Why Adelaide and Geelong won’t win the flag in 2018

Alphingtonian Roar Pro

By Alphingtonian, Alphingtonian is a Roar Pro

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    Following an impressive and dominant finals series from Richmond, their coach Damien Hardwick spoke of the Tigers’ focus on a high pressure rating and speed (especially up forward) being the cornerstone of their turnaround as a team.

    Richmond had comprehensively belted every team they faced in the finals including Geelong and Adelaide. They have become the pre-eminent finals team and a blueprint for the perfect modern AFL side.

    You’d think then that all teams would realise speed, especially up forward, and small forward lines that pressure would be the way to go? Not so for Geelong and Adelaide who will enter 2018 as slow and tall as ever.

    So let’s get to the crux of the issue, how do you apply the most pressure as a team? The most simple way is to have a very fast team that can close down space very quickly, change direction quickly, and harass with repeat efforts. Tall lumbering types and slow bulky mids just won’t get the job done in regards to pressure.

    Both Adelaide and Geelong don’t seem to have realised this, losing speed during the trade period and not looking to replace or increase the speed of their respective sides at all.

    Both also favour having two talls in their forward line the majority of the time with Adelaide having Taylor Walker and Jenkins, Geelong Tom Hawkins and Harry Taylor/Rhys Stanley. This outdated frankly archaic philosophy of how to construct a forward line cost both teams dearly when they faced the speedy Tigers on the wide expanses of the MCG in finals.

    Their tall lumbering forwards were a huge liability being exposed on transition again and again by the Richmond wave of runners.

    It’s not only their forward lines though that lack speed, Adelaide and Geelong are slow almost all over the ground. Geelong only have Pat Dangerfield, Sam Menegola, Zach Tuohy, and maybe Nakia Cockatoo (if he can get on the park) with any real breakaway pace and Adelaide only having Eddie Betts, Paul Seedsman, and Curtly Hampton providing any dynamic speed.

    So where is their pressure going to come from?

    Geelong will take solace in the fact that they play on by far the most narrow ground in the league for nine games in 2018 meaning they won’t have to shut down anywhere near the space they would on the MCG to apply pressure.

    The Crows too play 12 games on a smallish ground in the Adelaide Oval, allowing them to apply pressure with more ease than they would be able to elsewhere.

    Unlike Richmond who transition with dynamic pace, handball, or kicking to space both Adelaide and Geelong prefer to use a more measured kicking game with ball in hand rather than run and carry. Logic says they’ll now rely on such measured and at times predictable ball movement even more.

    Strangely being able to play their respective home grounds so well and only having to shut down limited space is a real problem for both teams, deceiving their respective coaches (and many of their more misguided fans) in to feeling secure in set ups and a game plan that simply won’t cut it in September against quicker sides on the wide spaces of the MCG.

    Patrick Dangerfield Rory Sloane Geelong Cats Adelaide Crows AFL 2017

    (Photo by James Elsby/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    I also can’t help but feel Taylor Walker and Hawkins are forwards made for yesteryear far less athletic in the air and at ground level than a Jack Reiwoldt type they are becoming a liability and a point of weakness in their respective teams because of the way they draw the ball and hardly mark it.

    Once it goes to ground they’re completely out of the contest and it’s swept up by nimble defenders who run it out of there to start yet another counter attack. On a side note it’s no coincidence GWS’s best and most dynamic performance of the year came without their lumbering forward in Jon Patton slowing down their forward line.

    The advantages of a small quick forward line with only maybe one KPF marking target that’s incredibly athletic like Richmond’s are four fold.

    First, they apply enormous pressure to the opposition inside forward 50 limiting the effectiveness of the oppositions ability to build up coherent attacking play from defence or forcing a turn-over to give the attacking team a chance to score again.

    This is reflected in Richmond being ranked first in intercepts per game in 2017, and first in tackles inside 50 per game.

    Second, on quick transition from defence they supply speed which can move together in unison using handball/run and carry down the ground to quickly create an outnumber and overwhelm slow tall traditional defences. This is reflected in the combined stat of Richmond finishing fourth in metres gained per game, and third in bounces per game in 2017.

