Author Topic: Premiers Richmond focus on basics, not next big thing (afl site)  (Read 295 times)

Offline one-eyed

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Premiers focus on basics, not next big thing
14 January 2018

RICHMOND has spent the first phase of pre-season focusing on the fundamentals of the game rather than trying to forecast what strategic changes opponents will make to try and knock off the reigning premier in 2018.

The Tigers were ahead of the competition strategically last year, re-working their game style to focus on defence first before moving the ball rapidly and instinctively when they won possession.

They then adapted to injuries in attack by implementing a small forward line that proved crucial in their drought-breaking premiership. It's a structure that could be copied by rivals in 2018.

Assistant coach Blake Caracella, one of the key strategic minds behind Richmond's flag success, said the game was sure to evolve again this year, but getting the basics right now was the best way to be prepared. 

"We're not sure what the challenge is going to be next year and what team is going to have the new, fantastic, whizz-bang idea," Caracella told

"That's always a challenge and last year we did a lot of things different to most of the opposition.

"In the end it proved that we played a good style of footy and we won the flag, but the game evolves and you never know what teams are going to bring."

Caracella highlighted West Coast, which mastered the web defence in 2015, and the Western Bulldogs, who won the 2016 premiership on the back of a contested ball and territory game style, as teams that had changed the game in recent years. 

The popular assistant said a focus on fundamentals meant the Tigers would be prepared to adapt if another significant tactical shift entered the game in 2018.

After finishing 13th in 2016, the Tigers were able to sneak up on the rest of the competition last year, but 2018 will present a different challenge as teams try to take a big scalp against the premiers. 

While Caracella acknowledged the Tigers would have a target on their backs, he said the challenge could be overcome by keeping the same mindset they took into 2017.

"We can still be hunters, we don't need to be hunted," Caracella said.

"We can go out each week and hunt the opposition and play with the same intensity we played with last year.

"This year is different. We have won the flag the year before and teams will be hunting us. But it's more a mindset for us."

Having joined Richmond from Geelong at the end of 2016, Caracella has been hailed for bringing a calming influence and strategic eye to Damien Hardwick's coaching group.

Watching the patterns of the game was a key part of his role as the Tigers' midfield spread and ball-movement coach, and he had a big role in elevating the game of the club's key onballers.

A premiership player with Essendon (2000) and the Brisbane Lions (2003), the 40-year-old said he held aspirations to be a senior coach but was taking great joy in his current role.

"I love seeing the development and helping players individually get better," he said.

"But I also love gluing the team together and the strategy of how to beat an opponent.

"I'd like to be a senior coach one day. Whether that happens or not is up to other people."

Offline Rodgerramjet

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Re: Premiers Richmond focus on basics, not next big thing (afl site)
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2018, 07:27:37 AM »
Caracella sending out the feelers for a senior job, reckon he will be gone by seasons end either Collingwood, Essendon or the Saints.
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