AFLW Season 7 Glass Half Full/Empty: Richmond
IN a new approach to the AFL Women’s end of season reviews, Rookie Me Central casts both a glass half full and half empty lens over each side’s campaigns.
Today’s team is Richmond, who broke through for its first finals appearance in the club’s history.
GLASS HALF FULL
Making finals for the first time
Arguably the biggest achievement of Richmond’s season was making finals for the first time. The Tigers went on a run of seven wins in a row to finish fourth and make finals for the first time. Although they went out in straight sets, they still made finals for the first time, which cannot be discredited in how much of an achievement that is.
One player that continued to have another stellar season was midfielder Monique Conti. A sneaky midfielder who get out the back of stoppages, she proved to be a nightmare at times for opposition and she earned herself another set of accolades again this season, including an All-Australian nod and finishing second in the League Best and Fairest.
From a no-name draft bolter to All-Australian honours in the space of six months, it is fair to say it has been a big few months for defender Eilish Sheerin. She has had one of the best debut seasons, playing right from game one against Geelong like she was not going to waste the opportunity she had been given as a mature aged draftee.
GLASS HALF EMPTY
Going out in straight sets
Although the Tigers may have made finals, they did not light up the competition and ultimately went out in straight sets. A top four team never wants to be the one going out in straight sets, so it will be a source of frustration and motivation for the Tigers.
How to replace Courtney Wakefield?
One big loss for the Tigers heading into next season is Courtney Wakefield, who retired after this season. She was such a big presence in their forward line, and is going to be hard to replace. With the likes of Katie Brennan having lingering injury issues, the Tigers need to find another tall forward target, maybe multiple to fill that void.
Still a gap to the top sides
The Tigers may have won seven of their 10 matches this season and finished fourth on the ladder, but take a look at who they defeated and it tells a slightly different story. Richmond’s record against the other top eight sides was one win, one draw and four losses. While the victory was a spirited one against the Lions – to the only team to defeat Brisbane in the regular season – the Tigers still have a little way to go to match it with the best sides consistently.
Although it was not a perfect Season 7, but it was a huge step forward for the Tigers. Making finals for the first time is a huge barrier they have overcome, and they can build on that. Losing Wakefield is going to be a hard hole to fill, but hopefully Brennan will be over her injury concerns next season.