Ins – Mate Colina, Samson Ryan, Maurice Rioli Jnr.
Outs – Luke English, Jack Higgins, Derek Eggmolesse-Smith, Oleg Markov, Alex Rance, Fraser Turner
Living proof that you don’t need to be nice guys to be successful. From top to bottom the hubris at this joint is unbelievable. It wasn’t that long ago we pitied the supporters from Rhyming Slang Road. Now we just want this era to wind up as their fans have become worse than Collingwood supporters albeit without the overt racism.
The backline was supposed to collapse without Rance. Turns out Balta who I am pretty sure they recruited as a forward is actually a gun back alongside Grimes and Astbury who apparently are pretty good at this key backmen thing. Run coming from Short, Houli and Vlastuin completes a very good backline that is supported by the team up the field.
The midfield know their roles and get it done most weeks. Obviously Martin is probably the best midfielder in the game and certainly knows how to get it done in September. Cotchin didn’t have his best year but still got it done. Bolton played his best footy so far last year and you throw in McIntosh, Prestia and Edwards, it looks pretty solid. Not the best midfield in the competition but they again know how to get the job done.
The forward line has probably the best one two punch with Reiwoldt and Lynch. They are well supported by the cast of smalls who can find the goals when the ball hits the ground. You could certainly make an argument than the Tigers game plan doesn’t work to the advantage of Lynch but it certainly works to the teams advantage.
The rucks are maybe the worst one two punch in the AFL with Nankervis and Soldo. They need a solid run from Nankervis but Richmond may have done more than anyone else to disprove the need for a quality ruck.The coach is strangely facing a challenging year this year, the messy end to his marriage and rumblings within the club will be interesting but truth be told, three premierships means he can write his own cheque. The off the field stuff has been present through it all with the team and it seems to have little impact.
Richmond has done a good job to keep their list together. They have lost some role players but no one you would think makes a significant difference or cant be replaced. Their main threat this year is themselves. I don’t think they will win the minor premiership in part because I am not sure they value it. Last year may be the model of just doing enough during the year to stay top four and then building towards their best form in the finals. I think between 3-4 will be their mark again this year.
Their ability to execute their game plan is understandably the envy of the league. People undersell the talent on the list, and point to the game plan as the reason for success, but they have winners all over the ground. Their ability to keep the ball moving forward at all costs doesn’t make for pretty games, but is the essence of simplicity and every player knows where to run in order to take advantage of ball movement. They will figure heavily in the finals, and are strong contenders to win again.
The way they distribute their pressure is also annoyingly good. If the opposition has the ball, typically one player will pressure the ball carrier to force the disposal, but they also make a point of having multiple players pressuring the receiver, which increases the likelihood of the ball being turned over and them being able to take possession. As you say, this requires all their players to be committed to running both ways, and knowing where to run.
I prefer to focus on the times they look bad.
Because I hate Richmond.
Which seems to be when they are forced into a plan B.
Not very often I’ll admit, but if an opposition key forward starts to get hold of them, their backline tends to panic and lose structure & overlap run. With a knock on effect on their mids offensive running. IE, they start guarding space, not opponents, and get picked apart by shorter passes to unmarked smalls & mids drifting forwards.
So here’s to 2MP and others tearing them a new one.
Once this team is done and I mean done, I can see them ending up with 5 flags. I think they’ve easily got 2 more in them. Will go down as one of the greatest if not greatest teams of all time. Dimma will be the coaching goat. Not bad for a guy who couldn’t get PowerPoint to work
Flags are flags, 3 out of 4 is an incredible achievement but this collection of players would get blown away by the Brisbane, Hawthorn and Geelong eras of recent times. I think it shows how poor the game has become as a spectacle that the brand of footy they play has got them the success that they have. The 3 other teams I mentioned played a great brand of footy, personally I wouldn’t cross the street to watch the current Richmond team play.
We’ll never actually know that though, will we? The pressure Richmond apply might not allow a team like that Geelong side to play their free flowing high scoring footy, on the other hand the hawks pin point foot skills might’ve made the Richmond pressure and surge game redundant. Who knows? Far too many variables. That’s why if they end up with 4 or 5 flags during their time they probably go down as the greatest side of all time/modern era