The VFLW Tigers have produced a stunning 21-point win over NT Thunder at TIO Stadium in Darwin on Saturday afternoon.
The undefeated Tigers were formidable in their first-ever interstate trip to surpass the experienced, high-pressure NT Thunder outfit in a true team performance.
It was a fast start for the Thunder, who controlled the ball in the first quarter but to no avail, managing just one goal to go with five behinds as the Tigers were held goalless.
Their inaccuracy gave the Tigers the chance to get back in the game, and Richmond seized the opportunity.
While NT Thunder held a 17-point lead early in the second quarter, the unshaken Tigers lifted their intent as they worked their way back into the match to cut the margin to three points at half-time.
Trio Courtney Wakefield, Katie Brennan and Jenna Colwell worked together seamlessly as they combined for Richmond’s three-goal second quarter.
Wakefield and Brennan finished with two goals apiece, while Brennan recorded a team-high 19 disposals and team-high seven marks.
The visiting Tigers continued their momentum over the second half to pile on four more goals and extend their lead.
A late surge by NT Thunder came with no reward, as the Tigers kept them goalless for the final quarter and stormed home in a gallant win.
First interstate game, first interstate win— RichmondW (@RichmondWomens) June 15, 2019
We hold NT Thunder goalless in the final quarter to seal a special 21-point victory in Darwin.
Full Time: Richmond 7.7 (49) defeat NT Thunder 3.10 (28)
#TheHuntBegins #gotiges pic.twitter.com/7xvybpIYFl
The win didn’t come without its challenges, however, with the Tigers losing a number of key personnel, Evie Burry (knee), Lauren Tesoriero (knee) and Maddy Bracatisano (concussion) throughout the course of the afternoon.
VFLW coach Tom Hunter praised his side’s ability to adapt when faced with adversity.
“They were resilient. We threw them into a variety of roles and they just accepted the challenge and got the job done,” he said.
“I’m really pleased on the win but the way they fought it out…we hadn’t experienced pressure like that before.
“There was a lot of factors that went against us…and they toughed it out, they got the game back on our terms and to come away with the win is really pleasing.”
Richmond’s injury misfortunes provided the opportunity for a young Tiger, Hannah McLaren, to make her mark.
When Evie Burry went down, fellow defender McLaren stepped up in her best Richmond outing to date.
“She took (the opportunity) with both hands and she went back and took some really strong one-on-one marks,” Hunter said.
“That’s all we ask from our defenders, to give us a contest and beat their opponents and Hannah certainly did that today.”
In Alice Edmonds’ absence, ruckwoman Gabby Seymour shone in a dazzling debut for Richmond.
A former Australian volleyball representative, Seymour showcased her aerial ability as she dominated hit-outs. The smooth-mover showed composure with ball in hand and jelled with her Tiger teammates, finishing with 32 hit-outs and 18 touches.
“She’s a cracker,” Hunter said.
“This is her first year of footy… She gave us contest in the air and won some balls she probably shouldn’t have won. It’s awesome to see her develop as a footballer, we’re really lucky that she’s in the Yellow and Black.”
The win was the cherry on top of a fantastic bonding weekend in the Top End for the VFLW Tigers.
“We’re at the Club for three sessions a week and of that time, it’s used mainly on football,” Hunter said.
“So, to have them sharing lunch together, sharing stories, building their connections, it’s really special.”
After a bye next weekend, the VFLW Tigers will be back in action for Round 8 against the Casey Demons on Sunday June 30 at Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo.
Photos courtesy of Felicity Elliott/AFLNT Media