RICHMOND has appointed Ryan Ferguson as its AFLW coach.
After a protracted search for Tom Hunter's replacement, Ferguson – who has previously been a development coach with both the club's VFL and AFL sides – was awarded the role in the first week of pre-season.
Assistant coach Nathan Chapman and recruiter Lauren Tesoriero had been running the training program in the interim, while players were allowed to participate in small, COVD-safe voluntary sessions.
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The 39-year-old Ferguson played 47 games for Melbourne between 2003 and 2007 and then continued his career with West Adelaide, captaining the side.
A qualified schoolteacher, he has been a defensive coach with Richmond's successful VFL side since 2015 and headed up the club's Next Generation Academy program this year.
"I am thrilled to accept this opportunity. I have taken a keen interest in this program over the years, so it is familiar to me and I am really excited to join the team," Ferguson told the club website.
"It is exciting to have the opportunity to coach this particular group and there are so many great people in the program already.
"There’s a lot of fun that goes along with that, but also direction and high standards. We want to drive some really elite habits within the group."
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Richmond finished at the bottom of Conference A in the truncated 2020 AFLW season – its first – and is yet to record a win.
The Tigers' head of women’s football Kate Sheahan said Ferguson had "shown a keen interest" in the women's program while he was in his AFL role.
"He has fantastic relationships with the AFL program and its players and staff. We are excited about the connections to be built between the two programs moving forward," Sheahan said.
"Our players will greatly benefit by having a coach of his calibre with a proven track record of developing players. We love his passion and energy and commitment to improvement and feel he is the perfect person to take this group forward."
The Tigers had previously met with former North Melbourne coach Scott Gowans back in June, who told womens.afl the club weren't yet in a position to offer the role.
Other Richmond assistants to have been heavily linked to the AFLW job were Andrew McQualter and Xavier Clarke.