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VFLW Tigers stun in Dreamtime win

VFLW R5: Match highlights Highlights of the Round 5 match against Essendon.

The VFLW Tigers have recorded a historic win on Saturday afternoon in the first ever VFLW Dreamtime curtain raiser, beating Essendon 8.6 (54) to 3.2 (20).

The occasion commenced with Richmond Indigenous player Natarsha Bamblett ushering the Tigers through their banner. She then led the Boorimul girls in their War Cry performance. While Bamblett was unable to play due to a recovering groin issue, the leadership she showed pre-game was unparalleled.

Richmond encompassed the Dreamtime spirit from the first siren and they played with grit and flair. While the Bombers snagged the opening goal, Richmond rapidly responded with two of their own, and stayed in front for the remainder of the game.

Although Richmond sustained their lead, Essendon presented a challenge in the third term, as they upped their attacking pressure and held most of the ball. It was a fierce battle in the midfield as neither team scored for the entirety of the quarter. But the Tigers matched Essendon’s efforts and kept them goalless for the second half.

It was a true team effort by Richmond. Their majors were scored by six different players (Emma King, Lauren Tesoriero (2), Courtney Wakefield, Phoebe Monahan, Ella Ross (2), and Jenna Colwell). Their midfield was polished, they held their defensive structure, and the girls communicated fluently.


Coach Tom Hunter said the significance of the occasion made the 34-point win all the sweeter.

“We didn’t lose sight of what the occasion meant. And to have Tarsh Bamblett do the War Cry and run out with the girls through the banner was really special. I’m really happy that the girls got a result that they’ve been deserving for the last couple of weeks,” he said. 

Hunter said the Tigers aimed to halt Essendon’s trademark fast start and take control of the contest.

“We knew we wanted to stop that. We had a really big focus for the contest in the first part of the game,” Hunter said.

“I was really happy with how all the girls defended for four quarters. That back half was really exceptional. But it wasn’t just our backs it was our mids putting pressure and our forwards rolling up as well.”


Utility Phoebe Monahan was spectacular for the Tigers, leading the team for touches (27), kicks (16), inside-50s (9) and clearances (8). She was announced as the recipient of the Aunty Joy Murphy Award for the best on ground player.

“Phoebe’s been building the last couple of weeks and she really stood up today. Having the focus on the contest really suits her. She’s such a strong bodied mid and we’re really lucky to be able to have her as a part of our program from GWS,” Hunter said.

Lauren Tesoriero showed her class as she capitalised twice on an empty goal square and scored two majors. Logging nine kicks, 13 disposals and three clearances, the seasoned midfielder provided constant support for her teammates. 

Missing from the field were Tiger sensations Elise Hogan and Kate Dempsey, who sustained concussions in Round 4 against Williamstown.  

“We’ve got their well-being first and foremost as our priority so we decided to give them a rest. We’re having a no-risk approach to concussion with our girls,” Hunter said. 

A bye next weekend will ensure that Richmond are well-rested for their Round 6 clash against Melbourne Uni. The game will be played on Sunday June 17 at 2.30pm at Queen Elizabeth Oval.