After the year that 2020 was, the VFLW Hawks were raring for a fresh start in 2021. With an experienced new coach at the helm, Bec Goddard led her troops with aplomb in a roller coaster of a season.
Sadly, the girls managed only five wins from 14 games, but the deep pool of talent coupled with the experienced leadership of the coaching team points to a competitive side in future seasons.
The Hawks started their campaign at Whitten Oval against the Bulldogs. Although the Hawks lost, it was an exciting proposition to once again be out on the field. Captain Jess Trend suffered an ACL injury in Round 1 that put her out of action for the remainder of the season, but Meg Hutchins ably stepped in to guide the Hawks through 2021.
The first win of the season came in Round 2, easily defeating Darebin at their home ground at LaTrobe University. But, disappointingly, it would be another six weeks before the Hawks could once again sing the team song.
The girls steadily plugged away all season, nearing closer and closer to a win. Matches against Melbourne and the Southern Saints were particularly nail-biting, but the losses simply stirred the Hawks' desire to win even more.
The tail-end of the season saw a resurgence in the team, with fresh faces joining from the AFLW like Nadia von Bertouch and Alison Brennan, while old favourites like Tamara Luke, Chantelle Perera and Phoebe McWilliams also returned from the AFLW to rejoin their old side.
It wasn’t only the experienced players who impacted the Hawks in season 2021. First season rookies like Dominique Carbone, Eloise Chaston, Ashanti Bush, and Grace McRae all brought energy and excitement to the side.
This combination spurred on the Hawks to victory at the end of the season. In Round 8, Hawthorn defeated Williamstown, in Round 10, Darebin once again suffered a loss at the hands of the Hawks, in Round 12, Williamstown was in the firing line again, and the Hawks finished their season strongly with a solid defeat of Port Melbourne in Round 14.
Outside of the wins and losses of the season, the Hawks had plenty to celebrate in season 2021. Captain Meg Hutchins celebrated her milestone 250th game in Round 8, a monumental achievement in women’s sport.
Hutchins also called time on her decorated career at the end of the campaign. Football fans from all over the league were excited to celebrate and recognise her contribution to women’s football in Victoria.
Our VFLW coaches were also recognised for their achievements. Senior Coach Bec Goddard was awarded an OAM for her contribution to women’s football throughout her career, while Christina Polatajko won the prestigious AFL Coaches Association Women’s Coaching Pathway Scholarship for 2021.