    Third, when a team like Richmond are looking for a target moving forward opposition defences find it incredibly difficult to go third man up with mosquito forwards leading every which way separating defenders and not making it obvious where the ball will go. Richmond finished second in marks inside 50 per game last year despite having a small forward line for this very reason

    Fourth, small forwards with speed are lethal when the ball hits the ground, able to win more ground ball than tall defenders and being able to break with speed from the contest to create space and set up teammates to have shots on goal. The Tigers ranked equal fifth in goal assists in 2017.

    Each area on its own may not lead to success but when it’s all combined it’s a lethal mix. It’s now the blueprint for success and unless Richmond get terrible injuries I think they’re a very good chance to go back to back given they’re a fair way in front of the rest of the comp when it comes to fully understanding the importance of speed and athleticism in modern footy.

    Port Adelaide may have the speed to worry them, possibly GWS if they actually have the courage to play small, maybe even Essendon are an outside chance with their own mosquito fleet, Hawthorn can’t be counted out if Puopolo and Cyril stay fit.

    Come September however one thing’s for sure the Tiges certainly won’t have to worry about Adelaide or Geelong troubling them, with the Cats and Crows forward set ups and lack of understanding of the importance of speed all over the park more closely resembling the structure of a perfect team from 1988 than 2018.

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    The Crowd Says (226)

    • November 14th 2017 @ 9:06am
      GJ said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

      There are more than a couple of Adelaide supporters who agree that the GF loss started at match committee and selection

      • November 14th 2017 @ 9:20am
        Harsh Truth Harry said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:20am | ! Report

        GJ, there is also the small matter that Don Pyke sat on his hands and did nothing as Richmond charged away. He tried nothing, did nothing. Apparently, those close to him claim he expected a recovery like Adelaide did against Collingwood in the home and away season from 50 points down. But they were playing a good side and he did nothing. The worst coaching performance in a GF in 20 years.

        • November 14th 2017 @ 9:44am
          GJ said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

          I am not sure of the relevance to either the article or my comment, apart from putting your own negative spin into the conversation, coupled with a nice bit of speculation.

          • November 14th 2017 @ 9:56am
            Harsh Truth Harry said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

            Correct me if I’m wrong GJ but this article is about Adelaide and Geelong and why they won’t win the flag. One reason they will not win the flag is becasue Don Pyke was shown up in the 2017 GF by sitting on his hands and watching a premiership slip away. As the great John Kennedy once said “DO SOMETHING!”, Pyke did nothing, tried nothing. How is this not relevant?

            • November 14th 2017 @ 10:21am
              GJ said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

              Prefacing a sentence with “apparently” and claims about what did and didn’t happen in the coaches box doesn’t provide any inspiration that your opinion is based on fact or truth.

              We all know opinions are like ar$eholes. We know that everyone is entitled to 1. However that part of the subject has been done to death. You aren’t offering anything new. You are really just finding a little ghoulish enjoyment kicking a dead carcass around and waving your arms screaming “look at me, look at me”.

              Attention seeking behaviour is generally the domain of the insecure. Each to their own, and all that though I guess.

              • November 14th 2017 @ 12:03pm
                Harsh Truth Harry said | November 14th 2017 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

                GJ, give me then the moves Pyke made in the GF? Does anyone know? Why not try anythign when the flag is slipping away, Eddie B in the middle for ten minutes, Sloane back pocket! anything! It is relevant that in the biggest stage of all the current Adelaide coach sat doing nothing. Your coach hasn’t changed so the problem remains. You will make top 4 but you still can’t play the G and your coach now has a huge question mark over his head in finals.

              • November 14th 2017 @ 2:16pm
                GJ said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

                And there in lies your problem. The point I was trying to make was that there far more than 1 issue that relates to Adelaide’s performance on GF day. I mentioned that many believe that selection played a part.

                Many supporters, myself included, could not believe the match committees decision to pick Otten for example. Hampton or Milera were possible better inclusions however 1 was returning from injury and had limited game time and the other was in average form.

                Game plan played a part. Injuries played a part. And some people overlook that Richmond had a great day.

                You seem to be focussed on second half decisions made or not made in the coaching box. You seem to think that by doing a major shuffle of magnet that some sort of a miracle was going to happen.

                The point is that I have seen no 1 thing that happened that had overwhelming impact on the ultimate result. All I see you doing is repeatedly kicking the dead carcass.

              • November 14th 2017 @ 8:58pm
                Stephen said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:58pm | ! Report

                GJ, Agree – there is usually more than one root to any tree – and Adelaide’s downfall on GF day were multiple causes – to your point.

