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Where are Richmond at really?

Sam Macpherson Roar Rookie

By Sam Macpherson, Sam Macpherson is a Roar Rookie New author!


46 Have your say

    Last Saturday night has been written off by commentators and Richmond players alike as a ‘one-off’, an aberration even a bad night at the office.

    However, I think if you take a bit more time to delve into this so-called aberration, there is much more to the story unfolding at Richmond.

    Richmond are a victim of the combination of their lack of success and their size and market share of supporters in Victoria. Week to week, commentators and fans want so badly for Richmond to be a dominant force in the AFL landscape again that they regularly overlook their pitfalls in both victory and defeat.

    As the ladder currently stands, Richmond have only defeated two teams inside the top 8. They over ran an injury-ravaged Melbourne, who led by more than three goals at the final break and they defeated a very capable Port Adelaide side at the Adelaide Oval in Round 15. Perhaps more poignant than these victories are the several close losses Richmond have suffered.

    • Round 7 – Western Bulldogs 5 points;
    • Round 8 – Fremantle 2 points;
    • Round 9 – GWS 3 points; and
    • Round 13 – Sydney 9 points.

    It is now recognised in the AFL landscape that the Bulldogs are not what they were last year and the Dockers are going through a significant re-building phase. At the time of the loss to the Bulldogs, it was considered an ‘honourable loss’, one of those poor terms used commonly when an underdog goes so close to but falls just short of what would have been a significant win.

    Fast forward ten rounds and the Tigers would start as pretty warm favourites going into a game against the Bulldogs. The GWS game was perhaps their finest performance this season, all bar the last ten minutes.

    It has to be noted however, GWS were and still are suffering from one of the longest injury lists in the AFL, yet still manage to be sitting second on the AFL ladder with seven rounds to play.

    The GWS injury list consists of Brett Delidio, Stephen Coniglio, Jacob Hopper and Ryan Griffen, four would-be walk-up starts into the Giants start 22 and lets not forget a five win 11 loss Collingwood team also pushed the Giants all the way at Spotless.

    Finally, the Sydney game, a game Richmond led by as many as 34 points but still managed to lose, conceding 57 points to 23 in the second half.

    To last Saturday night’s performance, this was not a one-off, not a bad night at the office and not an aberration. Does anyone remember Round 6? Apart from the first quarter, in which Richmond took a nine point lead into the break, Richmond were blown out of the water by an Adelaide side considered at the time potentially unbeatable, a hypothesis which has since been proven significantly wrong.

    From quarter time to the end of the game Richmond were outscored by 94 points. You would be hard pressed to find a half as bad as Richmond’s in Round 6 and a three-quarter performance as bad as Richmond’s in Round 16.

    Dustin Martin Richmond Tigers AFL 2017

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    However, both performances are forgiven – Round 6 because at the time a “developing” Richmond team ran into the unbeatable Adelaide, and last weekend’s because it was a bad night at the office. A score of 96 points to ten at half time? That’s not a bad night at the office, that’s horrendous.

    Some commentators were suggesting the Tigers could go all the way in the lead up to the Saints game, highlighting another example of this media thirst for Richmond to be a contender again. The Tigers are where many other teams find themselves this year, and that is, middle of the rung.

    They play some very good football, and they play evidently some very poor football, but I for one am not buying that last weekend was a one-off contrary to Damien Hardwick and Jack Riewoldt’s comments. Last weekend, was a by-product of being a young and developing football side, not a side that is in any way ready to contend.

    Richmond lacks an elite midfield depth, a second key forward target and relies too heavily on its leaders Martin, Rance and Cotchin to push deep into September. With a relatively soft draw heading into the finals, Richmond will make the eight but I don’t think they will make much noise. They are after all, middle of the rung.

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    The Crowd Says (46)

    • July 14th 2017 @ 7:28am
      Mark said | July 14th 2017 @ 7:28am | ! Report

      Tigers were ahead by 35 in the 2nd quarter.
      Not much in life gives me more joy than watching Richmond choke.

      • July 14th 2017 @ 9:15am
        peter chrisp said | July 14th 2017 @ 9:15am | ! Report

        Mark have to agree there are a number of supporters i guess jumping on the band wagon suggesting & Melbourne too, one of the sides will win the premiership in 2017 well it’s good to be confident no doubt and with 7 more rounds to go it will be interesting to see how both clubs will perform the rest of the season.

    • July 14th 2017 @ 7:29am
      Rob said | July 14th 2017 @ 7:29am | ! Report

      I was flabergasted this was just put on the shelf as “a bad night” and excused. It was their second REALLY bad night of the year. And it was all but ignored.

      Melbourne had 1 really bad night against the swans – their first bad game of the year, fourth game in 18 days and by half time missing 6 of their starting 18 yet they suddenly wernt contenders any more and had disipline issues.

      If Richmond are still considered contenders tgen lets hope they dont have another REALLY bad day come finals hey?

