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VFLW Tigers grounded by NT Thunder

VFLW R11: Hunter post-match Richmond VFLW coach, Tom Hunter speaks to Roar Vision after the Round 11 VFLW match against NT Thunder.

The VFLW Tigers have faced a 4.5 (29) to 7.10 (52) defeat to NT Thunder on Saturday afternoon in Round 11 at the Swinburne Centre.

It was a tough task for the Tigers against the practiced NT Thunder outfit, who boast a large number of Adelaide Crows AFLW stars.

But, Richmond rose to the challenge and, as per Coach Tom Hunter’s instructions, they “seized their moments”.

VFLW: Round 11 Highlights

It was a physical battle from the first bounce, with both sides bringing plenty of grit. Richmond’s pressure around the ball was significant, and after a contested first quarter, they held a two-point lead, which they extended to five points by half-time.

The Tigers forced NT Thunder to adapt to Richmond’s style of play, and they played with intent as they matched up against one of the league’s best.

But the ground opened up in the second half, and NT Thunder capitalised on their clearances as they managed five goals.

Richmond narrowed the margin to just 11 points in the final term, but they struggled to carry their first-half intensity across the full four quarters.

Despite this, Richmond’s on-field communication and encouragement towards each other never wavered.

By the final siren, NT Thunder had stretched their lead to 23 points.

Coach Hunter said he was rapt with the team’s ability to dictate play in the first half against such a quality side.

“We set them a task to play a certain style and deny NT the way that they wanted to play, and I think for the first half we certainly executed that,” Hunter said.

“The challenge for us, with the young side and building towards what we want to look like, is to narrow that gap down, from what it looks like when it’s awesome, and when it’s not going so well for us.”

The over-arching focus for the clash was to convert opportunities into moments of importance, and Hunter said he was pleased with how the girls embodied this.

“We’ve praised the girls on what they do really well, and when the opportunity comes to shine, we want them to show their strengths,” Hunter said.

“We stacked up all our moments today and it was probably the reason why we were so competitive within the game, because the girls made the most of their opportunities and their moments when they came.”

Highlighted by laying 40 more tackles than their opposition, Richmond impressed with their high intensity and work rate.

“I think that’s the Richmond brand that AFL and VFL supporters will notice, and I think that’s trickled down to the VFLW as well. The exciting thing about that is it means we’re putting a lot of pressure on the ball,” Hunter said.

“It’s awesome that they’re getting to the contest and turning up.”

The Tigers had two debutants on show, Ruby Edmeades and Jackie Radnall, who both stood out in their respective roles.

“It’s an opportunity for them to be able to play at that level. It gives them a great indication of what the level is about, and it’s really exciting when we can bring in girls that are learning our brand and learning our style,” Hunter said.

“It’s going to take time but the future is really bright for us.”

Forward sensation Courtney Wakefield’s accuracy both in front of goal and in the air was on full display. She claimed all three of Richmond’s goals and soared to an impressive eight marks.

“We speak about moments, and she’s certainly one that capitalises on all of them. She’s just got that presence out there on the field where she can take marks and kick goals. She is really well-valued within our side for what she brings,” Hunter said.

Young gun Sophie Damon also had a breakthrough performance. The 17-year-old moved into the ruck where she showcased her appetite for the contest and played with purpose.

Hunter said he was pleased with how Damon stepped up to the role and adapted to the occasion.

“We’re asking her to do things that we’d ask all our players to do, which is give us a contest,” Hunter said.

“She took some fantastic marks and put herself in really dangerous positions to get contact. And she’ll continue to grow as the game goes on.”

Phoebe Monahan once again prevailed as Richmond’s best. The ball magnet demonstrated her composure under pressure and her football smarts as she tallied team-highs of disposals (20), kicks (16), tackles (9), and clearances (5). 

The Tigers head to Ikon Park next Saturday July 18 at 11:30am, where they will challenge Carlton in Round 12.