The VFLW Tigers will enter their first ever finals series with confidence, as they prepare to take on the Western Bulldogs in an elimination final on Sunday morning at Adcon Stadium.
As the Tigers gear up for the must-win clash, Richmond VFLW coach Tom Hunter said his side is excited for the challenge.
“It’s an awesome opportunity for the girls to play at a higher level of football,” Hunter said.
“For some, it’s the highest level they’ll play at and for some, it’s great preparation for AFLW.”
Hunter is hoping it’s a case of “third time lucky” against the Bulldogs, after taking away many learnings from their two encounters.
“They’ve got the better of us two times during the year but in both of those games we’ve learned a lot, and we’ve been able to action (our learnings) and help us be better,” Hunter said.
“It’s great that we’re going to be able to get the opportunity to play them again and see how those learnings stack up.”
The VFLW Tigers, who finished 12th on the ladder last year, have exhibited outstanding progression throughout their second season to claim a top four spot and finals berth.
“It’s probably the way that we’ve played, we’ve played a really exciting brand of football which has led us to kick a few more goals than last year and be more successful on the scoreboard,” Hunter said.
“I’m really proud of the way (the team is) going about their footy. They’re taking the game on, they look like Richmond, and that’s what we want.”
After a thrilling win over fellow top-four side Southern Saints in the final home and away round last Saturday, Hunter believes his side is well-equipped for finals football.
“(Last weekend) was a tough, hard, contested game. Southern Saints are a quality side and we knew we had to match them in that area,” Hunter said.
“That’s what finals are going to be, tough, hard, contested, which is really great preparation for us.”
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As the VFLW Tigers embark on Richmond Women’s history, Hunter could not be prouder of his side.
“We’re earnt this right to play finals, and I’m really proud of the girls and the program to be able to do that,” Hunter said.
“Our brand of footy really stacks up. It’s high pressure, a lot of contest, but the way we move the ball is really hard to defend as well.
“The (Richmond) AFL boys in finals, the (Richmond) VFL boys in finals, we’re happy to be a part of that journey as well.
“We’ll enjoy this week, we’ll celebrate the little things along the way, but come Sunday we’re ready to go.”
The Tigers will take a strong line-up into Sunday’s clash with the Bulldogs, featuring a mix of experience and young talent.
Hard-tackling Tiger Alana Woodward will return to bolster Richmond’s midfield, with Teagan Brett and Hannah McLaren rounding out the inclusions.
Pre-sale tickets are available here. Tickets are adults $15, concession/pensioners $10 and kids under 15 free.
VFLW Elimination Final
Richmond v Western Bulldogs
Sunday, September 1, 11.45am
B: 18. L. Davie, 12. L. Bailey, 20. H. McLaren
HB: 15. R. Miller, 34. A. Makur Chuot, 2. P. Monahan
C: 19. K. Dempsey, 4. M. Conti, 22. S. Marsh
HF: 33. J. Colwell, 14. S. Frederick, 16. C. Wakefield
F: 5. M. Brancatisano, 46. H. Ibrahim, 24. T. Stahl
R: 28. G. Seymour, 3. K. Brennan, 13. A. Woodward
Int: 11. A. Edmonds, 25. G. Egan, 29. K. Jacques, 1. J. Kennedy
Emg: 38. S. Damon, 30. D. Edward, 27. J. Hocking, 48. E. Horne
23P: 54. T. Brett
In: A. Woodward, T. Brett, H. McLaren