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'Outstanding' Tighe stars in new position as Fremantle make it four wins from four

Sarah Rowe and Aishling Sheridan were on the losing Collingwood side.

Áine Tighe (centre) celebrating after the win.
Áine Tighe (centre) celebrating after the win.

LEITRIM STAR ÁINE Tighe continued her stunning, long-awaited Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW] debut season with an “outstanding” performance in a new position as Fremantle Dockers made it four wins from four against Collingwood.

After two injury-ravaged campaigns spent on the sidelines after a devastating run of knee injuries, Tighe has been making her mark Down Under.

Having lined out as a forward, often in the ruck division, before today, the Kiltubrid star switched to defence in the 31-point win over Collingwood at Victoria Park.

And she certainly impressed, named amongst the best on the ground alongside Collingwood’s Mayo ace, Sarah Rowe. Aishling Sheridan of Cavan was also in action for the Pies; all three Irish players starting.

“But it was the performance of Aine Tighe (12 intercepts) in defence that caught the eye, dictating play and being a constant thorn in Collingwood’s side,” as the match report read.

“Tighe’s first three matches have been spent up forward with the occasional relieving stint in the ruck, but with Fremantle’s attack featuring Ann McMahon, Roxy Roux and Gemma Houghton for the first time this year, Tighe was forced into defence,” it continued under the heading ‘impressing at both ends of the field’.

“Covering for Janelle Cuthbertson (second game missed with concussion), Tighe lined up against the experienced Sabrina Frederick and competed well, particularly at ground level.”

And head coach Trent Cooper echoed those sentiments in his post-match press conference, heaping praise on the 29-year-old.

“We actually threw Áine back in the last quarter last week just to give her a bit of practice because she hadn’t had any,” he said, explaining Tighe’s switch to defence in the absence of Cutbertson.

“She’s an extremely smart human being, Áine. She’s been out here studying the game for two years and she just takes everything in. She’s always got her notepad and pen and we just talk to her during the week about what playing on Sabrina Frederick would be like.

“She’s a good player to play on because she’s a smart player herself so she took Áine to the ball and then with her height and athleticism she could go from there and she was outstanding today.”

Freo were excellent throughout this statement win, as they comprehensively stamped their claim as Premiership contenders.

Both teams had been unbeaten before today, but the Dockers held the Pies to their lowest-ever AFLW score of seven points in the 5.8 (38) to 1.1 (7) result.

1,257 watched on at Victoria Park, with several other Irish players in line to feature in the weekend’s remaining fixtures (there’s 14 in the league in total).

Cora Staunton and Bríd Stack have both been named in the Greater Western Sydney [GWS] Giants matchday squad for tomorrow’s meeting with Western Bulldogs, while the West Coast Eagles-St Kilda clash has been postponed due to Covid-19 issues, meaning no Round Four action for Aisling McCarthy, and Niamh and Grace Kelly.

AFLW Round Four results / fixtures

*all kick-offs in Irish time

Thursday 27 January

Collingwood 1.1 (7) Fremantle 5.8 (38)

Friday 28 January

GWS Giants v Western Bulldogs, 6.10am

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St Kilda v West Coast Eagles (postponed)

Saturday 29 January

Adelaide Crows v Melbourne, 4.10am

Brisbane Lions v Geelong Cats, 6.10am

Sunday 30 January

Carlton v North Melbourne, 4.10am

Gold Coast v Richmond Tigers, 6.10am.

Irish players involved in the 2022 AFLW season

  • Orla O’Dwyer (Brisbane Lions / Tipperary)
  • Aisling McCarthy (West Coast Eagles / Tipperary)
  • Grace Kelly (West Coast Eagles / Mayo)
  • Niamh Kelly (West Coast Eagles / Mayo)
  • Aileen Gilroy (North Melbourne / Mayo)
  • Rachel Kearns (Geelong Cats / Mayo)
  • Sarah Rowe (Collingwood / Mayo)
  • Aishling Sheridan (Collingwood / Cavan)
  • Cora Staunton (GWS Giants / Mayo)
  • Bríd Stack (GWS Giants / Cork)
  • Áine Tighe (Fremantle / Leitrim)
  • Sinéad Goldrick (Melbourne / Dublin)
  • Lauren Magee (Melbourne / Dublin)
  • Ailish Considine (Clare / Adelaide Crows)

Alongside TG4′s weekend coverage on Saturday (5.15pm) and Sunday (11.15am), you can stream every game live on the AFL Women’s official app and the AFL Live app.

- This piece was updated to correct Tighe’s age.

BTL 5

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Emma Duffy

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