MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 24: Liam Baker of the Tigers runs with the ball from Jake Melksham of the Demons during the round 6 AFL match between Richmond and Melbourne at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 24, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

The Demons had one of their greatest years yet in 2021, romping to a 13th premiership win after they dismantled the Doggies in Perth.

There were no passengers for Melbourne with every player across the ground doing their bit to bring home the cup for a fanbase that was the laughing stock of the league for so long.

With the side containing so many stars - the majority of whom are yet to hit their true prime - you'd be hard-pressed to find any player at all that could improve on what Simon Goodwin currently has at his disposal.

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However, we must continue our 'If your team could steal one player' series and despite the Dees being largely flawless, there is no such thing as too much class within a team.

- If your team could steal one player: Adelaide Crows

- If your team could steal one player: Brisbane Lions
- If your team could steal one player: Carlton Blues
- If your team could steal one player: Collingwood Magpies
- If your team could steal one player: Essendon Bombers
- If your team could steal one player: Fremantle Dockers
If your team could steal one player: Geelong Cats
If your team could steal one player: Gold Coast Suns
If your team could steal one player: GWS Giants
- If your team could steal one player: Hawthorn Hawks

Gaps in best 22

You have to really put a magnifying glass over the Demons' best lineup to see even the most minute of cracks, with the squad coming together so magnificently in 2021 to be unbeatable on their day.

The synergy they displayed for the vast majority of the year was the culmination of everything that Dees fans had been hoping for when Simon Goodwin signed up in 2017.

However, if there are players they could bring in, it'd have to be some very serious star-power. Someone who would make the side that little bit more incredible.

At times Demons fans bemoaned the lack of true key forward options, with Ben Brown not being available for the first chunk of the year.

A key forward who would walk into the Dees' best 22 would be the only option, and perhaps even another small, unpredictable mid-forward player could be what the Dees may need should injuries start to mount in future years.

Another speedy halfback to supplement Christian Salem and give newcomer Jake Bowey a run for his money also might be handy for Simon Goodwin should things not pan out the way he expects with their prospects.

Options to steal

Option 1: Tom J. Lynch

The Tigers big man had it pretty good in his first two seasons at Punt Road, winning back-to-back flags after arriving at the club at the end of 2018.

However in 2021, both the club and Lynch found good times few and far between as Richmond failed to make finals for the first time since 2017.

The 29-year-old managed 35 goals in his 18 games played this season, however still came in sixth across the entire competitions for marks inside 50 per game.

That ranking highlights the prowess of Lynch to dominate the forward 50, with current Dees key forward Ben Brown only ranked 14th throughout the entire competition for the same stat.

With Bayley Fritsch having a fantastic season in red and blue, Lynch would compliment him and give the Dees midfield even more tall timber to look for when looking to pick out a lead inside 50.

His unselfish game-style in the last few seasons involving crashing packs to bring the ball to ground would also suit the zippy nature of Kysiah Pickett, Alex Neal-Bullen and James Harmes as they look to receive the footy at ground level.

Option 2: Liam Ryan

'Flying Ryan' had a considerably quieter 2021 as his Eagles had one of their most difficult years in recent memory.

Ryan only managed 24 goals for the season, however, he did start to hit his straps towards the back-end of the year, booting 12 of his 24 majors in the final five matches.

Despite a less than desirable campaign, Ryan is still one of the certified stars of Adam Simpson's side and at 25 years of age still has some of his best years ahead of him.

If in this hypothetical universe, Ryan did end up making the switch to Melbourne, then the Dees would wield one of the scariest attacking threats in the competition with both Ryan and Pickett terrorising defenders with their speed and flair.

With Tom McDonald and Ben Brown crashing packs, Ryan would have plenty to feed off when it comes to service and would be snapping goals for fun in a team that dominates games week-in week-out.

Option 3: Joshua Kelly

The GWS talismanic midfielder had a stonking season as the Giants made it to the second week of September action in a year where another mediocre outcome seemed on the cards.

Kelly signed a bumper eight-year $8 million deal to keep him at the club for life, and he reflected this value in his performances.

The Victorian-born midfielder averaged 26.1 disposals, 5.6 tackles and 4 clearances per game - a remarkable set of stats considering his role.

As an outside-mid, fans don't need to be told what Kelly would bring to the Dees if he were to be poached, with his movement and prowess in the middle making him one of the best prime-movers in the competition.

It'd have to be either Ed Langdon or Andrew Brayshaw that would have to make way for Josh Kelly, with his footballing ability outstripping both of these players despite their integral roles in the Dees' flag win.

With Kelly in the lineup, you'd be hard-pressed to find another midfield in the competition that would rival what Simon Goodwin would have at his disposal.

Option 4: Liam Baker

The defender-turned-midfielder-turned-forward had a stellar campaign and delighted Richmond fans with his silky smooth movement on and off the ball.

Baker was deployed all over the ground in 2021 as injuries finally caught up with the Tigers after years of incredible luck with them.

In the final game of the year against Hawthorn, Baker lined up at centre-half forward after starting the year in defence before transitioning into midfield.

The 23-year-old's work all over the ground was sublime and gave Damien Hardwick and his coaching staff a preview of what is to come, with Baker sure to be a star in whatever section of the ground he settles into in the future.

With Melbourne possibly needing another zippy half-back, Baker would be an elite option considering his age and ability.

He would no doubt take a starting place over the fresh-faced Bowey and nicely compliment Christian Salem on the other flank, distributing the footy effectively and sometimes moving into midfield should his team need him.


It's no secret that the Demons have arguably the healthiest list in the competition and very, very little needs to be done in terms of maintenance.

However, if there was one player they could poach then it would have to be Tigers key forward Tom Lynch.

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Ben Brown and Tom McDonald are good as any, however considering it was only last year that fans were cursing the fact that Sam Weideman was unavailable and the side had no true big target in attack, Lynch seems like the logical option.

His ability to create contests and bring the ball to ground or to win the ball in the air would be invaluable for the Demons and give them comfort that their attacking options are as good as they possibly could be.