Author Topic: Richmond 2018 season preview (Herald-Sun)  (Read 264 times)

Offline one-eyed

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Richmond 2018 season preview (Herald-Sun)
« on: December 22, 2017, 01:48:37 PM »
Richmond Tigers premiership 2017: 2018 season preview

Chris Cavanagh,
Herald Sun
22 December 2017


RICHMOND broke a 37-year premiership drought this year and now Tigers fans are dreaming about going back-to-back for the first time since 1973-74.

With a young side, a host of A-graders and improving depth, there is no reason Richmond is not capable of claiming a 12th premiership next year.

Here are eight reasons the Tigers can go all the way once again in 2018.

IT HAPPENED THIS YEAR

… So why can’t it happen again? The Tigers proved themselves both during the regular season to secure a top-four spot and throughout the most dominant finals series produced by a team since Collingwood in 2010, winning all three games by six goals or more.

By the end of the campaign Richmond had beaten 15 or the other 17 sides at least once, the only two sides it did not overcome being Sydney (nine points) and Western Bulldogs (five points). Such records would give the Tigers plenty of confidence that they can do it again.

YOUTH

If you are a believer in the ‘premiership window’ — being when the bulk of your list reaches 24-27 years old — Richmond’s 2017 success arguably came before its time. The Tigers’ grand final team had an average age of 25 years and 45 days but if you dig a little deeper, seven players were under the age of 24.

The oldest player was Shaun Grigg at 29 who does not look to be slowing down. Nick Vlastuin will start next season aged 23, Daniel Rioli will still be 20, Dan Butler 21 and Toby Nankervis 23. Then there is Grand Final hero Jack Graham, who has played just five games and does not turn 20 until February. Talk about upside.


DEPTH

Depth is not a word that has been associated with Richmond over the past decade or so, but Blair Hartley and the list management team have finally got there by building a strong list. Richmond was blessed on the injury front this year and therefore put out a largely stable side but there are some good players in the wings.

Small forward Shai Bolton is one who missed out on Grand Final selection. Midfielders Connor Menadue and Corey Ellis and defenders Oleg Markov and Jayden Short are others. All of those players will be 22 or younger at the start of next season and will no doubt be pushing their cases for greater senior opportunity.


DEFENCE


The premiership year was built off the back of a rock-solid defence. Damien Hardwick spent years teaching and tinkering and eventually found a winning formula. Alex Rance and David Astbury are two of the best key defenders in the competition and aren’t going anywhere.

Dylan Grimes also played a pivotal role, along with the likes of Nathan Broad and Vlastuin in what was a back six that was hard to penetrate.

The Tigers conceded the third fewest points of any team during the regular season. Yes, opposition teams might be able to pick apart some of their defensive mechanisms next year but gun players are hard to bring down.

DUSTIN MARTIN

This man’s 2017 campaign was one of the best individual seasons in history. Premiership Medal, Brownlow Medal, Norm Smith Medal, club best-and-fairest. In the Brownlow Medal count he polled a record 36 votes including a record 11 best-on-grounds.

As much as opposition sides tried to work Martin out, they couldn’t. He was deemed untaggable and no one could stop his signature fend-off. Can he get even better?

Who knows. But at just 26 years old one thing is for sure — he should not be slowing down anytime soon.

CULTURE


The buzz word around Punt Rd all year was ‘culture’. It was the biggest change after a disastrous 2016 season which resulted in a 13th placed ladder finish. There was a clear bond not only between the players but the coaching group and wider circle of club staff.

Look at the Hawthorn, Sydney or Geelong sides over the past decade. Strong culture helps bring sustained success and the bonds that have been developed at the Tigers over the past 12 months should hold the club in good stead once again next year.

STABILITY

What is set to change at Tigerland next year? Not much. All the key personnel are set to stick around as they pursue more success, from president Peggy O’Neal and chief executive Brendon Gale down to football manager Neil Balme and coach Damien Hardwick.

Little more than a year ago there were board challenges and calls for Hardwick’s tenure to come an end. Such upheaval now seems a distant memory for the ‘new’ Richmond.

MCG FACTOR


Yes, Champion Data rates Richmond’s fixture next year as the second-hardest behind Fremantle. But it is not all bad news. The Tigers played 11 home-and-away games at their beloved MCG this year but next year will play 14. Including the 2017 finals series, the Tigers won 12 of 14 matches at the venue, with the two losses coming by a combined 11 points.

They defend the ground better than any other side, conceding an average of just 67 points there. Any opposition taking on Richmond at the MCG next year would be very wary.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/afl/teams/richmond/tigers-flag-defence-eight-reasons-richmond-can-go-backtoback-in-2018/news-story/2fdb9bb849c788e0c97be8cd2e8a6643

Offline one-eyed

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Re: Richmond 2018 season preview (Herald-Sun)
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2017, 04:35:43 PM »
Still selling papers with full page spreads  :thumbsup.


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