Why Conti's big pre-season makes her a terrifying 2022 prospect

RICHMOND captain Katie Brennan says she can't wait to see what cross-code star Monique Conti can achieve this AFLW campaign after finally getting a full pre-season under her belt.

Conti's previous WNBL commitments meant she has never completed an AFLW pre-season before.

Despite that the 22-year-old has already established herself as an out-and-out star during her four seasons in the AFLW, winning a premiership and a best-and-fairest award with the Bulldogs before following it up with two best-and-fairest awards at Richmond.

The two-time All-Australian appears set to take her game to an even higher level this year after putting her full focus into Aussie Rules.

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"I've loved watching the evolution and growth of Mon, both as a footballer and more importantly as a person," Brennan said ahead of Friday's season-opener against St Kilda at Skybus Stadium.

"She's had the opportunity to give her all to the program in terms of her energy (this pre-season), not splitting it between basketball and football.

"Getting the load and pre-season in her body and her legs (has been important).

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"She's a super talent and she's so young and has such a bright future ahead of her.

"We're super excited to see what she can do for us and the role she can play."

Katie Brennan (left) and Monique Conti chat during a Richmond training session on November 8, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The Tigers were dealt a huge blow earlier this week when 2020 No.1 pick Ellie McKenzie was ruled out of the early stages of the season with a calf injury.

"It is really unfortunate," Brennan said.

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"She's a superstar in her own right now and she's going to be something really special in the future."

St Kilda was also dealt pre-season blows.

Two-time best-and-fairest winner Georgia Patrikios is still yet to decide whether to receive the COVID-19 jab and appears set to miss the entire season.

Fellow midfielder Tyanna Smith suffered a season-ending ACL injury to her left knee in November.

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Richmond and St Kilda both posted 3-6 records last season and neither side is expected to snare a finals berth this year.

The victor of Friday's season-opener will have the ideal launching pad to prove the doubters wrong.