Tigers duo set to miss pre-season start due to WNBL

RICHMOND draftee Tessa Lavey will have an unorthodox introduction to AFLW, missing a portion of pre-season because of the WNBL bubble and her commitments with Bendigo Spirit.

But she won't be the only Tiger set to join the WNBL bubble in Queensland, with best and fairest Monique Conti also likely to head up north.

YOUR CLUB'S DRAFT All you need to know about the 57 new faces

It is currently unclear which team Conti will represent, having parted ways with the Melbourne Boomers at the start of this year.

Richmond selected 27-year-old Lavey – an Australian Opals representative – in Tuesday's NAB AFLW Draft with pick No.43, after having spent time working with the club's specialist coach Nathan Chapman.

AFLW Draft wrap: Biggest winners and surprises

03:59 Oct 6. 2020. 9:22 PM

Nat Edwards, Mel Hickey and Sarah Black wrap up the 2020 NAB AFLW Draft

The shortened WNBL season will run from mid-November to the end of December, with all games to be played in northern Queensland. The AFLW pre-season will begin at the start of November.

"It's something we're going to have to work through moving forward. We'll do whatever we can, the bubble's going to be pretty crazy, we've got 14 games in something like 30 days, so nearly every second day we have a game," Lavey said. 

RECAP Who went where? Every pick as it happened in historic draft

"It means we'll be fit, I suppose, because we'll be playing a lot. Whatever the club asks of us, we'll try to get done. Looking forward to getting up, playing and getting back here and really focusing on AFLW. 

"Mon (Conti) and I have chatted over the last couple of days, and when we're up in the bubble in Queensland, I'll get in contact and get a coffee and have a chat. She's had first-hand experience, so she's someone I'll really reach out to and lean on."

Tessa Lavey with the Bendigo Braves. Picture: Bendigo Advertiser

Lavey has one season of footy under her belt, all the way back in the under 14s at Casterton, near the Victorian-South Australian border. She's still trying to work out what position she'll play at AFLW level.

"It was an all-boys league, only about three girls played. Mum and Dad wouldn't let me play unless I had a helmet and I was top age," she said.

NO.1 REVEALED Tigers take elite-kicking McKenzie

"I only got the one season in, but I absolutely loved it. It's been a long time since that moment, but I'm looking forward to it.

"My mum's been on at me about [wearing the helmet in the AFLW], but I'm like, 'I don't know about this Mum, I've got too much hair to be wearing a helmet', but we'll see," she said with a laugh.

A lifelong Tigers fan, Lavey said Richmond's pitch centred on becoming the best athlete she could, a sentiment which appealed given she is keen to once again represent Australia at the 2021 Toyko Olympics.

"It's been a long process for me, making this decision, and it's something we haven't taken lightly. I've spoken really closely with my friends and my family, so we tried to ask all the questions and get answers, and in the end, this was the best option for me," Lavey said.

DRAFT SHOCK Australian basketballer selected at pick No.43

"COVID happened, so it made us slow down a bit and think about life, where I want to be and where I want to go.

"Other family things have happened, and it just really pushed me that this was 100 per cent what I wanted to go after."