                But what HTH is saying – when play began, the one thing the Adelaide coaches box could control – were player movements and rotations. I’ve heard the argument – Pyke expected a Collingwood style comeback – from 51 points down to a drawn result. But I bet moves were made on that particular day. This game was systematically slipping away for over an hour and the senior made zero clear moves. A circuit-breaker was desperately required and Pyke remained stunned in the glare of the GF spotlights.

                I’m a big fan of Pyke’s. He’s the type to learn from this. But this was not his finest hour. Not by a long stretch.

              • November 14th 2017 @ 9:58pm
                GJ said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:58pm | ! Report

                I understand that. In fact it is crystal clear.

                The point I was making in my original post was that Adelaide’s problems in the GF started long before hand and included mistakes at the selection table. There are a few reasons why they would’ve chosen to go down the route they did, ultimately it didn’t work.

                Again, all I did was reference where the problems may have started, not an all encompassing autopsy of the entire game and the lead or the fall out.

                The article and author didn’t take that into consideration either. Nor the fact that due to changes in personnel they’d be unlikely to select a similar team in the future.

                Somewhere within HTH first sentence this all got lost.

      • November 14th 2017 @ 12:43pm
        Hungry Jack said | November 14th 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

        Where are these supporters, GJ? All I’ve heard are excuses, whining about the unfairness of the venue, umpires favouring the opposition, etc. Or are these just the issues that finished them off after poor selections? Adelaide have only themselves to blame and won’t get a shot at it again next year. Cruel game.

        • November 14th 2017 @ 1:07pm
          Mattyb said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

          HJ,plenty of neutral supporters questioning the venue after third played the minor premier at home,it’s a topic growing every season.
          Interesting with the World Cup qualifiers they play home and away legs recognising the enormous advantages of playing at home. Adelaides premiership chances will certainly rise if they play a non VFL side in the GF,maybe we might have a showdown GF this year which would be a terrific step in eventually making the game truly national.

          • November 14th 2017 @ 2:01pm
            Milo said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

            Adelaide has played two MCG tenants in a grand final and has lost one and won one. Lets move on.

            • November 14th 2017 @ 2:51pm
              Mattyb said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

              Milo,I still think Richmond are still worthy premiers just like the dogs were despite finishing sixth and playing the top side at home or Hawthorn playing at home despite being thrashed by WC in the semi,so please don’t think I’m in any way critiscising your side. I’m passionate about the game going national and will not be moving on until the game reaches what I believe is its full potential,if you support the old VFL system your also entitled to that view Milo.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 11:06am
                Milo said | November 15th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

                Now now Mattyb don’t throw that ‘VFL supporter’ jibe this way. Im also passionate about the game being national (and international one day fingers crossed) but also a realist. Btw, in 2015 didn’t the Hawks also have to go across to Perth to beat the top team in the PF?

                Anyways until we have an alternate world class ground that holds 100k people, creates that cauldron-like atmosphere and showcases our great game to the world on that last day of the season, I see no reason to change. The Perth stadium will hold 60,000 or perhaps another 10k if they go ahead with extensions so still a fair way short of the G.

                The MCG is in my view the most neutral venue we have – tenancies notwithstanding.

                If the day comes when we do have an alternate venue (and we will eventually) then by all means pick the most neutral of the two, if one team has a perceived conflict or share it in alternate years, whatever.

                We could even see if Angry Anderson was still around to do the pre-match entertainment (God help us) in remembrance of the last non MCG GF. Definitely something to look forward to.

            • November 14th 2017 @ 7:18pm
              Col in paradise said | November 14th 2017 @ 7:18pm | ! Report

              Milo – Adelaide has never played a MCG tenant home side in a GF and won – The Saints in 97 and North in 98 where never Tennant’s – Richmond are – that’s 3 GF’s anyway and twice beat Tennant’s and lost one to a Tennant ….not a large statistical sample but the facts …..

              • November 14th 2017 @ 8:46pm
                Mattician6x6 said | November 14th 2017 @ 8:46pm | ! Report

                Col north was a MCG Tennant in 98.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 10:47am
                Milo said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

                Not the facts Col,

                North used the MCG as home ground when they left Arden Street in 85 up until 2002. So by 98 they were well ensconced.

