Richmond youngster Ellie McKenzie has been ruled out of the early parts of the AFLW season due to a calf injury.
The 19-year-old has had an interrupted pre-season due to the issue, missing out on match conditioning and game scenarios.
Richmond AFLW High-Performance Manager Matt Parker said the Tigers had been taking a conservative approach with McKenzie.
“Ellie has had a really unique injury to her calf, which she has been working through for quite some time and managing carefully with our medical team,” he said.
“Ellie has so much football in front of her both this season and beyond, so we have taken a long-term view, and while it is disappointing that she will miss some football, we all understand how important it is we get this right.
“The injury has been a very challenging experience for a 19-year-old to have, but Ellie has dealt with it with excellent maturity and professionalism right throughout the lengthy off-season.”
Richmond Head of Women’s Football, Kate Sheahan, further complemented McKenzie’s professionalism.
“Ellie has been exceptional throughout this pre-season with her willingness and hunger to continue to improve her overall game despite these challenges,” she said.
“Ellie has developed a fantastic working relationship with our medical team, and she understands that she will be stronger for this in the long run.
“We are thrilled with the huge steps she has taken as a young athlete this off-season, and while we won’t put the pressure of a return date on this injury, we have optimism that Ellie can make a meaningful impact this season.”
Richmond’s season starts against St Kilda on January 7.