MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 14: Harriet Cordner of the Tigers in action during the round two AFLW match between the Richmond Tigers and the Melbourne Demons at Punt Road Oval on January 14, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Richmond fell short of the expectations bestowed on them during the pre-season, but still showed big improvements throughout the season.

While the Tigers' 11th placed finish may be a sour note for the club and supporters - being one spot lower than their 2021 finishing place - the Tigers can rest easy knowing their new additions to the club led to steady improvement throughout 2022.

Injuries hurt the Puntr Road club, with the absence of Harriet Cordner particularly taking its toll, but Richmond was able to rally together and produce some performances worthy of a team who should be competing for a finals spot sooner rather than later.

Season Finish: 11th
Record: 3-7

2022 Season snapshot

The Tigers recorded three wins in 2022, two coming against sides ranked below them on the ladder (St Kilda and West Coast), while their win against the Giants, who finished in ninth, was a hard fought nine-point affair.

Losses were aplenty, but often still featured a decent score from the Tigers, with their biggest defeat coming against Collingwood in Round 10, a 38-point loss. When the Tigers were doing well, the forward line seemed to click, kicking some impressive scores even in losses.

Despite this, the Tigers clearly struggled against the top sides and fell victim to several key injuries, ending their year one spot lower on the ladder than 2021. Yet, Richmond looked more impressive than that of last season, with a more established game plan and off-season additions proving all the difference.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 18: Laura McClelland of the Tigers handballs during the AFLW practice match between Richmond Tigers and Geelong Cats at The Swinburne Centre on December 18, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Star player: Monique Conti

Conti impressed yet again in 2022, continuing the form that made her a star of the competition for much of her career. The 22-year-old played all ten games this season, averaging 23.9 disposals, 5.9 tackles and 5.3 clearances per game.

In the season opener alone, Conti picked up an impressive 29 disposals, nine clearances and seven tackles in a dominant individual performance. Firming as a contender to take out Richmond's best and fairest count, Conti used 2022 as yet another opportunity to stamp her authority as a star of the competition.

Breakout player: Tessa Lavey

While arguments could be made that Lavey's first season in the game was her breakout, season two is where the 29-year-old really made her impact on the competition.

Splitting her time between the AFLW and WNBL, Lavey continued to impress as the season wore on, averaging 12.2 disposals per game. Additionally, Lavey managed to hit the scoreboard throughout the season, kicking four goals throughout 2022.

Despite missing three games, when Lavey was on the field in black and yellow she excelled, expecting to poll well in Richmond's best and fairest award.

Positives

Free flowing footy and scoring: As mentioned earlier, when the Tigers were on, free flowing footy was too. Their work inside 50 was some of the best competition wide, scoring the second-most points of any non-finals side in 2022.

The Tigers managed to kick some high totals of 61, 47, 68 and 46, often a consequence of smart, free flowing footy coming from the middle of the ground. Conti and Lavey put in the work in the centre, with their consistent performances driving Richmond's attacking power.

Katie Brennan was the Tigers' leading goalkicker for the second year in a row, booting 14 majors. The formidable captain was a strong presence up forward, finishing fourth overall competition wide in goals scored.

Negatives

Defence: While the Tigers seemingly had no issues scoring when the ball streamed forward, when they lost control of the ball their understrength backline seemed unable to stem the opposition attack.

Despite finishing in 11th position, the Tigers were ranked third highest for scores against, conceding six or more goals on five occasions throughout the year.

Losing Harriet Cordner was a game changer for Richmond, with their marshal in defence succumbing to an ACL injury in their Round 3 30-point loss to Fremantle.

Embed from Getty Images

While Richmond's fast-paced, free flowing style of footy was fun to watch when it worked, being unable to control the rebound led to some unfortunate mistakes inside their defensive 50.

Season Grade: C-

The Tigers were relegated to the lower half of the ladder, again, but showed some considerable signs of improvement. While the gap between their best and worst is still apparent, a strong midfield unit looks to be paving the path forward, and up the ladder.

Pre-season expectations let the club down when they failed to be realised, but with expansion teams looming as player poachers, the Tigers have the players and the style to make a climb up the ladder next season.