    • July 14th 2017 @ 7:58am
      Neil from Warrandyte said | July 14th 2017 @ 7:58am | ! Report

      One thing for sure- you have to be strong to be a true tiger supporter, tougher then any other AFL fan if you want to survive. For that we have the some of the best supporters in the land who continue to stand true despite the ridicule, taunting and humiliation we continue to endure from opposition fans.
      As a tiger fan I’m often torn between embracing the dawning of a new ‘golden era’ or just accepting that we are cursed and disappointment will always follow any short term success.
      Despite all of this I’m proud and happy to support the Tigers as the ‘ride’ is always exhilarating, something that only a real tiger fan could understand.

    • July 14th 2017 @ 7:59am
      Milo said | July 14th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      Balanced article Sam. You do overlook a critical aspect however – coaching. I think as much as anything Richo completely outcoached Hardwick on Saturday and preparation within the week . He took some cues from others over the season with regards Rance, Martin, Cotchin and Reiwoldt and shut them all down conclusively. Martin (for his high standards) & Cotchin probably played their worst games of the year. It was an absolute annihilation.

      As Richmond supporters we’ve seen it too often that once the tide goes against us, there’s no plan B, C et al to counter. This has been evident not only on Saturday and against the Crows, but against GWS, WB and Sydney. The preparation and game plan has been generally good this year and I don’t think its a big stretch of logic to imagine a lot of this has come from Caracella and to a lesser extent, Leppa and Balme given they’ve been significant changes from last season. But when it comes down to match day and in the heat of the box, Hardwick looks confused at times as to what to do.

      The after match presser was a classic Hardwick example of last year when it came to the Kane Cornes comment. Cornes was spot on. The Tigers absolutely got ahead of themselves and as they seem to do so often, believed their own press. But why did Hardwick need to react that way? Think it said more about him than his subject.

      This week is critical. And don’t think the Lions don’t have a real sniff. They do. They seem play the ground well –
      eg Esserdon – and we seem more comfortable against them at the Gabba than at ES.

      Unfortunately I think you’re right. A mediocre mid table finish this year looks more likely than not, and the coach keeps his job. Both of which do little to instill any confidence in my view, of their rise going forward.

    • July 14th 2017 @ 9:50am
      Mattician6x6 said | July 14th 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

      The fan base is the only thing that keeps Richmond relevant in the afl and am often bemused by how much media coverage this team gets.
      Since the vfl expanded to the subsequent AFL Richmond, gws & gold coast are the only teams to not make a grand final but we as supporters hear and see more coverage of the tigers than almost any team.

      • July 14th 2017 @ 10:14am
        Neil Daly said | July 14th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

        Mattician6x6 – what a woopy do comment. Tiges have 70K+ supporters and sells newspapers, more merch than any other Club and leads the way with attendances this season. The Tiges may be still developing – the fact is they will remain more popular than most… despite results. Suck it up princess!

        • Roar Guru

          July 14th 2017 @ 11:11am
          Cat said | July 14th 2017 @ 11:11am | ! Report

          Tigers only sell a lot of merchandise because at the end of every year Tiger fans burn theirs in disgust. Like microwaving memberships.

          • July 14th 2017 @ 11:56am
            Peter the Scribe said | July 14th 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

            Let’s see how they bounce back from their first real confidence shattering loss. There is no club who has been worse than Richmond for past 35 years but this year if they are at their best into the finals….a scary prospect for say a Geelong or Port to face. I tend to think they will be looking at a nothing to lose mentality in the finals…a bit like the Bulldogs last year….can be scary against teams expected to win such as the experienced, but ageing Geelong would be.

            • Roar Guru

              July 14th 2017 @ 12:06pm
              Cat said | July 14th 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

              Last time Tigers beat Geelong: Round 9, 2006

              Oh noes I am really scared now /sarcasm

              • July 14th 2017 @ 12:11pm
                Peter the Scribe said | July 14th 2017 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

                I’ll quote a stat for you once again oh forgetful, furry, purring one…heading into the Swans v Collingwood 2012 preliminary final….11 wins in a row for Pies before that night where the Swans won comfortably. Finals are a different thing.

              • Roar Guru

                July 14th 2017 @ 12:44pm
                Cat said | July 14th 2017 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

                When your team actually plays finals again get back to me, until then your opinion about finals is as irrelevant as your team will be in September.

              • July 14th 2017 @ 1:01pm
                Peter the Scribe said | July 14th 2017 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

                I guess you’re saying some teams have the wood over others cat….like the Pies with Geelong?

        • July 14th 2017 @ 11:56am
          Mattician6x6 said | July 14th 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

          Suck it up princess certainly shows intelligent debate is beyond some but in reply I say it doesn’t matter whether Richmond are in the eight or cemented in lower half of table Richmond’s media market share is way out of proportion to were they actually rate in afl landscape.
          North fans, Brisbane fans and a few others put up with being told their clubs are irrelevant in the afl and yet both have had far more success than Richmond in vfl/afl period from 87 onwards. As I said if it wasn’t for the fan base Richmond are completely irrelevant in discussions of successful clubs in afl.

          • July 16th 2017 @ 7:08pm
            Philby said | July 16th 2017 @ 7:08pm | ! Report

            Well, you should say, as irrelevant as it is possible for a team 5th on the ladder to be.

            As for North, well, never mind.