            • November 14th 2017 @ 10:41pm
              Andy Fix said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:41pm | ! Report

              Crows supporters continuing to complain about an unfair advantage that Richmond have on the MCG.
              It’s taken us 37 years to win an AFL
              Grand final and all of a sudden it’s not fair.
              Give me a break if you want to win at the G either give up your home advantage or design your grounds to the same specs as the G otherwise go back to the SANFL because I for one are sick of hearing it.
              Yes I live in Adelaide and support Richmond.

          • November 14th 2017 @ 2:59pm
            Hungry Jack said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:59pm | ! Report

            Mattyb, by neutral supporters you mean, by and large, WA and SA supporters. And, of course, you. Perhaps when other states provide equal numbers of players, equal amounts of revenue and crowd support, etc you might just have some sort of argument. Only just. Your idea to reduce the number of teams in Victoria is merely an attempt to balance the ledger so to speak and serves no other purpose whatsoever. No other states could support more teams, that is clearly obvious. The Vic teams would become even stronger rendering your idea fruitless. Your pursuit of a ‘truly’ national competition is tainted by years of envy, jealousy and downright ugly parochialism. I’m a Sydneysider and your logic makes me sick!

            • November 14th 2017 @ 4:22pm
              Mattyb said | November 14th 2017 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

              HJ,I’m a Victorian who wants to see the game go national. Also for every dollar the VFL clubs put into the game they take straight back out so we can support an astonishing 10 clubs in an 18 team competition.
              We are living in a shrinking world where we can’t afford to run a Victorian centric competition much longer.

          • November 14th 2017 @ 3:48pm
            GJ said | November 14th 2017 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

            6×6 – Want a tissue. Still carrying on with your passive aggressive digs at Adelaide I see. Does it make you feel better?

        • November 14th 2017 @ 1:45pm
          Mattician6x6 said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

          Everyone is entitled to an opinion, unless of course it is one that paints AFC in a negative light. That’s the crows supporters way.

        • November 14th 2017 @ 3:46pm
          GJ said | November 14th 2017 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

          HJ – I for 1 was stunned for example that Adelaide chose to go into he game with Andy Otten for a start. Tall, slow, and can barely turn a circle. Clearly Richmond were going into the game with a smaller more agile group. Watching all of Richmond’s finals games I don’t think anyone was under any illusions on how they were going to attack the GF.

          Its a very small minority of the 10’s of thousands of supporters of any club that come onto the Roar or football forums and social media in general and post.

          Maybe Adelaide will have a shot next year, maybe they won’t. A lot can happen and a lot can change in the next 11 months. Based on maintaining the health of the current list I think that they are capable of finishing top 4 next year.

          • November 14th 2017 @ 4:57pm
            Slane said | November 14th 2017 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

            Really starting to value your input on this site, GJ. Another intelligent and insightful comment.

        • November 15th 2017 @ 1:14pm
          Rex said | November 15th 2017 @ 1:14pm | ! Report

          Look at Hungry Jack go – he can see into the future!

          Could you please give me next weeks powerball numbers mate??

      • November 14th 2017 @ 7:35pm
        Deladi said | November 14th 2017 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

        Well with the injuries Adelaide had before the match the selection committee had their hands tied. So you really can’t blame them for the result.

    • November 14th 2017 @ 9:12am
      Milo said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      Football game plans and styles change quickly. What worked in 2017 may not work so well if countered in 2018. Too early to write off both Adelaide and Geelong. Personally would have the Crows and the Giants as favourites at this point but history shows that any side now down to 13 and perhaps lower can win.

    • November 14th 2017 @ 9:14am
      Steve009 said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      Those tall forward lines were pretty effective against back lines that didn’t have Alex Rance in them.

      • November 14th 2017 @ 9:23am
        AD said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:23am | ! Report

        They were effective against back lines that did have Alex Rance in them when they both beat Richmond earlier in the season, including a 76 point flogging at Adelaide Oval. Richmond were better on the day in September, but that’s not an indication of some kind of systemic superiority that is going to change the way the game is played next year.

    • November 14th 2017 @ 9:33am
      Steve009 said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

      There are definitely advantages (and disadvantages) to having tall marking targets up forward. The pack mark or bringing the ball to ground. Get them one out, kick the ball to their advantage, mark, have at goal. Adelaide’s problem after quarter time had as much to do with their Midfields delivery to their forwards than the forwards themselves.

    • Roar Rookie

      November 14th 2017 @ 9:51am
      Lamby said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      Wow. Richmond supporters were always pretty delusional – now they are worse having actually won the GF.

