Back-to-back premierships a feasibility rather than fantasy

Tyler Lewis Roar Rookie

By Tyler Lewis, Tyler Lewis is a Roar Rookie

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    It has become apparent at the midway point of the 2018 home-and-away season that Richmond are building a supremacy among others in the AFL.

    The Richmond side are sitting pretty coming into their bye weekend with ten wins and three losses, with a colossus of a percentage of 135.01 per cent (six per cent more than second), exhibiting they still have the hunger and firepower to lift the cup again, and to achieve back-to-back flags for their first time since 1974.

    The Tigers are sitting in better shape than this time last year, have picked up enough talent upon their previous rebuilding phases, and are on their way to breaking the MCG consecutive games-won record. Most importantly are in form.

    This Richmond side has what it takes to build an all-time dynasty, their game style that entails immense amounts of pressure of the ball carrier and tackles inside 50 in which can be achieved in any type of weather conditions.

    With three out of the top ten leaders for tackles inside 50, no defender feels comfortable with procession in Richmond’s forward half. The Tigers didn’t sit on top of the ladder at the conclusion of any round in 2017, ultimately exhibiting they are still improving, which should be frightening for 17 other coaches.

    Jack Riewoldt of the Tigers celebrates kicking a goal during the 2017 AFL Grand Final match between the Adelaide Crows and the Richmond Tigers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 30, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.

    Jack Riewoldt celebrates (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

    Versatile midfield/forward Josh Caddy is in career-best form, in many mid year all Australian teams for his ability to go forward and be an option in the air (28 goals) but still win big bodied clearances in the middle.

    Shane Edwards also in career best form, bound to influence any contest he enters and is leading the goal assists for the league by a country mile. If Richmond finish in the top two of the AFL ladder at the end of the home-and-away season they are assured a home qualifying final with 90,000+ die hard fans barracking passionately for their side.

    With their current run of 16 consecutive wins at the MCG and in their eight wins their this year scoring under 100 points only on one occasion, it is difficult to see the yellow and black losing at the home of football.

    With the top four looking likely to be 2/4 interstate teams in whom haven’t got the best history at the MCG, the expectation for Damian Hardwick’s men should to be involved on the last Saturday in September at the least.

    The hunger is most certainly still their within the Tigers players, mixed with young talent, this is a perfect recipe for a long stint at the top end of the ladder. Daniel Rioli upon return only compiled a 12-disposal game but seemed to be a pivotal player in the big win against top four hopeful Geelong.

    Daniel Rioli Richmond Tigers AFL 2017

    Daniel Rioli of the Tigers (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

    Rioli laid eight tackles, five score involvements and kicked the final goal of the game to secure the win against a desperate Geelong. Rioli’s final goal begun on the broadcast wing soccering the ball forward and the laying a huge tackle inside 50 being rewarded with the free kick.

    This run of play demonstrated the hunger that he has to be apart of this side. In his first AFL game since a broken foot on grand final day Rioli could have easily let the ball trickle out of bounce and regain his breath, however impressed all onlookers with his repeat efforts and looked to run himself into the ground grasping for air lining up for goal.

    The depth of the tigers is extensive with many VFL players putting their hand up to be apart of the premiership favourites. Upon being dropped this week after a poor game against Port Adelaide, 21-year-old key forward Callum Moore booted five straight in his VFL return, including one of the goals of the year.

    Many small forwards blessed with speed are willing and ready to slot back into the side at any given moment, Tyson Stengel is the VFL sides leading goal kicker with 17 majors from ten games and has been able to demonstrate consistency of football at a high standard, along with Shai Bolton who has shown he is a ground ball machine but can also fly for a mark unlike anyone his size in the seconds this year.

    Many will always try to dispute great teams to try and bring them back down to mortality, for Richmond their only flaw this year has been the 0-3 run interstate against Adelaide, West Coast and Port Adelaide.

    However for coach Damien Hardwick this is no issue, only travelling interstate two more times this year and another six games at the MCG a top two spot is almost a guarantee. The Tigers are playing their best footy while receiving no help from the umpires, down a whopping -70 free kicks this season in the free kick differential, 30 less than 17th placed GWS, the tigers are playing a generational brand of football without any easy free kicks to help them along.

    Hardwick has been through it all in his nine seasons at the helm, his job being questioned after every loss or poor performance, but now has the luxury of coaching this side each week and has the chance to win his second Jock McHale medal in as many years.

    Getting hassled by a parent or partner about spending too much time playing video games? Now, you can tell them the story of how some ordinary gamers scored $225k for just seven weeks of work.

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    The Crowd Says (20)

    • Roar Guru

      June 23rd 2018 @ 8:54am
      Paul Dawson said | June 23rd 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      “the tigers are playing a generational brand of football without any easy free kicks to help them along.”

      Yeah, just an easy fixture

      It’s a good well written article but it does feel a bit like someone writing about how exciting it is James Packer made back the billion he lost in recent years. Really. How good for him.

      Richmond are a huge club. If they’re still top 8 in 5 years mission accomplished but right now they’re yet to show they’ve got any more hunger than your garden variety flat track bully side for sustained success

      • June 23rd 2018 @ 10:04am
        truetigerfan said | June 23rd 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        Goin’ okay for a side that plays ‘an unsustainable brand of football’ according to the naysayers of last year. Good reason to be excited about the future . . . we will get stronger this year. Add another Rioli to the list in a couple of years and things do look rosy. Carna Tiges!

