Despite not being able to take to the field in this weekend's AFLW season opener, Iilish Ross is still excited for Richmond's maiden game.
The Henty product is recovering from foot surgery after rupturing ligaments during round six of the 2019 AFLW season with former club Collingwood.
After signing with the Tigers last year Ross has her sights set on playing her first game in yellow and black in round five against Greater Western Sydney.
"The rehab has just taken a bit longer than I'd hoped for," Ross said.
"Last Wednesday was my first run on the track, so I'll look to keep building up and if all goes well I'll be back round five."
The 20-year-old knows all too well the hype around the first game of the season having played in last year's season opener with the Pies.
Richmond will take on rivals Carlton at Ikon Park on Friday night.
"I was part of the season opener in 2019 in my first AFLW season and the hype around that was huge, it's pretty special," Ross said.
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"The two clubs going head to head to open the season will be great, and on a Friday hopefully plenty of people will come down.
"Everyone's just eager to play round one and then focus on the rest of the season.
"It's pretty exciting to be a part of it and hopefully I can play my role when the time comes."
The skilled defender is hoping to make her presence felt in the Tigers' backline as she continues to develop in her second AFLW season.
"That's the goal, to play down back," Ross said.
"Also to keep growing as a player and learn a bit more than just being a lockdown, to grow into more of a rebounding defender."
Richmond is one of four clubs to enter the 14-team competition this season alongside Gold Coast, St Kilda and West Coast.
Eight rounds will be contested before finals.
Ross agreed it was great to see the competition expanding but admitted more games for future seasons would be welcomed.
"Everyone's embraced us really well I think, which has been really nice," she said.
With the Tigers in conference A and Magpies in conference B, it's unlikely Ross will meet her former teammates unless under finals pressure.
"Come finals, if we make it, we might play them, otherwise we don't get to see them," Ross said.
"There's no bad blood there.
"I hope they do well this season and hopefully we do well also."
If Ross is to return in round five she would see GWS before clashing with fellow new comers St Kilda, then Brisbane and reigning premiers Adelaide.
The AFLW 2020 season opener between the Tigers and Blues gets underway at 7:45pm.