In the lead up the 2017 season, we will be assessing each club’s list and naming the best 22 for round one. Working our way up the ladder; following the analysis of Carlton, the next cab off the rank is Richmond.
Zero Hanger 2017 ladder prediction: 12th
2016 was an incredibly disappointing season for Richmond. The Tigers managed to disappoint in a way only they can, backing up their fifth place finish by losing seven of their first eight matches.
The off-season featured a lot of soul-searching for the Tigers. As they sought to rejuvenate their list they sadly traded away club champion Brett Deledio, they also lost Chris Yarran and traded away Tyrone Vickery. However, by bringing in Josh Caddy and Dion Prestia they probably slightly improved their list from 2016.
The Tigers midfield now has the potential to be one of the best in the competition. Both Cotchin and Martin had improved seasons in 2016, with Martin putting together his best season to date; resulting in a third place Brownlow medal finish and earning his first All-Australian selection. Caddy and Prestia bring some inside grunt, while youngsters Corey Ellis, Oleg Markov and Daniel Rioli should be ready to add some much needed speed to the mix in 2017.
Richmond’s poor form in 2016 at least allowed the club to blood a lot of young players. In 2017 the Tigers should benefit from this as Jayden Short, Corey Ellis, Oleg Markov, Nathan Drummond, Connor Menadue and the like are more equipped at playing their role in the side. All reports out of Tigerland suggest Shai Bolton is impressing and could debut early in the season. Depth should no longer be an issue.
Their backline improved a lot in 2016. Dylan Grimes and David Astbury became good league defenders, while Alex Rance was the best full-back in the competition. Jayden Short proved himself at this level, with Houli and Vlastuin rounding out a back six that is finally settled.
Jack Riewoldt kicked 48 goals in 2016, Sam Lloyd 35. Following Ty Vickery’s departure their next best is Ben Griffiths with 15. Clearly the forward line is too reliant on too few and unless Griffiths is able to make great strides in his eighth season, this trend is likely to continue. Dustin Martin is reportedly going to spend more time forward this season. This will help. I would also like to see Jack Riewoldt deployed as the only tall forward, going small and quick around him. They now have the players to do so.
FB: Jayden Short, Alex Rance, Dylan Grimes
HF: Shane Edwards, Jack Riewoldt, Josh Caddy
FF: Sam Lloyd, Ben Griffiths, Daniel Rioli
EMG: Oleg Markov, Shai Bolton, Reece Conca