Coming into 2021, the NAB AFL Women's competition has Unfinished Business. Following the abrupt cancellation of the 2020 season at the end of March as COVID-19 restrictions hit the country, players are keen to make up for lost time. As well as the competition as a whole, each player has their own personal Unfinished Business. This is the final instalment of the video and text series, which saw womens.afl speak to a variety of players about their aims for the upcoming season.
TALISMANIC Tiger Sabrina Frederick has a steely glint in her eye when she talks about Richmond's first NAB AFLW season.
It was far from the ideal introduction to the AFLW world for the Tigers, winless from their six matches and parting ways with coach Tom Hunter at the conclusion of the cancelled season.
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Richmond sunk to a new low in what eventuated to be the final match of its season before COVID-19 hit, scoring just three behinds against fellow expansion side St Kilda and losing by 39 points.
"I think that game hurt in many reasons, because it was a winnable game for us, it was a real winnable game," Frederick told womens.afl.
"You're always going compare yourself to the teams that are expanding as well. And I think for us, we just wanted to get one win on the board. So, to finish that game and not get another chance to compete and get a win, definitely didn't leave a good taste in our mouths.
"But at the same time, I think it's a blessing in disguise, I think it actually helped us in preparation for this pre-season and this season."
ROUND ONE REWIND FEAT. 'RAZOR RAY'
Frederick etched her name into the record books during the round one clash against Carlton, becoming the first goalkicker for the Tigers' AFLW team.
It took until the final quarter, as the more experienced Blues galloped away to a 34-point win, and Frederick didn't realise the achievement until told by an unlikely source.
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"Richmond is such a proud club, proud of their history, and I'm so grateful to be a part of that," she said.
"Obviously, we didn't get the win, but in that moment, I think it was much bigger than football at that time, for the club just to be able to have a women's team. They were so proud, we were so proud.
"I do remember kicking the goal and not really thinking anything of it, and 'Razor Ray' (Chamberlain, umpire) comes up to me and goes, 'Congratulations, you just kicked the first goal for Richmond women's,' and I was just like, 'Oh my God, that's crazy'.
"I think we had a couple of shots on goal at that point, so I didn't actually realise it was the first goal. To have that moment, and one of the best umpires in the game [acknowledge it] as well, is definitely one to remember."
START-UP CLUBS, TIMES TWO
Frederick was signed to Brisbane as a marquee selection at the tender age of 19, part of the inaugural Lions' list build in the first AFLW pre-season in 2016.
She moved down to Melbourne for Richmond's first season, in part to be closer to fiancée Lili's family, and is consequently fairly well-versed in the challenges of starting an AFLW side from scratch.
The process, experienced two times over, has also led to some self-reflection.
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"I think there's a feeling-out process, just people being in elite environments for the first time. Experiencing that with two clubs you realise, there's a similar pattern," Frederick said.
"A lot of girls are playing their first professional game in round one. So, I think people are figuring out what works for them, how they operate, how they can push themselves, how the staff can operate together.
"There's so many moving pieces, but I think the biggest thing of all that I think I've learned is, although I am a leader of the club, I'm still a young player. In myself, I had to adjust to those things in both teams.
"I started at Brisbane at 19 years old, I started at Richmond at 23. So, still have a lot of growth in myself, but I think leadership was part that I wanted to [contribute to] both clubs, and I'm glad that I could be a part of that."
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