Lauren Arnell playing for the Darebin Falcons. (Picture: falcons.org.au)

With no VFL or VFLW games taking place this weekend due to Victoria’s lockdown, we take a look back at the best of the fixtures that were meant to be.

With the cancellation of all VFL and VFLW matches over the weekend, we’re taking a look back in history instead.

Take a trip through memory lane as The Inner Sanctum revisits some of the best matches between every VFLW side that was supposed to play last weekend.

Read our VFL flashback piece here.

Hawthorn vs Port Melbourne

Hawthorn and Port Melbourne have never played against each other in the VFLW, but the Hawks have played against Richmond, Port Melbourne’s affiliate side.

The two sides met for the first time in Round 8, 2018 at Punt Road Oval, the Tigers just an inch off the top six while the Hawks sat firmly in fourth position having lost just one game for the season.

While neither team could register on the scoreboard for the first quarter, the Hawks kicked the first three of the match through Emily Gilder and Pepa Randall. The Tigers responded through Emma Gunn and Courtney Wakefield to trail by 15 points at half time.

Hawthorn would fail to score for the remainder of the game, Richmond pegging back the margin slowly but surely as Kate Dixon goaled halfway through the final term to bring it back to just four points.

Richmond ran out of time, both backlines refusing to give up another score and four points was where the margin stayed.

Alice Edmonds had a day out in the ruck, finishing with 30 hit outs, 17 disposals and five marks while Phoebe Monahan was prolific off half-back, ending on 26 disposals.

Jayde van Dyk was dominant through the middle for Hawthorn, also amassing 26 disposals while also taking six marks and laying a game high nine tackles.

Jayde van Dyk was named the VFLW Best and Fairest player before being drafted to Carlton. (Picture: hawthornfc.com.au)

Darebin vs Essendon

While this match in Round 11, 2019 was a battle of 10th vs 11th on the ladder with neither team much hope of playing finals, it was a battle of pride.

Darebin stand proudly as one of the only truly standalone teams in the VFLW competition, while Essendon was still out to prove that it deserved an AFLW license.

The Bombers peppered the goals for the whole first quarter, but only managed one goal (through Lori Stepnell) from their seven scoring shots, only taking a two goal lead into quarter time.

It was the experienced heads who stood up in the second term, Lauren Arnell kicking two goals for Darebin while Cecilia ‘C Bomb’ McIntosh kicked the first of her two for the Dons.

With a goalless quarter in the third, the stage was set for a bumper finale.

The sides went goal-for-goal, McIntosh scoring another, followed by Darebin’s Stephanie Simpson, then Maddy Collier was followed by Jasmine D’Amato to bring the Falcons back within eight points.

Essendon’s backline, led by Lauren Ahrens and Kendra Heil, stood up in the final minutes and got their side over the line.

Now Giant Annalyse Lister was a force to be reckoned with on ball for the Falcons, finishing with 16 disposals and 12 tackles.

The Bombers would go on to win three of their last five matches, hitting a late purple patch. Darebin avoided the wooden spoon, winning a further two games to outlast Carlton and Williamstown.

Collingwood vs Geelong

An inspirational last quarter effort nearly got Collingwood over the line against Geelong in the 2018 preliminary final.

The Cats had just conquered the NT Thunder the week prior, mounting a massive comeback after being 15 points down at half time. They would kick five second half goals to the Thunder’s two to move on to the prelim.

Only having lost one game for the season, the Pies loss to the Hawks came as a shock, and they needed to redeem themselves to secure a Grand Final spot.

Geelong weren’t all too keen on having to come from behind again, wasting opportunities in front of goal in the first quarter but getting on the board through Maddy McMahon and Jordan Ivey before half time.

Collingwood managed a goal through Sophie Alexander in the second quarter, its solitary score as it trailed by 27 points at the final break.

A switch seemed to flick for the Pies, and after contested back and forth play between the arcs and a miss by Erica Fowler, Jess Edwards, Stacey Livingstone and Jaimee Lambert piled on goal after goal.

It was too little too late, Penny Cula-Reid’s side taking ‘the loss they needed’ before rebounding in 2019 and defeating the Western Bulldogs in the following year’s Grand Final.

Williamstown vs Carlton

Williamstown is still searching for its first win against Carlton, the sides having met twice since both joined the VFLW competition in 2018.

The Blues have comprehensively had the wood over the Gulls, averaging a 31 point winning margin.

Darcy Vescio was an absolute livewire in the first battle, kicking four goals, including shaking off two Willy defenders in the forward pocket before dribbling a bouncing ball through the big sticks for one of the goals of the year.

Roo Jess Duffin performed strongly in the middle for the Gulls, as did Carlton’s bevvy of AFLW talent including Sarah Hosking, Chloe Dalton and Natalie Plane.

Pride was on the line in the 2019 reindition, Williamstown and Carlton both searching for their second win of a brutal season.

Williamstown managed to stay in the game all the way until three quarter time, trailing by just nine points. Small defender Dana Pedersen was responsible for driving plenty of ball forward for the Gulls, finishing with 17 disposals and six marks.

Mo Hope wrenched the margin back to just three points early in the final term, but it was the Chloe Dalton show from that point onwards, inspiring her side to kick five straight and guarantee victory.

With lockdown extended in Victoria for another week, Williamstown will have to wait another week to try and defeat Carlton for the first time.

Southern Saints vs North Melbourne

The Southern Saints haven’t played against North Melbourne yet, last weekend supposed to be the first meeting between the two clubs. However, they did play off when North was still affiliated with Melbourne University in the 2019 semi final.

The second placed Saints put in a disappointing performance in the qualifying final against Collingwood, only registering a single goal despite being the fourth highest scoring side all year.

Melbourne Uni, aka the MUGARS, on the other hand, took control against Geelong in the elimination final and led all afternoon.

A six point lead at quarter time and an eight point margin at half time left the Saints uneasy despite two first half goals from Caitlin Greiser, playing at her game breaking best.

The Saints came to life in the third term, Greiser adding another goal, as did fellow tall Kate Shierlaw.

Even though the MUGARS held the Saints scoreless in the last, it was too late, ultimately falling by 17 points. Kate Gillespie-Jones comprehensively smashed opponent Rhi Watt in the ruck, while Jasmine Garner and then 19-year-old Daisy Bateman kicked two goals each.

Western Bulldogs vs Casey

These two sides have developed a strong rivalry in the AFLW, being the two sides that competed in the women’s exhibition games from 2013 and 2016.

Round 7, 2018 was the first time the Demons and the Bulldogs went head to head in the VFLW competition.

The Dogs started strongly, Hayley Wildes finding plenty of the ball and giving her forwards first use going inside 50. Brooke Lochland and Sarah Jolly wasted shots at goal early, but it was Kirsten McLeod and Wildes herself who kicked truly to find the goals.

Brooke Struylaart found a late goal for Casey in the second, keeping her side in touch and cutting the margin back to only three points at half time.

A Murray Bushranger, Struylaart most recently played two games for Hawthorn in the VFLW.

McLeod and Brooke Lochland demonstrated their experience in the third, kicking a goal each to give the Dogs all the momentum coming into the final term and holding on by those three points.

Wildes would go on to announce her retirement from the AFLW at the end of 2019 season at just 22-years-old to pursue a career in NBL side Melbourne United’s media department.

She was a part of the Bulldogs’ 2018 premiership side, finishing with five disposals and three tackles.

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