Tigers claw back to win in “mature performance”

RICHMOND coach Ryan Ferguson has praised his side for another “mature performance” after getting “jumped” in the opening quarter against Carlton before coming back to win, 6.8 (44) to 5.4 (34) at Ikon Park on Friday night. In another strong AFL Women’s clash, the Tigers found themselves down by 19 points at the first break, but from that point on, kicked 5.7 to the Blues’ 1.2 to run over the top of them and continue their six-game winning streak.

“It felt like it was a really good game of footy and the composure and the patience of the team… they did jump us but in saying that they had the wind and they converted really well and they just outplayed us in the first quarter,” Ferguson said. To wrestle momentum back and do it bit by bit, and to stick to task, it was another mature performance and really proud of how they handled that situation.”

Richmond is now guaranteed a finals spot, sitting to wins clear inside the top eight, with a heathy percentage of 134/9 compared to those in the bottom 10. Ferguson said matches like the tight win over Carlton helped the side further mature for “whatever” comes next.

“It’s just part of our growth in trying to become a good team and just understanding how to handle all sorts of situations, whether that be in front and challenged or behind and trying to work your way back,” he said. “The more experiences we get and if you get the good result at the end of the day it definitely adds to that belief. I know at three quarter time they were just oozing real genuine belief. They really thought they could outrun the opposition and outwork them and get the score on the board and that sets us up for whatever’s in front of us.”

When asked what the key reason behind Carlton getting on top of the Tiers early, Ferguson said the navy blue side was far better at the centre clearances – a stat the Blues won 9-2 – and they translated that into four goals with the breeze.

“I thought they were a fraction sharper and just a step ahead of us, and because they were able to dominate clearance with the wind,” he said. We started winning the ball okay but it was in the back half and probably didn’t take territory enough and overused the ball, their pressure was so hot early. I just thought it doesn’t take much, I thought they were a good team working their way into some good form. They’ve had their own challenges but I thought they were a tough team to play against tonight.”

Sarah Hosking returned to the side with captain Katie Brennan to bolster the stocks, with Hosking having 18 touches, five marks, six clearances, seven tackles and booting a goal, while Brennan kicked a major from eight disposals and four marks. On this particular night, she played the support role to Courtney Wakefield who slammed home four majors, while Ferguson praised the aerial strength of Gabrielle Seymour and Ellie McKenzie.

Another one who had a big game was former Blue, Grace Egan who racked up 18 disposals, eight tackles and two clearances, and Ferguson said the match was business as usual for ‘Greg’.

“I think she was excited to play the game but it was very low fuss,” he said. She’s one of us and obviously wants to get the win, but so do we all. We didn’t really focus on that at all to be far. We’ve never beaten Carlton, we’ve come close, but that was another good one to tick that one off off. We’re still working out way through, there’s plenty more we’d like to be able to get at, but that was a good one to get a win against the Blues who we respect.”

Richmond is now not only in a guaranteed finals spot, but still in with a chance for top four. Though their percentage is lower than their rivals, the Cats take on Adelaide next week, whilst the Pies have both North Melbourne and Brisbane in the final two rounds. Richmond faces bottom four side GWS in Round 9, before a bigger challenge against the Roos in Round 10.

“We aim for finals, we set ourselves at the start of the season. But since then we haven’t really talked about it because that’s not really how we operate,” Ferguson said. We’re going to have a really big challenge against GWS next week and that’s what we’ll focus on and just keep trying to ingrain our play and our method, and a consistent brand of footy and good things will come from that. Proud that we’re in the situation but in terms of our focus, let’s just play another good game of footy next week.”

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