The VFLW Tigers have defeated the Southern Saints by six points in a thrilling contest on Saturday afternoon at Wilson Storage Trevor Barker Beach Oval in the final round of the home and away season.
The 5.6 (36) to 4.6 (30) triumph over the Saints, who came into the clash on top of the ladder, confirmed the Tigers' spot in the finals and secured Richmond fourth place on the ladder.
In swirly conditions, both sides struggled to hit the scoreboard early on.
Tiger Monique Conti was a clear standout from the get-go as she exerted her trademark pressure.
The midfielder excelled with a team-high 20 disposals and six clearances to go with six tackles.
The first quarter concluded without majors for both teams, and both the Tigers and Saints dialled up the intensity in the following quarter.
Sabrina Frederick notched the first goal of the day early in the second term after marking a pass from Tayla Stahl.
Frederick and Stahl teamed up with Courtney Wakefield to form a powerful forward line.
The Saints responded with a goal of their own minutes later but the Tigers soon fired back with two more goals by Monique Conti and Tayla Stahl, allowing a four-point lead at half-time.
The beachside wind escalated after the half-time break and both sides struggled to follow the unpredictable ball.
The erratic weather made for scrappy football, and both teams were scoreless in the third term until the Saints secured a major at the ten-minute mark.
The Saints proceeded to capture another goal seconds before the three-quarter time siren sounded, providing them with a 10-point lead over the Tigers at the final change.
The Tigers pursued the football in the final quarter with unmatched pressure.
Frederick was hungry for more, and soon registered another major minutes into the final term.
Soon after, Jenna Colwell marked the ball in the right forward pocket, and overcame the unpredictable gusts of wind to kick a triumphant goal.
Three more behinds for the Tigers, combined with Colwell and Frederick’s efforts, earned the Tigers a slender six-point lead with 11 minutes remaining.
The Tigers withstood the Saints’ attempts to level the scoreboard in the dying minutes, sustaining their lead until the final siren sounded to record a thrilling come-from-behind win.
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The unwavering Tigers were boosted by the return of Katie Brennan, who produced an excellent performance.
Brennan excelled in the final quarter and finished with an impressive 16 disposals, three marks and four inside-50s.
Key defender Rebecca Miller had a sturdy performance down back, clearing the ball from the back pocket repeatedly as she collected 15 disposals and three tackles.
VFLW Coach Tom Hunter said the girls played exceptionally well against a top side.
“We knew it was going to be a tough battle,” Hunter said.
“I thought our girls really matched them with our pressure. We looked like Richmond. We’re really proud of that."
Hunter commended his team’s pressure and intensity and said they are thrilled to be entering the finals.
“It’s a great little stepping stone towards what will be an exciting finals series,” Hunter said.
The VFLW Tigers’ finals schedule will be confirmed at richmondfc.com.au over the coming days.