Mature Tigers trust “system”

RED-HOT Richmond is on a five-game winning streak, and AFL Women’s head coach Ryan Ferguson attributes it to his squad’s maturity during Season 7, and the Tigers’ increased belief in their system. Their latest victim was West Coast, picking up the four points out in the West with a 6.7 (43) to 3.6 (24) victory at Mineral Resources Park.

Ferguson said he was “very, very happy” with the Tigers’ victory over the Eagles, executing the plan they had put in place.

“The game panned out the way we thought it might,” he said. “They challenged us at times the way we thought they might. We really respected them and put a lot of time into their players and their styles. We respect all of our opposition in that way. We were well versed in what we were coming up against and thought we executed pretty well.”

Though Richmond lead at each break and by as much as 19 points at half-time, before the Eagles kicked the next two goals and drew within six points, 10 minutes into the final term. Back-to-back goals to Grace Egan put the nail in the coffin and resulted in the Tigers extending back out to a 19-point final margin. Though it might be cause for concern to let them back into the contest, Ferguson said you could look at it as a glass “half full”.

“The response from that moment was just outstanding and I just thought we controlled that game from that moment. Grace Egan was outstanding with her composure,” Ferguson said. “Millzy Yassir had a job to do, Thomas (Charlotte) was starting to rebound, all day really, but I thought she might be a key pillar down there that we needed to stop.

“Played her role and enabled us to kick those two goals. Started to take the heat out of the game and got it on our terms. Every week that growth in those situational awarenesses really impressive and we’ve been working on it for so long, so it’s just good to be able to control the game in that moment.”

Ferguson was pleased that his side was backing itself in, and the players were becoming “more and more mature” and “embracing every moment” along the way.

“They are a group that seems to embrace a challenge,” Ferguson said. “If I challenge them, if they sense whatever the scenario might be thrown at them, they do, which is a good sign, they do like to grow a leg and they take that head on.

“We were a bit banged up today in terms of some of the injuries and even some of the players that were playing sore out there that you wouldn’t know about. But they have a sense of trust and calm, who comes in and how they can play their role to get the job done so they’re becoming more mature by the week.”

With a system-based plan in place, Ferguson said the players were not worried about things that were no longer in their control, and just focused on playing their role and to the structures that were implemented.

“We don’t have to worry about the wouldas and shouldas and couldas,” he said. “If only we had all of our players fit or more of our players fit. We trust that we have depth in our list that can come in and play a role on any given day.

“We trust our system. We trust our connection, so that does give a sense of calm, rather than hoping ‘oh hope we get a bit of a run of luck and we can kick a few through’ no, we just need to do what we do, and will keep us in every game hopefully.”

Now Richmond is steamrolling towards finals, and even on the verge of cracking into the top four. While it is still a week-by-week prospect, Ferguson said that if the team kept banking the wins, that “good things will happen”.

“Five in a row is a really good effort, lost a couple of tough ones early, but to stay in the moment with that mindset just trusting our game, our work rate, growing it and just be present in the moment,” he said. “Essentially that’s going to bring you good things, so that’s where it sits.”

Richmond has Carlton and GWS GIANTS in the next fortnight, with both games very winnable for the finals-bound Tigers, before a potentially top four-deciding clash with North Melbourne in Round 10.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments