Richmond has appointed Tom Hunter as its inaugural VFLW and Next Generation Academy coach.

Hunter, 26, has been an assistant coach with the VFL Tigers for the past two seasons and has completed Level 3 of the AFL’s coaching accreditation course.

“As a primary school teacher with a significant football background, Tom emerged as the outstanding candidate to work in a diverse environment,” said Richmond’s general manager – football talent, Dan Richardson.

Richmond secures VFLW licence

“We have seen Tom’s communication skills, empathy and teaching background first-hand through our VFL program over the past two years, under the leadership of VFL and development coach Craig McRae.

“Tom will be responsible for developing our female football talent, as well as mentoring our young, emerging footballers through the Richmond Academy.

“He is young and enthusiastic and most importantly passionate about player development.

“We are excited to announce his appointment and look forward to watching the VFLW and Next Generation Academy programs grow under his guidance.”

Hunter will work closely with Richmond’s female football operations manager, Kate Sheahan, to build a VFLW program that allows its players to thrive.

The Club, which will enter the AFLW competition in 2020, will host a VFLW Come and Try Day at Punt Road Oval on Saturday.

The talent identification process will be overseen by Richardson, Richmond’s general manager – football, Neil Balme, and list manager Blair Hartley.

A promising junior footballer, Hunter was drafted to Collingwood with pick 18 in the 2010 AFL Rookie Draft.

However he was forced into retirement aged 20, after a series of serious neck injuries.

Hunter then began his craft as a coach and spent three years as an assistant at TAC Cup club Calder Cannons – coaching the forward line in his debut season, the backline in his second, and the midfield in the final year.

He was then lured to Richmond by McRae.

“Firstly I’d like to thank Richmond for giving me the opportunity to coach both the VFLW and Richmond Academy programs,” Hunter said.

“I can’t thank ‘Fly’ enough for his support over the past two years and for encouraging me to apply for this position.

“Tomorrow we begin the VFLW recruitment process, before the season commences in May.

“It marks an exciting time for myself personally, but also for the Club and its members and supporters, who can now proudly follow a Richmond female football side.”