Falcons ready to fly

Wyndhamvale captain Mariah Burton. (Ljubica Vrankovic)

Oliver Lees

Wyndhamvale will be aiming to go one better this year under new coach Jay Dolliver in the Western Football League women’s competition.

Dolliver, who last year served as an assistant coach, was called upon to replace Craig Prior when it was announced Prior would be stepping away from the role.

He now takes responsibility for a side that came within a whisker of winning a division 2 premiership.

The Falcons finished on top of the ladder last season with a commanding 14 wins and two losses, but were ultimately overrun by West Footscray in the final game of the year.

Despite a last quarter fight from the Falcons, losing 6.7 (43)-6.5 (41).

Following the conclusion of the season it was decided the divisions would be combined, due to there being fewer clubs in total.

Dolliver said he thinks his side will be able to compete well in the new competition.

“Ideally we would have preferred for it to be two divisions, but I think it’ll be a reasonably even comp,” he said.

“Pre-season’s been good… since February I’ve done the majority of the sessions and we’ve started to get good numbers for training.

“Numbers are great, we have 21 or 22 on the track.”

The Falcons started their season on Saturday, with a big win against Laverton.

After an even first quarter, the Falcons kicked away and went on to win, 11.15 (81)-1.0 (6).

Rachael Burton kicked four goals and Madeleine Yung kicked three.

Dolliver said the club had welcomed more than seven new players to the list this year.

They will however be without their major forward option Kelle McIntosh for the first three rounds due to suspension.

McIntosh led the league in goal scoring last season, finishing with 52 goals in 10 matches, including four in the grand final.

“We’re definitely looking forward to having her back out there, she’s important to us,” Dolliver said.

Chloe Muus will also return to the team after winning the club best and fairest last year.

Muus also took out the club and league best and fairest awards in 2021.

The team will be led by Mariah Burton as captain.

Doliver said Burton sets an excellent example for the group.

“She was one of co-captains last year and won the league best and fairest two years ago,” he said.

“She’s an exceptional leader and well respected,” he said.

“She’s a really good leader of people and a good footballer in her own right as well.”

In other matches, the Suns made a winning debut beating Parkside Spurs, while Werribee Centrals beat Caroline Springs.