      “They have become the pre-eminent finals team and a blueprint for the perfect modern AFL side.” Which is exactly what Bulldog supporters were saying last year and we know how that went this year with a harder draw and a bit less desire.

      Here is the thing – other teams can match the Tigers ‘intensity’ but most teams don’t have the hand/foot skills to match the Crows & Cats. So when the intensity is the side with the better skills normally wins.

      The trouble with the Tigers is that they have a 100% reliance on 3 players – Rance, Riewoldt & Dusty. If you lose one of those 3 players for any extended period in 2018 the Tigers will miss the 8.

      The other thing that you seem to have missed it that AFL football evolves (or goes round in circles.) A tactic that wins one year will often be fodder next year as other teams copy them or find tactics to combat them. The Crows in 2006(ish) were Neil Craig’s ‘Crowbots’ – and had a very fast, high intensity, pressure team (but with lowish skills as they recruited speed over skill) – and were looking unbeatable until they came up against West Coast (with at tactical coach of Don Pyke) and they introduced a Weagle’s Web to counter the Crowbots. Every other team tried to use the web to counter the Crowbots. It only takes 1 coach to ‘counter’ the Tiger game plan and without height and skill the Tigers will drop back to the pack pretty quickly. (Read Time and Space: Footy Tactics from Origins to AFL by James Coventry for example after example of this).

      To sum up – I think the Tigers are a good bet to miss the 8 (based on a harder draw, injuries & counter tactics). The Cats and Crows not so much.

      • November 14th 2017 @ 9:58am
        Harsh Truth Harry said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        Why are you all so confident Richmond will fall away? Their 2018 draw isn’t bad. They are a good aged fast side and they have the best current player in the game in Dustin Martin. Richmond will finish top 4 along with Essendon, Port Adelaide and Adelaide.

        • Roar Rookie

          November 14th 2017 @ 11:02am
          Lamby said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

          They will have less desire, a slightly harder draw, they had 0 injuries so there is a good chance injuries will play a factor in 2018 and teams will work out counter tactics. And flags are VERY hard to win (see your 34 year drought) – everything went right in 2017 for Richmond. So I am 99% confident that the Tigers will ‘fall away’ in 2018 (i.e, they won’t win the flag). Will they miss the 8? Probably not – but the odds would say that they are bigger chance to miss the 8 than win another flag.

          The bookies have to make the top 4 (in order): Crows, GWS, Sydney, Geelong, Tigers, Essendon, Port, Dees.

          • November 14th 2017 @ 11:08am
            Harsh Truth Harry said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:08am | ! Report

            Lamby, in 2017 home and away first half of the season, Richmond also lost three games in a row by under a goal and still made top 4 and still won the flag. I hate to tell you but they are going nowhere but top 4 barring significant injuries.

          • November 14th 2017 @ 11:15am
            Milo said | November 14th 2017 @ 11:15am | ! Report

            While I don’t think RFC supporters are any more delusional than your average success-starved fan, I don’t disagree with a lot of what you say Lamby. As a Tiger supporter I certainly agree we don’t start favourites, we had a great run with injuries this year, and the draw is potentially harder (albeit based on last season’s form).

            Most teams need most things to go right to win most flags, that’s indisputable. But there’s lots of teams in the mix for 2018 now if not the majority.

            My biggest concern for the Tiges is how hard they’ve celebrated. How they come back will be telling given the senior players still aren’t due back for another two and a half weeks (4 December) while the 1-4 year players start on 27th Nov. A truncated preseason will test them and could make them susceptible to drop games early which puts you behind the proverbial eight ball as the Swans found out.

          • November 14th 2017 @ 5:01pm
            Slane said | November 14th 2017 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

            The idea that the Tigers didn’t suffer any injuries this season is a bit of a furphu as well. They used 38 players this season. That’s the equal most of any premiership team since the AFL started.

