Coach – Damien Hardwick
Points For – 5th
Points Against – 4th
Top 5 Best and Fairest
2019 Rising Star Noms
Liam Baker (Round 10)
Sydney Stack (Round 11)
Shai Bolton (Round 17)
Ins – Thomson Dow, Noah Cumberland, William Martyn, Hugo Ralphsmith, Bigoa Nyoun
Outs – Dan Butler, Brandon Ellis, Shaun Grigg, Connor Menadue, Callum Moore, Alex Rance, Jacob Townsend
Not very often a premiership team has three rising star nominees on the way through. Richmond have everything ticking along beautifully at the moment. They don’t seem to have put a foot wrong and paced their run last year until the minute and demolished their grand final opponents with their best game of the year. It is going to take a disaster for them not to be around the mark again this year.
The backline lost Rance and performed admirably with Grimes and Astbury standing up and taking his place. I actually still think there is a chance Rance comes back this year but there is obviously stuff to play out and a lot depends on the scuttlebutt as to why he retired. Houli had a great year off half back last season and seems to keep getting better, he teams up well with Short to ensure that the delivery off half back sets the standard up the field.
The midfield isn’t the one or two man show it once felt like. Dusty was down slightly last year although improved as the season went on and Cotchin is real consistent and sets a very high standard. Caddy moved to the wing last year and I don’t know if it worked as well as hoped and will be interesting to see if they keep him there, Prestia is a gun and had a career best year. They found Pickett last season who looked reasonable in the grand final. Stack faded a little as the year went on but would expect him to be better again this year. There isn’t a weak spot in their midfield who also work well defensively as well.
The forward line faltered slightly last year against expectations but that is going to happen when you bring in a new player who essentially is going to be the focal point of your attack. Lynch got better as the year went on but I think he made them more predictable and the manic pressure from previous seasons wasn’t as obvious. Still he is a great player and teaming with Reiwoldt, they will be stronger this year. I think their smalls weren’t as damaging last year but they read well with Bolton, Edwards, Rioli and Castagna able to cause damage. I think there is significant improvement in their forward line from last year.
The Rucks are the only real weak spot for Richmond with Nankervis a solid but not great ruck. Soldo is alright around the ground but they rely on the midfield to get the job done which in general it does. The coach is probably (sorry Clarko) the top coach right now in the game. He maintains his sense of humour, looks relaxed and is able to change his game plan when necessary to change the direction of the game. He has all the players playing for each other all the time and it doesn’t look like it’s about his ego.
Richmond are a top two side if they want to be. They will look to time their run again and I don’t think the minor premiership is important to them. They will ensure they have everyone primed at the right time of year to win another grand final. It is going to take an injury list of disastrous proportions for them not to challenge again. I think they finish top two and enter the season as favourites for the whole thing and rightfully so.