Richmond’s AFLW side was expected to dominate with a strong list of players pre-season but persistent injury blows to its star-studded list meant losses were plentiful at Tigerland.
Although the Tigers fell short of wins, they managed to rack up some of the most points of any non-finals side last year, showing just how efficient their kicking inside 50 can be.
11th (three wins and seven losses)
Despite losing seven games, the Tigers were able to rack up high scores in close games last season, scoring an all-time and season-high score of 68 points against the West Coast Eagles.
The Tigers took a heavy blow as many of their key players were out with injury including Ellie Mckenzie (Calf), Harriet Cordner (Knee), Hannah Burchell (Knee) and Iilish Ross (Fractured leg).
Delisting a senior player and key forward like Christina Bernardi during their second trade-and-sign period seems to be a recurring theme for the Tigers as was the case with Phoebe Monahan last year.
Questionable moves in dropping key players show that the Tigers’ AFLW side isn’t quite at the same dynasty level as the AFL men’s side is.
During the off-season, Richmond’s elite Monique Conti won the Best and Fairest count for the third year in a row. She has become one of the club’s most successful players and one that is crucial to the development of the side.
In the 2022 season, the midfielder averaged 23.9 disposals, 5.9 tackles, and 5.3 clearances per game – which is an improvement from the previous season, despite already being one of the best in the competition.
What to look forward to:
Hopefully this season Richmond will be able to continue to apply consistent forward pressure and not succumb to so many injuries taking out important players from their positions to fill in the gaps.
During the season, key defender Harriet Cordner went down due to injuring her ACL which dampened Richmond’s back line. However, new recruit Libby Graham will take on the crucial role down back.
Graham is an important addition to the team as she stands at 176cm and is great at coming across and intercepting while holding her own in one-on-one contests.
It will be interesting to see if Richmond’s already strong forward attacking style will develop after it welcomes the explosive forward Stephanie Williams from Geelong.
Biggest unanswered question:
Despite improving on their debut season, Punt Road Oval is still to see many winning feats.
It remains whether Richmond’s injury woes will continue through to this season or if it has recruited well enough to improve on its lack of defence.
With the draftees Eilish Sheerin, Katelyn Cox and Charley Ryan being given a shot at donning the black and yellow – a new refresh should do the Tigers wonders.
Albeit a hard feat of teams are on the horizon, it is still up in the air if the Tigers’ defensive group is up for the test.
More AFLW Season Previews
It’s a big year for…
Richmond has drafted a multitude of elite players to complement its ground-level, high-scoring, efficient style game. It will be a big year for Stephanie Williams as she makes the move to Richmond from Geelong as she replaces Ingrid Houtsma.
Williams’ athletic traits and ability to break open a game will be the perfect accompaniment to Richmond’s forward line.
Another name to watch out for is Tessa Lavey – the dual sportswoman has shown she can do it all.
The 2021 recruit has proven to be an integral player to the Tigers, averaging 12.3 disposals per game and a career-high of 19 touches.
While the established players like Monique Conti, Sarah Hosking, and Sarah D’Arcy won’t fail to put on a show in season seven.
Richmond will face off with Geelong at the Cattery for the first game of season seven on a Sunday afternoon.
Richmond only managed three wins last season against St Kilda, West Coast, and GWS. The Eagles went down to the black and yellow in Round 7 which was the last time the two teams met – will they be able to get their game alive once again in Round 7.
It will be titillating to see how they fare against the teams they were able to beat last season.
The reigning premiers Adelaide Crows are the one every team dreams to beat. Richmond, fortunately, didn’t meet the three-time premiership winning side at all in season six but will face Adelaide in Round 2 at home.
Another highlight to watch out for will be when Richmond faces expansion sides Hawthorn and Essendon.
R1: vs Geelong, August 28 (GMHBA Stadium)
R2: vs Adelaide, September 3 (Punt Road Oval)
R3: vs Hawthorn, September 11 (Punt Road Oval)
R4: vs Essendon, September 18 (ETU Stadium)
R5: vs Brisbane, September 24 (Punt Road Oval)
R6: vs Gold Coast, October 1 (Punt Road Oval)
R7: vs West Coast, October 7 (Mineral Resources Park)
R8: vs Carlton, October 14 (IKON Park)
R9: vs GWS Giants, October 23 (Mildura Sporting Precinct)
R10: vs Kangaroos, TBC (Arden Street Oval)
Ins: Grace Egan (Carlton), Libby Graham (GWS), Stephanie Williams (Geelong), Charley Ryan (Dandenong Stingrays), Eilish Sheerin (Inner West Magpies), Katelyn Cox (Hawthorn VFLW)
Outs: Christina Bernardi (delisted), Sarah Dargan (Sydney), Ingrid Houtsma (Geelong), Akec Makur Chuot (Hawthorn), Hannah McLaren (delisted), Sarah Sansonetti (delisted)
Inactive: Hannah Burchell, Harriet Cordner
Round 1 line-up
Ninth – 12th
Although Richmond has recruited some impressive pickups, it’s hard to believe that it will be able to do much more than it did for the past two seasons.
With the addition of the new expansion sides, Richmond may be able to muster up a few more wins than the last two seasons.