Devils strong focus

Lilli Condon (Darley FNC)

Tara Murray

Things are starting to click for Darley in the Ballarat Football League women’s competition.

Last season’s premiers, the Devils lost 11 premiership players in the off season for a number of different factors.

Having brought in some new players, the Devils are still one of the teams to beat, sitting second on the ladder, with one loss. Only Redan, which is has played in the past two grand finals, sits above them.

Devils coach Brett Faulkhead said they were happy with where things are at.

“It was fantastic last year and we put in a lot of work,” he said. “The focus isn’t on the end of the year, it’s on what we’ve been able to do over a 12 month period.

“This year the focus is on everyone getting better than last year. The group is starting to get and understand everyone in the team.

“We can’t expect them to get it right away. We’re slowly, slowly getting there..”

Faulkhead said every player was stepping up and playing their role.

“In our social group this week I focused on the quiet achievers,” he said.

“Our top player is in the VFLW [Victorian Football League women’s] and we have girls who have played in the VFLW and girls who are playing in their first season.

“Everyone is getting a game and playing their role. They’re doing things like a block or giving the handball, that’s all I ask for.

“For every women’s team, they want to be better than the year before.”

He was full of praise for the leaders of the team.

“Emmerson Hitch is my assistant coach and she has been magnificent for me,” he said.

“My right hand person is Ben Skinner and he does a hell of a lot of work.

“I can’t speak more highly of my leadership group.

“Training sessions are really good and the girls take ownership of what they want to to do and what they want to learn and we develop drills around that.”

While focused on this season, Faulkhead said they were also looking at the bigger picture.

“It’s all about progress,” he said. “Women’s footy has come a long way, but it’s still a long way to go.

“For us at development. We have juniors coming through in under-14s and under-16s, but we don’t have under-19s.

“There’s a huge age gap between under-16s and seniors. We want to have the pathway set up.”

The senior side goes down and helps out at junior training, while last season Tamara Henry was drafted to Adelaide in another positive sign for the program.

There was a competition wide by for the Ballarat league on the weekend, due to the King’s Birthday weekend.