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Richmond VFLW sign Bendigo Thunder pair

Thunder teammates join VFLW Former Bendigo Thunder teammates, Jac Louttit and Emily Findlay speak to Roar Vision about signing with Richmond's VFLW side.

Richmond’s new VFLW team has signed two players from Bendigo Thunder, with premiership ruck, and vice-captain Jac Louttit, and midfielder Emily Findlay joining the Tigers.

Louttit, 36, is a netballer-turned-footballer, and has already tasted success with a premiership last season with Bendigo Thunder, winner of the best-on-ground medal, and runner-up, by just a single vote in the NFL women’s best and fairest.

“I was a netballer, (and) came out of retirement to play football with some of my mates, and have had an amazing football career so far with Thunder, and I can’t wait to see what happens with the Tiges,” Louttit said.

Findlay, an 18-year-old midfielder for Thunder has also only been playing football for two years, but has many years of football ahead of her.

“I’ve played two years with Bendigo Thunder, and mostly (have a) basketball background, little bit of netball, little bit of running and it’s (football) by far the best sport I’ve been a part of,” she said.

Juggling work, family, travel and football isn’t always easy, but both players are relishing their new opportunity at Tigerland, and grateful for both the supportive and professional environment at the Club.

“I think (it’s) extremely inclusive too, (and) supportive, everyone’s approachable at the Club, which you need especially when its far away from home like that,” Findlay said.

“(It’s) family orientated too, I’ve got two young kids, and they’re taking that into consideration with my training too,” added Louttit.

Since January, the players have been traveling down from Bendigo to the Swinburne Centre at Punt Road Oval twice a week to train and prepare for their VFLW season opener in May.

“(We’re) working on football skills, lots of running though, there’s definitely a running component after each training session,” Louttit said.

“Lots of gym work, we’re working on strength and conditioning, so that we’re ready to roll when May comes around.”

Speaking at a special training session during Richmond’s Community Camp in Bendigo, the players were able to train with Richmond’s AFL players on their own turf at QEO.

“Today was just a one-hour session, some of the boys came down to take us through the training,” Louttit said.  

“It was a bit of a light training, but we got to include the Pioneer girls and the Youth Girls, it was great to have those girls training with us, because they’re up and comers.”

As clubs prepare and plan for their AFLW teams – Richmond will have an AFLW team from 2020, there are increased pathway opportunities, such as Richmond VFLW for talent of the future to aspire to be part of.  

“It’s something that’s never been there before, so they’ve got a pathway now, and they’ve got something to look up to, and now some Bendigo based girls to really look up to and to hopefully follow in their footsteps,” Louttit said.

“I’m pretty young myself, so even for me I was buzzing. But I couldn’t imagine coming up and being able to train with the bigger girls and also the men, it would have been a great experience, and this is their future. It would be awesome to see, and exciting for them of course,” Findlay added.