    • July 14th 2017 @ 9:56am
      Roger said | July 14th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

      I don’t understand how you take anything away from Richmond this year. Feels the football community has been waiting for Saturday night, but 9 wins, 4 losses by a combined 19 points and a couple of shockers is a pretty good return thus far.

      Often overlooked is that this is a team that won just 8 games last year, kicked just 3 goals in a 15 goal loss to the Giants and finished the year with a 113 point loss to the Swans. They were terrible.

      They have been extremely competitive this year. They have many flaws, they lack a key forward most definitely. However as inept as there forward line has been, the defence has been (for the most part) superb.

      They have bounced back well from a terrible year, and I think they sit comfortably in that 5th-8th bracket, which is what I believe most football fans and Richmond fans do believe. In a crazy unpredictable year, I give them a chance to win a final. Keeping Martin and further development from a very young and undermanned forward line could cement them with a decent finals spell in coming years.

      • Roar Guru

        July 14th 2017 @ 12:16pm
        Cat said | July 14th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

        What is often overlooked is:

        Richmond sits in 18th for disposal efficiency, 8th for average contested possessions per game, 9 in average tackles laid per game, 14th for average goals scored per game and 1st for average clangers per games.

        They are an outside team that doesn’t lay a lot of tackles and coughs up the ball a lot through mistakes and sloppy disposal while being a team that scores very little itself.

        That is not a recipe for finals success when the games typically ramp up in intensity and become even more contested.

        • July 14th 2017 @ 12:46pm
          Roger said | July 14th 2017 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

          As I mentioned, they have many flaws.

          8th for average contested possession’s isn’t exactly a fail, does place them above the Giants and above other fringe teams such as Essendon, St Kilda and West Coast.

          Interesting they are 17th for disposals, yet 8th for contested possessions; indicating they do win there share of contested ball. In addition they are 3rd overall for bounces, and 3rd for inside 50’s. They like to run the ball and use the ball aggressively to force it inside 50; hence the clangers. Would help if they could convert it into actual goals though.

          They are an interesting and flawed team who often look below par, but when the game plan comes off they are winning games of football and staying in games for a long time.

          • July 14th 2017 @ 2:41pm
            Milo said | July 14th 2017 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

            17th for disposals is deliberate. They are focused on a (relatively) long kicking game and minimizing over use. Its a strange one as you’d think in that case, they need another tall but theyve done reasonably well to date with one. finals (if they make it) may be a different story.

            Some other stats that should be looked at are turnovers scored from in I50, turnovers created in I50 reflecting the pressure acts of the small fleet that’s been mainly successful this year.

            Overall of course, stats can lie and be manipulated to assist an argument.

            There aren’t many teams going around this year that are not flawed judging by which metrics you choose to use.

            • Roar Guru

              July 14th 2017 @ 2:50pm
              Cat said | July 14th 2017 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

              I’d love to look over more stats, such as turnovers scored from in I50 and turnovers created in I50, but unless you have a Champion Data account you wanna share there is no way we can reference those stats #freethestats

              • July 16th 2017 @ 4:52pm
                Philby said | July 16th 2017 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

                Here’s a stat for you – 10 wins, 6 losses, 5th on the ladder.

                Sums up the situation succinctly, I would say.

        • July 14th 2017 @ 1:19pm
          Peter the Scribe said | July 14th 2017 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

          Cat yes …pressure is very important like the Swans showed you when they handed you a lesson in last years prelim despite nearly doubling them in inside 50’s? That’s what real pressure does Cat.

          Some stats:

          Sydney: +13 disposals, + 18 tackles, + 4 clearances

          Geelong: +32 inside-50s

          • Roar Guru

            July 14th 2017 @ 1:23pm
            Cat said | July 14th 2017 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

            Hey Peter while my club was losing a final, what was your club doing? Oh that’s right they already had their mad Monday several weeks earlier.
            I’d rather play finals and lose them then not play them at all.

            BTW that’s yet another straw man argument from you. Just gonna call you straw man from now on that okay? No? Too bad. Learn to stay on topic. The topic is Richmond. Not Geelong. I know your envy gets the better of you but try to rein it in.

            • July 14th 2017 @ 1:31pm
              Peter the Scribe said | July 14th 2017 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

              my point Cat is relevant to Richmond and where they are at…you above are quoting their frailty in pressure indicators? I am holding you to account for your propensity to manipulate any stats against any team. Fact is, you could do that with 17 other clubs besides Richmond. Clarkson wasn’t even concerned about some of those indicators you quoted en route to three flags in a row. Footy is more than the sum of stats only chosen to support your argument Cat….I’d be more worried about who Richmond have beaten or run close to this year.

              • Roar Guru

                July 14th 2017 @ 1:48pm
                Cat said | July 14th 2017 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

                Ok, Straw man, whatever you say Straw man. Richmond isn’t Hawthorn, Straw man. Hardwick isn’t Clarkson, Straw man.

            • July 16th 2017 @ 9:31pm
              Philby said | July 16th 2017 @ 9:31pm | ! Report

              Wow, what an unpleasant personality.

              And saying that someone has no substance or integrity (i.e. ‘straw man’) is just really out of order.