      • Roar Pro

        November 14th 2017 @ 12:06pm
        Alphingtonian said | November 14th 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

        Yes The Bulldogs played a small forward line that worked for them in 2016 but for some reason they changed that up in 2017 recruiting Cloke and going away from what had been so successful for them. Richmond did the opposite they went ultra small and quick in their forward line far quicker and smaller than the 2016 Dogs. Hardwick and co. read the direction the game is taking and understood the evolution of modern AFL quicker than any other team and it payed off handsomely! Hardwick has been quoted as saying they stole the idea of the small forward line from the 2016 Dogs and ran with it. I think there are still far too many traditionalists coaching AFL teams and in the media who can’t see that the days of tall lumbering power forwards are done. Richmond at this point clearly has the best small forward line in the league and that’s without Shai Bolton having much of an impact yet which I suggest he’ll have more of next year. They’re still a young team with improvement in them and they clearly have a tactical edge. The only way you could try to foil a small forward line is to have a small defence and what team in the league apart from Richmond (ironically enough) has a fast smallish defence?

        • November 14th 2017 @ 12:21pm
          Harsh Truth Harry said | November 14th 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

          Yes….everyone needs to realise it is pace that is the new game!

          premiers 2016 – Bulldogs
          premiers 2017 – Richmond
          premiers 2018 – Essendon

          All fast,….even the supposed genius Clarkson didn’t plan for this and hence the Hawks now a c grade team so suddenly.

          • November 14th 2017 @ 5:18pm
            Slane said | November 14th 2017 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

            I don’t think Richmond’s biggest strength was pace. I think it was learning from their mistakes. Take a look at the games Richmond lost last season: Adelaide, Fremantle, GWS, Geelong and St Kilda all beat Richmond the first time they played. The tigers turned it around and gave them all an absolute flogging.

        • November 14th 2017 @ 12:32pm
          Milo said | November 14th 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

          QUOTE: Hardwick has been quoted as saying they stole the idea of the small forward line from the 2016 Dogs and ran with it. UNQUOTE

          That’s BS regardless of who said it or if they did or not. Richmond’s small forward line was an accident. Griffiths started the year at CHF but got injured. Hampson was gone with injury. Then they tried Soldo in ruck with Nanks up forward and then Elton CHF. Nothing really worked.

          It was Leppa the forwards coach who basically said, forget it, lets just stick with the small forwards, bring the pressure and see how we go.

          Agree on Bolton, but there’s a few more who will hopefully press such as Drummond who’s back running, C Ellis, Menadue, Markov, plus the guys on the cusp such as Miles, Lloyd, Conca, plus some hopefully good choices in the draft.

          • November 14th 2017 @ 12:36pm
            Milo said | November 14th 2017 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

            Shouldve mentioned Stengle who’s another small forward.

          • Roar Pro

            November 14th 2017 @ 1:21pm
            Alphingtonian said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

            Mate watch ‘On the Couch’ the post Grand Final edition and you’ll see Hardwick say they copied the Bulldogs idea with a small forward line and took it to the next level (paraphrasing).

            • November 14th 2017 @ 1:25pm
              Milo said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

              I’ll take your word, but Im sticking to the story. He may have accidentally found himself in that same situation but there was no grand plan that’s for sure.

              • Roar Pro

                November 14th 2017 @ 1:51pm
                Alphingtonian said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

                I honestly think he did plan it that way and they would’ve run simulations and planned for a small forward line all pre-season 2017. We’ll agree to disagree. Either way it’s fairly hard to say it didn’t work and change the face of modern footy.

              • November 14th 2017 @ 1:52pm
                Hungry Jack said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

                Your story is the correct one, Milo.

              • Roar Pro

                November 14th 2017 @ 2:16pm
                Alphingtonian said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

                Here’s the quote from Hardwick about approaching 2017 pre-season. ‘We got our coaches, recruiters, together and the things we came up with was we’ve got really incredible speed here…and that can be a real key to us…and how can we best get that to work for us with a defensive mindset.’ When asked if he expected the way Richmond set up/played to be the new trend, Hardwick responded by saying ‘we took bits out of The Bulldogs game-plan last year, it’s a copycat league..’

              • November 14th 2017 @ 2:23pm
                Milo said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

                Seriously would there be a coach who came out and said they hadn’t look at the way Bulldogs played last year?

                For mine the proofs is fairly plain… at the beginning they took in two tall forwards and persisted until they basically had no option. If you’ve got a new game plan with a small forward line you go with your plan on day one. Remember they were coming from 13th and had nothing to lose.

                What they did adopt from day one was a more attacking fast, play on, direct game. No more stupid chip kicks across the backline on the whole. That faster style I can relate to Hardwick’s early season comments but not the small forward line itself, that was more good luck than good planning.

