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VFLW Tigers outclass Melbourne Uni

VFLW R7: Highlights Highlights of the Round 7 win over Melbourne University.

The VFLW Tigers have registered a commanding 29-point win over Melbourne Uni at Queen Elizabeth Oval on Sunday afternoon, defeating the Mugars 6.6 (42) to 2.1 (13) in Round 6.

Coach Tom Hunter’s pre-game message was clear; embrace the day.

The girls were tested with travel to Bendigo, a rejigged warm up, and the tough task of contesting a side rich with AFLW and VFLW talent.

But, the Tigers embraced the opportunity. They focused on the aspects of the day that they could control, they raised their intensity to the level it needed to be, and they played the brand of football that they aspire to play. 

Headed by Alice Edmonds, who dominated the ruck, Richmond took control of play from the first bounce.

Emma King showcased her versatility as she starred up forward and claimed the opening goal. She went on to record nine kicks, 12 touches, and four inside-50s.

New recruit Christina Bernardi played a pivotal role in the forward line and goaled on debut. She had a stellar first game in the yellow and black, punctuated by 15 touches and 11 kicks.

Thanks to King and Bernardi’s efforts, the Tigers held a convincing 16-point lead after the first quarter.

But a surge from Melbourne Uni in the dying minutes of the second quarter saw them goal twice and bridge the gap to a mere five points. 

However, the Tigers came back in the third term hungrier than ever. Spearheaded by Jenna Colwell and Jess Gardner, they scored three goals in quick succession. Led by Lisa Davie, Richmond’s run off half-back was influential. They jelled together seamlessly and looked comfortable in possession. Their contest around the ball was unrivalled and while their attacking pressure was superb, they also showed a willingness to defend.

Utility Lauren Tesoriero was moved from the forward line to the midfield in a bid to halt Melbourne Uni from applying any scoreboard pressure. It worked, and the Tigers kept the Mugars goalless for the entire second half. Tesoriero, one of Richmond’s best contested ball players, was instrumental as she yielded 15 touches and 11 kicks.

One last goal in the final term, the result of a spectacular passage of play by Tesoriero, Grace Egan, Bernardi and then Courtney Wakefield, confirmed a 29-point victory.

Coach Tom Hunter said it was exciting for the team to be rewarded for sticking to their processes.

“We played as close to four quarters of footy as we possibly could. There was probably a two-and-a-half minute gap at the end of the second quarter where they got away from us a little bit. But then the girls just got back to what they needed to do and did it again,” he said. 

“From the way we defended, it really looked like Melbourne Uni didn’t have many opportunities to play the game they wanted to play. We took those opportunities away from them which was really pleasing.”

All eyes were on Alana Woodward, who had the challenging task of manning up against 2018 AFLW Best and Fairest winner Emma Kearney. Woodward rose to the occasion and was prolific for Richmond as she kept Kearney quiet. She led the team for tackles (11) and recorded nine kicks and 11 touches. 

“We’ve given her a couple of roles over the last couple of weeks and she just gets it done,” said Coach Hunter.

“Early on she was probably stopping players. Now, she’s stopping players and finding her own footy, which is a great growth in her game. The role she plays for us is so important.”

A Round 7 bye will allow the now seventh-placed Tigers to be refreshed for their Round 8 clash against fourth-placed Hawthorn. The match will be held at the Swinburne Centre, Sunday July 1 at 11.30am.