2017 season preview: Richmond Tigers

Stirling Coates Roar Guru

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    Richmond’s run of finals appearances came to a disappointing end in 2016, with Damien Hardwick claiming he over-coached the team and promising a simpler gameplan. But will that be enough to bring the Tigers back up?

    Let’s have a look at the list changes made in the off-season.

    Additions: Dion Prestia (Gold Coast), Toby Nankervis (Sydney), Josh Caddy (Geelong), Shai Bolton, Jack Graham, Ryan Garthwaite, Tyson Stengle (draft)

    Subtractions: Brett Deledio (GWS Giants), Ty Vickery (Hawthorn), Troy Chaplin, Chris Yarran, Reece McKenzie (retired), Andrew Moore, Adam Marcon, Liam McBean (delisted)

    What happened last year?
    Richmond found themselves behind the eight-ball early in 2016. After struggling to shake off Carlton in Round 1, the Tigers dropped their next six games to virtually eliminate themselves from the finals in May.

    The club rebounded with a strong six weeks of football that saw them net five wins, but they fell away again with just two wins in their last nine games, resulting in a 13th-placed finish, and no finals for the first time since 2012.

    What’s changed?
    The club made some smart moves in the trade period that should help them perform a bit better in 2017.

    Dion Prestia and Josh Caddy both have their best football ahead of them, and they’ll bring a healthy injection of class and polish to a midfield that currently rates on the higher end of serviceable.

    Toby Nankervis has the potential to be the steal of the season. While showing strong glimpses during his time in Sydney, the Swans didn’t have the game time to give him and the early signs are that, at age 22, he’ll be a dominant force in the number one ruck job for Richmond.

    What needs to happen in 2017?
    While Hardwick slowly pulled Richmond out of the doldrums they were mired in during the late 2000s, 2016 was an unwelcome return to the ‘Tigers of old’.

    Richmond suffering shellackings has been an all-too-common sight since the turn of the century, and the nightmare returned for Tigers fans last year, with the club losing 14 games by an average of 44 points.

    They say the snowball gets bigger even if you’re pushing it uphill, but too often last season this team simply shut up shop when the game got away from them early, with diabolical efforts against North Melbourne in Hobart, the Giants in Canberra and Sydney in the last round particularly shameful.

    If they’re to be any chance of climbing back up the ladder in 2017 they must start competing again from siren to siren.

    Richmond also desperately need to find more avenues to goal this season, with only three players last year eclipsing 20 majors – and one of them now plays for the Hawks.

    The Tigers failed to put 60 points on the board on a stunning eight occasions last season, and only reached triple digits five times.

    Jack Riewoldt and Sam Lloyd do their bit to keep the scoreboard ticking, but Richmond need huge increases in output from players like Ben Griffiths, Shane Edwards and Daniel Rioli.

    Converting new recruit Caddy into a permanent half forward or crumbing forward role could also be worth trying.

    The verdict
    Richmond are capable of performing much better than their disappointing 2016 effort, but they have a lot to work on to get back to that level.

    Problems with consistent effort crept back into their psyche last season, and that is a crease that takes some serious ironing out. They’ll improve, but finals are still beyond them.

    Prediction: 10th