Richmond players are adressed prior to the qualifying final. Photo: RichmondFc

Season Seven was the best in Richmond’s short history in the AFLW competition, winning through to a finals position for the first time in its history. Despite the fact it failed to win a final, exiting in straight sets, the Tigers finished in a top-four position which has fans excited for the future.

Finishing Position: 4th (seven wins, two losses, one draw)

What Worked

One of the highlights of Richmond’s season was the dominance out of the midfield, with a number of players stepping up in crucial moments, lead by superstar midfielder Monique Conti.

Being ranked seventh for total disposals in the competition, with an average of 205.9 per game, the dominance around the ball was a key feature of many of the winning performances in Season Seven. Conti had many nominations for best performance of the season, but it is hard to go past her 30-disposal effort in Round Eight against Carlton.

With Conti on the board already, Richmond won the race for former Carlton midfielder Grace Egan, who didn’t miss a beat all season long. She would average 16 disposals across Season Seven, with her best performance coming against Hawthorn in round three with 23 disposals, five marks and a goal.

The Tigers also received important contributions from hybrid midfielder/forward Jess Hosking, who starred against GWS in round nine with 17 disposals, four marks and a goal, proving her class.

What didn’t

While the Tigers did defeat one of the eventual grand finalists, the Brisbane Lions as one of only two sides to do so, working on claiming major scalps will be a focus of 2023 season.

Richmond was defeated by Adelaide, Brisbane, North Melbourne, and Geelong throughout the season with all of these sides making the finals, and three making it to the penultimate weekend.

Gaining more experience going forward will no doubt be an enticing factor for Richmond, and until it can claim some major wins against quality opposition, it will struggle to do damage at the pointy end of the season.

Breakout Stars:

In her first season of AFLW, defender Eilish Sheerin put together a fantastic season, averaging 16.3 disposals, 3.7 tackles, and 371.2 metres gained. Despite being 30 years of age, Sheerin slotted into the Richmond backline with ease.

In her third season at the top level, Ellie Mackenzie returned from injury with a bang, averaging 15 disposals, 3.3 marks and three tackles. The midfielder oozed class and, despite a tough semi-final loss to North Melbourne, put together a strong effort with 19 disposals and five marks.

More AFLW Season Reviews

AFLW Season Seven Review: Adelaide Crows

AFLW 2022 Season Seven Review – Geelong Cats

AFLW Season Seven Review: Western Bulldogs

Highest Point:

On the back of a two-game winning streak, Richmond shocked the AFLW in Round Five, defeating the previously undefeated Brisbane Lions by four points at Punt Road. The win is considered one of Richmond’s best in its short history.

Up against the odds and trailing at the major break, Richmond turned to Courtney Wakefield to put it in front, and she delivered in what was a brilliant effort in front of goal against a resolute Brisbane defence, who had shown minimal weaknesses across the first month of the season.

Maddie Shevlin was sensational all game long with 24 disposals, and 658 metres gained, Conti laid nine tackles, and Wakefield made the most of her opportunities in front of the goal, kicking both of the goals.

The win spring-boarded Richmond’s strong form for the remainder of the season, giving the side the confidence to finish in the top four and claim a second chance in the competition’s finals series.

Lowest Point:

Coming into the season, it looked as though Richmond was primed for finals football for the first time in history, having assembled a strong side with strengths all over the field. However, it couldn’t have started the season any worse with an 0-2 start.

Richmond lost a tight contest to Geelong in Round One, blowing many chances in front of goal to get into the game, with just one goal and five behinds.

It didn’t get any better in Round Two, and after leading the reigning premiers all afternoon, a final-quarter fadeout saw the Adelaide Crows snatch the victory from the jaws of defeat.

Where to next?

Richmond took massive strides in Season Seven, making the finals for the first time, and claiming some impressive scalps in the process. The Tigers also went on one of the longest winning streaks in the competition, with seven wins and one draw after round two’s defeat.

Many players in the Richmond side proved themselves as genuine stars of the competition, with the likes of Conti, Wakefield, Sheerin and Egan performing week in, week out all season long.

Richmond will be desperate to show itself and the rest of the competition that it was not an anomaly to see it finish in the final eight. They will also bee looking to win a final for the first time in the club’s history.

The Tigers conceded scores of 39 and 74 in the respective finals, so adding strength to the backline will no doubt be a key focus on recruitment going forward to ensure it progresses up the ladder in 2023.

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