Finals are just about out of the question for the Tigers, as Richmond haven't quite had the season they had hoped for, but the dynasty is not over just yet as new faces and fresh young talent at Punt Road could present an exciting prospect for Tigers' 2022 season campaign.
The Tigers have had a rough run over the last few weeks with star players such as Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin sitting matches out with injuries. seeing some cracks emerge in the team, an issue that Richmond coach Damien Hardwick has wasted no time filling.
“I can not imagine there are too many players that have walked through the doors and worked as hard to get an opportunity."
Funky Friday 🕺
Excited to see our final debutant of the year in action tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/uYOTP3mMND
— Richmond FC 🐯🏆 (@Richmond_FC) August 20, 2021
The announcement comes only two weeks after the Tigers announced Maurice Rioli junior, the son of Norm Smith medallist and two-time club best and fairest Maurice Rioli, would play his first game in Round 21.
Hardwick said Rioli brings a 'chaos mentality up forward' which the Tigers need and his 'chase pressure' is very similar to star premiership player and cousin Daniel Rioli.
The defending premiers may be sitting at 11th spot on the ladder, but they are one of the leading clubs in blooding new players at AFL level this season.
Aside from Miller and Rioli, young cubs Rhyan Mansell, Will Martyn, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Hugo Ralphsmith and Samson Ryan have all made their debut this season. What these young and developing players could bring to the game next year is something Richmond fans can definitely get excited about.
Mansell is a speedy, athletic defender and super competitive at the ball. At 21-years of age and with 13 games to his name, the young Tiger has both age and experience on his side.
Martyn and Ralphsmith both made their senior debuts and were rewarded with contract extensions until the end of 2022 this year.
The Tigers have struggled a lot in the midfield due to injuries, and the addition of Martyn, a young highly-rated midfielder, will hopefully help the team clean up their act for next season.
Hailing from the Aspley Hornets, the skilful midfielder will have a strong impact next year if he can match his VFL performance of an average of 25 disposals and six tackles per game.
Ralphsmith, a talented 19-year-old, has played five matches at senior level and has kicked three goals in the process. The youngster shows promise for the Tigers with his ability to play on the wing and across the half-forward.
Collier-Dawkins starred for the Tigers in the first round of the VFL with 30 disposals, eight tackles, six clearances and 10 handball receives.
He had to wait three years to make his long awaited debut, however the hard working midfielder earned his spot in Round 7 against the Bulldogs. Bringing his drive and determination from the 2021 season, Collier-Dawkins will be one player to keep an eye for next year.
Perhaps the decision to debut Samson Ryan in Round 15 against the Saints was not a wise one made by the Tigers, due to the rain and amount of talls playing that day, but the 206cm ruckman is another player Richmond fans can get excited about.
With Ivan Soldo on the long-term injury list and Toby Nankervis having a fair share of injuries himself, a developing player like Ryan is crucial to the future of Richmond and their ability to remain strong in the mid-field.
At 20-years of age, Ross has played 28 senior games with an incredible ability to attack and control the game in contested situations.
Stack began his career with an impressive debut season and has shown glimpses of the star player he can be if he continues to work hard and chase his full potential.
With all these young and developing players returning to Punt Road next year, Tiger fans can remain optimistic that the Richmond dynasty is not completely over, and the new generation of players coming through will bring an exciting prospect to the team in the coming years.