Tigers sign three more players for inaugural squad

HOT OFF the signing of marquee forward Katie Brennan, Richmond has added defenders Phoebe Monahan (from Greater Western Sydney) and Iilish Ross (Collingwood) and young midfielder Maddy Brancatisano (Melbourne) to its inaugural NAB AFL Women’s list. 

The Tigers are one of four teams entering the AFLW competition in 2020 and now have four of their list of 30 confirmed. 

All four will don the yellow and black in the upcoming VFLW season, which starts for Richmond on May 11. 

Monahan played 10 of a possible 14 games for the Giants over a two-year period. The 25-year-old, a carpenter in Australian Army, is returning to familiar territory, having spent last winter playing for Richmond's VFLW side.

"The move suits all aspects of my life in terms of footy, moving back home (Monahan is originally from Geelong) for the first time in six years and work being able to support it," Monahan told womens.afl

"I had a good season here last year. I got to see the club culture, the vision and the structure that Tommy (Hunter, VFLW coach) and the rest of the team had, and I wanted to be part of it coming into this year and the 2020 season. 

"Working in the army is a little bit of a double-edged sword. I think it's one of the most flexible workplaces in order to pursue AFLW while it's still a semi-professional, part-time sport. They allow me to attend training, meetings, games, any club commitments I need to, but most of that is after a full day's work anyway."

Ross, 19, is defender on the rise. She played 12 games for the Pies after being selected 13th overall in the 2017 NAB AFLW Draft. 

She had an injury-interrupted pre-season heading into this year, dealing with a stress-related shin issue, which she said contributed to a slow start. 

Ross is recovering from damaged ligaments in her right ankle suffered in round six, but is hoping to play at VFLW level in the second half of the season.

"Security (was a selling point) and the program Richmond is offering is really exciting. I think I left on good terms with Collingwood. I wish them all the best and I can't wait to get started," Ross said. 

"The change is a bit nerve-racking … but I’m really looking forward to a new club.

"The vibe is great here, you walk around the club and staff already know you, they say they're looking forward to the AFLW program. They're genuine and that's really exciting to be part of."

Brancatisano is yet to make her AFLW debut; the former Northern Knights under-18 captain was unable to break into a strong Melbourne midfield featuring Karen Paxman, Elise O'Dea and Lily Mithen.

The 18-year-old was selected with pick 15 in last year's draft and is known for her speed and run-and-carry game. 

"The Tigers approached me and presented me with some really good opportunities for my football, so I had a good think about it and said yes," Brancatisano said. 

"It was an awesome season (in 2019). Unfortunately, I didn't get to play, but training with (the Demons was) really good and I learned so much. I was working on my footwork, running from contests, developing my ability to deliver by foot as well, not just handballing.

"Everyone's so welcoming here and I'm just really looking forward to playing."