Forward Aine Tighe has been added to Fremantle’s 2023 leadership group, which will once again work under captain Hayley Miller.
It will be Miller’s third season as captain and she will be supported by vice-captain Ange Stannett and fellow leaders Gabby O’Sullivan, Laura Pugh and Tighe.
Tighe brings experience into her leadership role at Fremantle, having worked as a leader when playing Gaelic football in Ireland with County Leitrim.
It’s another honour in what has been an impressive journey for the 30-year-old, overcoming two serious knee injuries to start playing regular football in 2022.
As Fremantle’s primary target up forward in Season 7, she kicked 11 goals from 10 games and finished third in the Club’s Fairest and Best.
Senior Coach Lisa Webb congratulated Tighe and was pleased to see a diverse leadership group working with Miller.
“We’re rapt for Aine. She’s an important addition to our current leadership with Hayley, who’s been a really great leader for us, and Ange Stannett being appointed vice captain again with Laura Pugh and Gabby O’Sullivan,” Webb said.
“It’s a diverse group with some great leaders in there. I’ve been working with them through the pre-season and they’re really eager to continue to develop and grow the culture at this Club. That’s something we’re really proud of.
“They’re always reaching out and finding ways they can improve and work as leaders, and they’re collaborative in that approach.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what Aine can bring to this group as well.”
Webb praised Tighe’s ability to connect with what is a young playing list at Fremantle.
“With Aine, it’s been about her confidence to adapt and learn a new game, and now she’s really keen to help the other young players that have come in,” Webb said.
“She’s confident in her development and she’s now able to support the younger players.
“When she was in Ireland and playing Gaelic, she was always in a leadership role and I know she was really confident there.
“It’s great she gets to come into our AFLW leadership group and I think she’ll make a really strong contribution to the rest of the leaders.”
Tighe is one of four players with an Irish background on Fremantle’s list and said it was an honour to be voted in as one of Fremantle’s leaders.
“I feel privileged and I’m happy to take that step up,” Tighe said.
“To have the backing of the players is really exciting heading into the season.
“I probably have different ways to relate to a lot of girls in the group and that’s a positive, hopefully I’ll be able to bring some different perspectives into the leadership group.
“I’m really excited to get started and see what we can do.”
She said the team was reaping the benefits of a big pre-season, with the group doing a significant amount of work together prior to the players’ official return.
“The buzz has been up from day one since we got back together,” Tighe said.
“We’ve put in a considerable block of work before we got started.
“With a new coach and fresh ideas and new players, there’s plenty of energy around the place and it’s revitalised everyone.
“I have massive confidence with a proper pre-season under my belt. I’m still getting my head around aspects of the game but it’s really exciting what’s to come.”
Miller was thankful to again be voted in as captain by her teammates and congratulated Tighe on her addition to the leadership group.
“It’s always a humbling experience and I never take this kind of thing lightly,” Miller said.
“It’s a real privilege, to captain this footy Club and this team once again. It’s something I’m really proud of.
“It was no surprise for anyone that Aine’s taken that next step.
“She’s been around longer than many realise. The first couple of seasons she spent injured, unfortunately, and over the past six to 12 months, she’s really grown both in her footy ability and in her leadership.
“She’s growing her confidence in that area, coming from an Irish background it’s a new sport that she was learning in her first couple of years.
“Now she’s become a force on the field, on the track in terms of her leadership and her professionalism off it as well.”