Freo facing ruck crisis after Tighe's ACL blow

FREMANTLE is facing a serious ruck dilemma coming into its fourth NAB AFLW season, after it was confirmed Irish rookie Aine Tighe has torn her left ACL.

Tighe, 27, was recruited from Gaelic football side County Leitrim to fill the ruck role after the departures of Parris Laurie and Alicia Janz to West Coast.

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The injury happened during Fremantle's practice match loss to Adelaide after she landed awkwardly while marking.

It leaves 18-year-old Mim Strom – named on the interchange bench in the 2019 AFLW under-18 All Australian side – as the sole fit recognised ruck on the club's list.

Mim Strom might have to shoulder the ruck load for Freo this year. Picture: AFL Photos

Strom played well in the practice match after Tighe was injured, but it will be a big ask for the youngster to ruck out the entire season.

Defender Emma O'Driscoll (182cm) is the only other player over 180 centimetres on the Dockers' list, with key forwards Gemma Houghton and Roxy Roux capable of pinch-hitting.

I'm disappointed to get it confirmed but it's just one of those things in sport I guess,

Aine Tighe

"The club has been great in giving me the support and helping me work out the logistics of everything.

"The plan is to stay here (Australia) for the rest of the season, it’s been such an enjoyable experience so far and the girls have been fantastic. Hopefully, we’ll get on the road to recovery as soon as possible."

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Fremantle football operations manager Darryn Fry indicated the highly regarded Tighe will be around next season.

"Aine was really looking forward to making her on the 2020 AFLW season," Fry said.

"It's incredibly disappointing that she will have to sit out the season, after only coming over from Ireland to Perth in October of last year. 

"We will support Aine through her rehabilitation process and hope to see her playing AFLW football for Fremantle in 2021."

The Dockers also have Ann McMahon (broken leg and ACL), Alex Williams (ACL, aiming for a late-season return) and Matilda Sergeant (hip) on the sidelines ahead of their round one clash against Geelong at Fremantle Oval.