'It doesn’t look great at this stage' - Blow as Leitrim star suffers another knee injury ahead of AFLW debut

‘She is such an exciting player and has done everything right for the club so far,’ says Áine Tighe’s manager at Fremantle.

Áine Tighe at the CrossCoders AFLW camp last May.
Áine Tighe at the CrossCoders AFLW camp last May.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

LEITRIM STAR ÁINE Tighe has suffered a blow ahead of her potential Aussie Rules league debut with Fremantle after sustaining a knee injury in their final pre-season match.

Tighe was forced off after “landing awkwardly” in the third quarter of Freo’s 17-point loss to 2019 Premier champions Adeladie Crows, for whom Clare’s Ailish Considine plies her trade. 

27-year-old Tighe had caught the eye in leading the ruck division in Fremantle’s earlier practice match last week, and had been doing the same on Saturday until she suffered the cruel blow.

“If there’s a position Freo can ill-afford to lose a player, it’s the ruck,” Australian Football League Women’s [AFLW] reporter Sarah Black tweeted at the time of the incident.

“Irishwoman Aine Tighe just went down after landing awkwardly. In a lot of pain and not looking good at all.”

Fremantle have since confirmed that Tighe was “sent for scans to determine the extent of the injury,” with manager Trent Cooper offering an update via the club’s website.

“It doesn’t look great at this stage but we will get some scans next week on her left knee,” he said. “At this stage we have our fingers crossed, that she is okay but if not we will have our full support behind her.

She is such an exciting player and has done everything right for the club so far.

Should it be another serious knee injury, it would be a hammer blow for the Kiltubrid star who had only recently made a full recovery from an ACL setback.

Since undergoing cruciate surgery in June 2018, the high-scoring forward had not been involved in the Leitrim inter-county set-up but landed an AFLW deal with Fremantle through the CrossCoders programme, alongside Louth star Kate Flood last May.

Another knee injury to Adelaide’s Deni Varnhagan and a concussion suffered by Sophie Li also hampered the match in Mandurah, while Freo’s first-round clash is against Geelong on Sunday, 9 February at Fremantle Oval.

Elsewhere over the weekend there was plenty of Irish interest as Melbourne beat Collingwood by 14 points, 2018 champions Western Bulldogs beat Geelong by 12, North Melbourne were eight-point winners over Carlton, St Kilda beat Gold Coast by 22 points and Greater Western Sydney [GWS] Giants were 34-point winners over Brisbane 

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Donegal ace Yvonne Bonner kicked a goal for GWS as she continues her preparations for her second season in the league, while Mayo and “Irish rookie Grace Kelly was a strong target up forward” for West Coast, though they suffered a 28-point loss at the hands of Richmond.

18 Irishwomen will feature in the AFLW this spring, with Richmond and Carlton kicking off proceedings on Friday, 7 February.

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Emma Duffy

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