Richmond is undoubtedly one of the greatest clubs of the modern era. Winning three flags in four years is an achievement only accomplished by two other sides - Brisbane in 2001, 2002, and 2003 and Hawthorn in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Coached by Damien Hardwick, the dynasty team that won flags in 2017, 2019 and 2020 was one of the best fans have ever seen.
Unfortunately for Richmond, that is not the same team that is playing in 2023. Whilst not having a dramatic drop off in one year, the club has slowly slid back down the ladder as the list gets older. With the retirements of ex-skipper and club legend Trent Cotchin, veteran defender Robbie Tarrant and veteran forward Jack Riewoldt, the club is slowly transitioning away from the side that was once so great.
Additionally, the sudden departure of premiership coach Hardwick midway through the year shook things up. The job for the coaching role at Richmond is still up in the air whilst Hardwick is reportedly making the move to Gold Coast.
It's not the clubs' fault at all by any means. Players age, coaches change, and footy continues to move on. There comes a time for every club where change occurs and it looks as though Richmond is entering that period now. Winning three flags so recently and in such quick succession is something for fans to be forever grateful for. If there's one thing Tigers fans have proved time and time again, it's that they're patient.
As the list begins to show its age and youth is injected into the side, here are five players that we think the Tigers should target in the trade period.
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SEE ALSO: FIVE TRADE TARGETS FOR COLLINGWOOD
SEE ALSO: FIVE TRADE TARGETS FOR ESSENDON
SEE ALSO: FIVE TRADE TARGETS FOR FREMANTLE
SEE ALSO: FIVE TRADE TARGETS FOR GEELONG
SEE ALSO: FIVE TRADE TARGETS FOR GOLD COAST
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SEE ALSO: FIVE TRADE TARGETS FOR PORT ADELAIDE
1. Hayden McLean
The Swans struggled early in 2023, unable to live up to expectations. After making the Grand Final in 2022, it seemed all but certain that the side would be up there again, primed for redemption. That unfortunately was not the case, if anything it was the complete opposite. With a mix of injury concerns and players generally underperforming, not much was going right.
Lance Franklin went down injured multiple times throughout the year and was unable to put together a consistent campaign. The AFL icon recently announced his retirement from the game which has made room for forward Hayden McLean to step up. McLean has played all but two games in 2023 and has been a solid contributor to his side.
The Tigers have struggled to score this season after losing star forward Tom Lynch in Round 4 before being ruled out for the year. With Lynch's fitness in question and Jack Riewoldt's departure incoming, the need for a key forward is there. Standing at 197cm tall, 24-year-old McLean could be ready to take on the role at the Tigers. As an added bonus, McLean can play as a second ruckman alongside Toby Nankervis, allowing rotating assets like defender Noah Balta to remain in the backline.
It'll be interesting to see how Sydney manages McLean as they look towards a life without 'Buddy', but the Tigers should consider the big man as they enter a slight rebuild period.