The VFLW Tigers’ season has come to an end after a heartbreaking five-point elimination final loss to the Western Bulldogs on Sunday at Adcon Stadium.
The 6.0 (36) to 4.7 (31) loss was the VFLW Tigers’ first ever final, following a successful home and away season which concluded with the Tigers fourth on the ladder.
The Tigers and the Bulldogs approached the must-win game with red-hot intensity, with both sides hitting the scoreboard early.
The Bulldogs claimed the first goal at the three-minute mark before the Tigers booted their first major, courtesy of Courtney Wakefield.
Wakefield seized her goal after an impressive mark in the forward pocket following a nice pass from Tayla Stahl.
Not long after, Stahl nabbed a goal herself from 30 metres after a pass from Sabrina Frederick.
The Bulldogs fired back, however, with two consecutive goals, establishing a five-point lead over Tigers at quarter time.
The Bulldogs notched another goal one minute into the second term, but the Tigers soon hit back with their trademark intensity as Gabby Seymour secured their third major.
Richmond’s intensity was bolstered by a commanding performance by Kodi Jacques, who laid a team-high five tackles in the first half.
But the Tigers struggled to impact the scoreboard as the crosswind picked up throughout the second term.
Richmond locked the ball inside its forward 50m for the majority of the second quarter, but was unable to capitalise on its opportunities.
The second half concluded with the Bulldogs clutching onto a slim four-point advantage.
The Bulldogs maintained their lead across the third quarter, breaking away with two unanswered goals.
The Tigers fought to overcome the Bulldogs’ 16-point advantage in the final term. Courtney Wakefield and Sabrina Frederick both snagged one goal each, leaving just a five-point difference.
With a nail-biting 90 seconds on the clock remaining, Katie Brennan came close to honing in on a goal of her own, but the Bulldogs prevailed with a five-point victory.
It was a gallant effort by the Tigers, who dominated inside-50s 33-17, but the Bulldogs’ accuracy in front of goal proved too damaging, and the Tigers were unable to convert their chances.
Brennan had a stellar performance, playing an integral role in the midfield as she laid four tackles and collected 18 disposals, including seven clearances.
Midfield duo Grace Egan and Kate Dempsey were also prolific with an impressive 19 disposals and five clearances apiece.
Defender Phoebe Monahan continued her excellent form, securing 10 disposals and five inside-50s.
Despite the loss, 2019 has proven to be a highly successful season for the VFLW Tigers, who have shown enormous progression after finishing 12th on the ladder last year.
The finals outing will also provide the Tigers with valuable experience as they prepare to enter the AFLW in 2020.