              • Roar Pro

                November 14th 2017 @ 2:34pm
                Alphingtonian said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

                They played Griffiths in the first two games only against two teams in Carlton and Collingwood that are well known to have shortish young physically underdeveloped defenders. They were trying to use him to expose that weakness in the opposition, once they saw it didn’t work after two games for the rest of the season they pretty much went small. Hardly a compelling case saying injury dictated their small forward line especially considering they won their first two games so why would they change a winning formula and not bring in a tall to replace Griffiths if they were so committed to a two talls forward line? The fact is they’d planned all along for a small quick forward line and played it for at least 20 out of the 23 rounds. Hardwick seems like a pretty honest bloke to me and if injury forced their hand why wouldn’t he just say that?

              • November 14th 2017 @ 2:40pm
                Milo said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

                Check the team selections again. You’ll find Todd Elton and also Nankervis (with Soldo in ruck) also played as tall forwards next to Jack post game three.

              • November 14th 2017 @ 5:06pm
                Slane said | November 14th 2017 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

                Agree with Milo here.

                The small forward line came about through injury and necessity.

                I’ve just read Konrad Marshall’s book, ‘Yellow and Black’, and he was in the room when Leppa decided to throw the 2nd tall forward out the window.

            • November 14th 2017 @ 2:30pm
              Harsh Truth Harry said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

              Come on you lot Alphington is making you all look silly….he has quoted Hardwick…facts….you lot arr flailing…

              • November 14th 2017 @ 3:01pm
                Milo said | November 14th 2017 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

                Ok how about this:

                Elton played Rounds 3,4,5,7,8,10 with Reiwoldt.
                Soldo played Rounds 7, 9 (and 17, 18, 19, 20,21) with Reiwoldt.

                Interestingly in Round6 in which neither played altho Elton was selected, Richmond was slaughtered by Adelaide. Something tells me that we weren’t quite sold on the small forward line until closer to mid season.

              • Roar Pro

                November 14th 2017 @ 3:09pm
                Alphingtonian said | November 14th 2017 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

                Fair enough Milo excuse my ignorance if I’m wrong didn’t Soldo and Elton play more of a second ruck role in those games than full time KPFwd’s? Either way you’re right they did play two talls up there more than I thought. Still the majority of the year it was a small forward line and in finals when it counted.

              • November 14th 2017 @ 3:04pm
                Hungry Jack said | November 14th 2017 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

                Rubbish again, Harry. Richmond did, in fact, play the 2 tall forwards for more than Half the year! Griffifths suffered multiple concussions, Elton played 6 or 7 games but wasn’t up to it and Soldo has a fair bit to learn. When coaches speak publicly they often keep their cards close to their chests.

              • November 15th 2017 @ 10:43am
                Milo said | November 15th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

                Soldo played ruck then to free up Nanks to move forward. Whereas Elton was supposedly a CHF. But as already pointed out here, young Todd wasn’t up to it.

    • November 14th 2017 @ 9:58am
      AD said | November 14th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

      12 months ago, I could have sat here and written an article about why Richmond wouldn’t win the flag in 2017. The responses would have been maybe 10% congratulating me on my astute analysis and insight and 90% lambasting me for stating the bleeding obvious. And yet here we sit.

      • November 14th 2017 @ 10:16am
        Hungry Jack said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:16am | ! Report

        And 12 months ago you, and others, would have been ignoring Richmond’s form of the 3 previous years and the reasons for, what turned out to be an anomoly, a poor 2016. Richmond’s 13th finish that year gives false hope to many of the lower sides. There were reasons, too, for the Swannies slow start to the year in 2017. Won’t happen enxt year!

        • November 14th 2017 @ 10:27am
          AD said | November 14th 2017 @ 10:27am | ! Report

          Adelaide’s form of the past 3 seasons has been pretty solid, too. As has Geelong’s of the past 2 seasons.

          • November 14th 2017 @ 2:32pm
            Harsh Truth Harry said | November 14th 2017 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

            AD, Geelong’s record is flattered by playing on their silly little ground, doesn’t work out so well for them in finals however.

      • Roar Pro

        November 14th 2017 @ 1:54pm
        Alphingtonian said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

        Fair call but Richmond finished 13th in 2016. I’m saying the top two teams at the end of the home and away series of 2017 have no chance of winning the flag in 2018. I think it’s a bold prediction but I do base it on reason and logic – we’ll see whether I’m right.

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