RICHMOND had already planned to add Lauren Tesoriero to its AFLW side before the hard-nosed midfielder joined the club as a recruiter, coach Tom Hunter has said.
Eyebrows were raised when the Tigers announced they were taking the 33-year-old with their final pick of the NAB AFLW Draft (No.96), especially considering she is planning to play with a torn ACL in her knee.
"It looks [odd], but I think the plan always was to bring Lauren in prior to when she was our recruiter, so Kate (Sheahan, list manager) and I have had this planned for a while," Hunter told the Credit to the Girls podcast.
"She's got the job where she's our recruiter, she mainly watches the NAB League, that's her area of expertise and at the moment, that's what she's doing.
"And we also think with pick 96, it's not much of a risk in the end. I don't think we were passing on too much of the girls who were there, and we're comfortable with the decision in the end."
Hunter said he is confident Tesoriero's knee will hold up, the midfielder having worked closely with the club's medical staff and been tested extensively before the draft.
"We had a couple of plans in place (for mature-age talent) that didn't quite work out in the draft, but we sort of said to ourselves in the list management team that if we could get Lauren with our last pick, we would," Hunter said.
"Her experience she has on the field is fantastic, but what a lot of people don't see is her care off the field for the girls. Her ability to connect our players together is really important, and we rate her really highly internally. I know Kate, myself and 'Balmey' (Richmond head of football Neil Balme) does as well. I think Balmey's her biggest fan.
"We wanted to bring her in to look after Mon (Conti) and Katie (Brennan) in the midfield.
"I've said this to Lauren, she's on the other end of her career, where she can probably take the hits and bumps and the bruises to allow Sophie (Molan) and Grace Campbell to develop on the outside, so we're not bashing up Mon and Katie too early."
In this episode…
Hunter talks about the make-up of Richmond's list ahead of its entry to the AFLW in 2020, while Sarah Black and Lucy Watkin recap the draft and the fixture.
0:51 – Five talking points from the NAB AFLW Draft
4:53 – Brisbane and Fremantle's draft haul following expansion raiding
7:14 – Second-chance draftees
8:42 – Richmond coach Tom Hunter joins the show
10:33 – On the Socials with Tom
12:38 – Signing star AFLW players
16:38 – The drafting of recruiter Lauren Tesoriero
22:37 – Sarah and Lucy deconstruct the fixture and conference structures
27:30 – Pre-season picks for teams to watch