with licenses distributed to the eight clubs in the inaugural 2017 National Women’s League, you’re going to hear a lot about them in the years to come.

Which isn’t to say you haven’t already.
Nine Falcons are currently AFL listed. They have a captain who leads Melbourne and can hardly get through a training session without some sort of media request.
A key forward/defender who is the face of Sportette’s ‘Strong is the New Pretty’ movement.
An onballer selected as an AFL Multicultural Player Ambassador in January.
When Swisse Wellness became the 2016 VFL Women’s naming partner, two of their three player ambassadors were Falcons.
A quick look through the Women’s AFL news archives will tell you that Darebin are more than just a club, its players more than just footballers.

So here’s something you don’t see every day: an underrated Falcon.

Jess Dal-Pos is the Darebin prototype: a multi-purpose, hardworking player. Her pace, disposal and football brain make her an excellent winger but she can play in defence and up forward as well.

Dal-Pos may be a quiet achiever in the eyes of the general public but to her team she’s a wonderful asset. Teammate Aasta O’Connor lauds Dal-Pos’ hard running and ability to find space.

“She doesn’t get that because people forget her, she really works hard and smart for it.”

At the age of 20, Dal-Pos was drafted by the Western Bulldogs at pick 46 in the inaugural 2013 Women’s AFL Exhibition match. As the draft pool deepened, 16 players didn’t get selected again in 2014. This was the case for Dal-Pos but she is one of just four players who subsequently worked their way back onto on AFL list. She was rewarded for her hard work and self-belief when she ran out onto the MCG for Melbourne’s clash with Brisbane in April.

“It was at the time of my life where I was thinking, ‘OK, what do I want to with Uni, my career’… it was the perfect opportunity to reflect on everything,” says Dal-Pos of her axing. “I knew Darebin were going to allow me to be the best footballer I could be so I did heaps of fitness with [Darebin, VWFL & Western Bulldogs Physical Preparation coach] Tennille Hay.

“There were all these different aspects where I just followed Aasta, Daisy and Loz around. Every time we had to do something I’d try to be partnered with them so I could learn from watching what they do. Now I find myself on the same thinking wave length that they do.”

Darebin’s elite players and extraordinary depth are well-documented but Dal-Pos lets us in on the Falcons’ secret weapon: a borderline insane competitiveness.

“If there’s something to be won, it’s on for young and old. Everything turns into a competition, stretching, first in at the ball-up, we’ve been together so long it just keeps peaking into crazy.”

So what are these Darebin superstars who stand at the forefront of the Women’s AFL march really like when they’re “just Falcons”?

Daisy Pearce?

“Daisy is the best at being Daisy. She takes the time to talk to everybody and get involved in every aspect of the club, like Youth Girls and AusKick. She’s a competitive woman and if she wants to be good at something she’ll learn how to master it.”

Katie Brennan?

“The face of key position players in female footy.”

Lauren Arnell?

“I rotate with her and I forget where I’m playing because Loz is out killing it where the ball is and I think, ‘Am I on the ball?’”

And finally… Jess Dal-Pos?

“I know football. That’s all I can say. But that creates passion and excitement.”


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About Callum O'Connor

Here's to feelin' good all the time.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Excellent work again Callum. Thanks heaps for keeping us posted and getting to know the women footballers.

  2. Callum – I watched the might Kew Bears roll the Falcons on Sunday. Tough game but the Bears were far too good.

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