In heartbreaking fashion, the VFLW Tigers have fallen to Williamstown by one point in Round 14 on Sunday afternoon at the Swinburne Centre, 5.7 (37) to 5.8 (38).
It was a commanding start for Richmond, who welcomed back star forward Christina Bernardi as she slotted the opening goal, which was closely followed by a major from fellow Tiger Emma King.
The Tigers read each other effortlessly as they produced some classy passages of play and locked down Williamstown’s attempts to convert.
A snap out of traffic by Ella Ross in the second term extended Richmond’s leading margin to 18 points by half-time, as they held the Seagulls goalless.
But the Seagulls crept up on the Tigers in the third term as they accrued three quick goals and reduced the margin to seven points at the final break.
The fourth term was a tense affair. Williamstown managed one goal and two behinds early, stealing a one-point lead.
Tiger Kate Dixon responded with her second goal of the day to give the Tigers some breathing space, but Seagull Sharnie Whiting soon retaliated to reclaim the lead for Williamstown.
Richmond’s forward line fought hard to save the day in the dying minutes, but could not break through congestion. Thanks to their second-half turnaround, the Seagulls snatched victory against the Tigers for the second time this season.
It was a brave showing by the Tigers, who produced countless displays of grit and courage.
Coach Tom Hunter said despite the agonising result, he could not fault his side’s intensity.
“I’m never going to question the girls with their tackling pressure and their intent and their chasing, but just more around once we’ve got the ball, what we can do with it,” he said.
“I thought we controlled the game for probably close to three quarters but that last quarter got away from us a little bit. It’s amazing what one point either way will do.”
Youngster Alice Edmonds had a breakthrough day in the ruck, as she led Richmond to a successful 56-17 performance against their opposition in hit-outs. The 20-year-old also laid an equal team-high of six tackles.
“Alice did a fantastic job. She’s developed so much over the course of the year and what we’re seeing now is that we’ve got confidence and trust that we can kick it to her on her head and she does so well to mark it in long down the line contests,” Hunter said.
Ball-magnet Phoebe Monahan was ascendant in the midfield, punctuated by 24 touches, 22 kicks, six clearances and six inside 50s.
“Phoebe is so strong over the ball. She wins at the contest and she’s a great long kick so she can clear the area,” Hunter said.
“We’ll look to work on other things with Phoebe and continue to help her grow so when she goes back to GWS and AFLW 3, she has another string to her bow as a footballer.”
A Round 15 bye will allow the Tigers to be refreshed for their final game of the season against the Southern Saints in Round 16. Richmond will travel to Skybus Stadium for the closing round on Saturday August 25, with the first bounce at 11.00am.
“We’ve had seven on the trot so the girls definitely need a break,” Hunter said.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity to go down to Southern Saints territory and have a great game against another side that’s starting up from scratch this year.”
RICHMOND 2.2 3.4 4.6 5.7 (37)
WILLIAMSTOWN 0.3 0.4 3.5 5.8 (38)
Richmond: Kate Dixon (2), Christina Bernardi, Emma King, Ella Ross
Williamstown: Sharnie Whiting (2), Georgia Harris, Jasmine Garner