      • June 23rd 2018 @ 1:10pm
        Carolhughes said | June 23rd 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

        Go along the way tigers yous are a great team go my mighty tigersssss

      • June 24th 2018 @ 11:00am
        Andrew Taylor said | June 24th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

        That argument was old in about round 5, try harder.

      • June 24th 2018 @ 6:50pm
        Sean said | June 24th 2018 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

        [Mods. Cut. NO SWEARING. WARNING]

    • Roar Guru

      June 23rd 2018 @ 10:01am
      Peter the Scribe said | June 23rd 2018 @ 10:01am | ! Report

      They have a huge chance st back to back but with a big question mark. 3 interstate trips this year for 3 losses. Wouldn’t want to face port or WCE in an away preliminary final or game over.

      • June 23rd 2018 @ 11:41am
        truetigerfan said | June 23rd 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

        The ? you refer to is a lazy argument. Finals are a whole new ball game.

      • June 23rd 2018 @ 11:42am
        Peter said | June 23rd 2018 @ 11:42am | ! Report

        I doubt there is any club that would want to play away against port or wce in a final?

    • June 23rd 2018 @ 12:04pm
      Jewels said | June 23rd 2018 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

      Richmond could never be considered true champions of the game until they can win away from the MCG – a feat they just cannot achieve.

      • June 23rd 2018 @ 12:24pm
        Angela said | June 23rd 2018 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

        Yup…come GF time, Richmond always gunna have that home-ground advantage.

        AFL must be the only football code in the world that refuses to acknowledge or do anything worthwhile about that advantage. Bit of a joke really.

        • June 23rd 2018 @ 1:45pm
          J.T. Delacroix said | June 23rd 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

          Have a whinge. Again. What if they play Collingwood, or Hawthorn, or Melbourne?

          • June 23rd 2018 @ 5:58pm
            Angela said | June 23rd 2018 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

            Obviously not an issue for that particular GF if it happens, however for any other teams (particularly those outside Victoria) it will always be a whinge point, and the whinges are getting louder and more frequent as AFL continues to grow outside Victoria. The players can’t complain as it’s seen as bad sportsmanship and something they have to put up with – ‘we love playing at the MCG’ – however us fans can whinge and we will keep doing it.

            If a home ground advantage is not an advantage why do all commentators, betting agencies and game forecasters never fail to mention it in every game in every round throughout the season?

            The NRL make a point of shifting State of Origin around to compensate for home-ground advantage which they acknowledge is

            Apart from the footie technicalities, there’s the issue of local supporters being able to rock up on the day without the expense of planes fares and accommodation. Even though the AFL supposedly reserves equal seating for both teams there will always be more Victorian fans (unless of course both teams are from Melbourne) for those reasons, eg last few years Richmond, Bulldogs, Hawthorn, Hawthorn, Hawthorn crowds far out ran opposition crowds both in noise and numbers – a big emotional, psychological, umpiring advantage. I heard the Richmond coach claim after a loss that the noisiest crowd did subconsciously effect umpiring decisions.

            I (and others) will keep whinging. It’s an anomaly not found in any other footie.

            • June 23rd 2018 @ 7:42pm
              J.T. Delacroix said | June 23rd 2018 @ 7:42pm | ! Report

              You can turn the whinge amplifier up to eleven, Angela, it won’t make a shred of difference. As for Richmond getting umpiring favours due to crowd noise, well that’s just utter nonsense. The State of Origin analogy equally so.

            • June 23rd 2018 @ 10:08pm
              TigerPaul said | June 23rd 2018 @ 10:08pm | ! Report

              GF locked in to the G for 40 years. Get used to it….

            • June 25th 2018 @ 11:07am
              RichieTiger said | June 25th 2018 @ 11:07am | ! Report

              Seriously Angela. In the same post you mention State of Origin rugby moving matches around and that no other code has this GF anomaly that the AFL has. Obviously you are aware of Rugby League. Doesn’t the NRL GF count?

              You said you will keep on whinging. Given the length of the MCG contract that could be for the rest of your life. It is not worth it.

        • June 23rd 2018 @ 5:34pm
          Koza said | June 23rd 2018 @ 5:34pm | ! Report

          Actually the NRL Grand Final is always played in Sydney no matter who is playing.

      • June 23rd 2018 @ 4:40pm
        darikale said | June 23rd 2018 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

        Odd, I could have sworn Richmond beat North in Round 8 this year. Maybe I just didn’t check my facts.

    • June 23rd 2018 @ 2:40pm
      Michael44 said | June 23rd 2018 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

      gee, TTF, you’ve piqued my interest there. Is there another Rioli close to drafting age???

      The Tiges have not fallen away this year, and, if anything, are more comfortable with their style of play this year. So good to see.

      All anyone can ever ask is that their team’s players get the best out of themselves and that is what the Richmond players are doing at the moment. Things can change quickly of course, but I just love the way they play for one another. They really are a ‘team’ at the moment.

      Oh Tyler, just one thing though. I’m hesitant to talk about generational brands as footy can change quickly and the tiges have won one premiership so far with this style. But, what tiger fan hasn’t loved the ride so far? 🙂

      • June 24th 2018 @ 11:13am
        Craig said | June 24th 2018 @ 11:13am | ! Report

        Maurice Rioli Jnr

    • June 29th 2018 @ 3:15pm
      Michael44 said | June 29th 2018 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

      Thanks Craig.

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