Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Richmond Tigers 2013 Report Card

Well another season has been and gone, last year I completed my first ever review of the team and I'm back to complete another analysis...

Last year I received some good feedback but also hit a few raw nerves with some supporters as I criticised their favourite players.. I make no apologies as it is just my humble opinion - anyways heres my list and I hope you like it!

Richmonds season was surrounded by huge expectations, not only by the supporters and sponsors but the club itself viewed 2013 as the Tigers breakout year. Personally, and I'm sure my mate Rod via Twitter will support me - I viewed Round 1 as the whether we will make finals or not. Win we're in, Loss and it was a no from me.

In fine form we beat our across town rivals by the narrowest of margins, but, it was a huge win for the confidence of the players and the supporters.

Richmond would go on to win 15 games in 2013 and finish 5th on the ladder, we would play our first final in 12 years (you can read my take on the Elimination Final here: and our club secured the majority of our required players in pursuit of some welcome additions over the upcoming trade period.

To me the Richmond Football Club should be rewarded with a B+ for their fine year, alot may argue first finals in 12 years deserves an A atleast, to me, no. One more win would have seen us Top 4 and that elusive double chance, also the loss to Carlton twice within 4 weeks, including that fateful Elim Final I believe we haven't quite reached the A status yet.

In number order I'll go through each player, I think to be fair I won't give a score to the reserves players who didn't play this year:

Chris Newman (C+) The veteran favourite, Chris now holds the record for most games without ever playing finals. Had a quiet year again but still shows great class on the half back along side Bachar. Didn't have the impact he once had and I reckon he stays as a C+.

Dylan Grimes (B-) Last year he was plagued by injuries and unfortunately the same continued this year, was great early on but wasn't seen much and only played 9 games, sadly drops to C

Brett Deledio (A-) Averaged 23.8 disposals a game which was down from last year but was still very noticeable in some games this year, often tagged quite heavy but still manages to have an impact each game. I'm happy to keep Lids as an A- this year.

Dustin Martin (C+) Ah Dusty, Such raw talent and skill but can let his off field mentors confuse the kid on where he needs to thrive. Can turn a game on its head and dominate greatly with his don't argue trade mark defense and long long kick. He's improved greatly this year and finishing 2nd in the Best & Fairest shows that. Just very glad he decided to re-sign! Dusty shoots straight up to an A- this year, still has areas to improve on but next year will be a stellar year for him.

Brandon Ellis (A-) Wow what a season Brandon had, last year I gave him an A- which I think now was a bit high, I think he deserves an A- this year only due to injury, had he been fully fit would have moved up for sure - standout game was Round 8 when he massed 39 posessions against Demons.

Shaun Grigg (B) One of my favourites, love the Houli & Grigg inclusion a few years ago, always love a left footer! Was quieter this year, maybe due to clubs starting to realise his influence potential, one noticable feature was his massive jump in tackling, went from 44 in 2012 to 74 in 2013. Dimma's hard work on defense is paying off, sadly though I give Grigger a B- this year.

Matt Dea (C+) Last year he showed some promise and was harsh done by in a few games however he struggled again to make the seniors this year, personally I feel alot is down to pressure and his disposal. Injuries also hurt him a bit but in the end only played 3 games, this year is a D.

Jack Riewoldt (B-) Funny I rated the Coleman Medal Winner a B- last year... Jack just missed out on Coleman again this year and maybe that was due to his transformation into a big team player instead of focusing on individualism.. Jack should get big credit to him this year as it was really fun to watch him lift his eyes and find a better option rather than blaze away from the pocket with the small hope of it coming close. I really rate his season highly and think he is a class A- this year.

Trent Cotchin (A+) Trent must have known after near missing a Brownlow in 2012 this season would be much tougher, and it was, he was tagged quite heavily but shrugged them off in the first half and still managed to dominate. Was quieter in second half of season and was missing at times during the last 2 Carlton games. I still rate him very high at our club, no better choice for Captaincy in my opinion. A this year.

Shane Edwards (C-) Titch really showed his value this year although injuries did cost him a few games, his stand out for me was against Port @ AAMI Stadium, his first quarter clearances where outstanding, if only we could bottle it and get it 4 quarters, wow - he'd be a brownlow for sure, and his value would surpass Dustin Martin in my humble opinion... A- this year.

Jake Batchelor (C+) Poor Jake struggled into the senior team this year, feel for him as I do like his game but his work rate does struggle against the quicker forwards, at times disposal is poor which I touched on last year. Just re-signed and I still see alot of value in this young defender. C- this year.

David Astbury (D-) Another young defender but boy does this kid have alot of supporters frothing at the bit, they see alot of talent in this one and it showed late in the year when defending strong against the premiership Hawks! Still only played 5 games this year so I think a C- is fitting, but one of the youngsters to watch pushing for a spot in the senior 22.

Ricky Petterd (n/a) Secured from Melbourne in last years draft period, was a handy pickup with AFL experience to help our youngsters. Played 12 games and did show some promise early, missed middle half of season with an injury. Disposal has let him down this year but I still see value in this one, deserves another 2 seasons at the club to prove his value to the faithful, this year I rate him as a C+

Bachar Houli (B) Whats not to love about Bachar, silky left footer and streams off the Half Back to boost it into the midfield and forward line. Injury cost him a couple of key games and struggled when he wasn't playing. Is evident without Bach in our backline we do struggle with the rebound - I give Bach an A+ this year.

Chris Knights (n/a) Picked up in the 2012 Free Agency from the Crows, has a fantastic long left foot kick on him and very accurate, only played 5 games and had an outstanding game against Freo. Sadly on his way to booting a goal against Port his knee gave way and that was the end of the season for him. I'm going to give him a C for this year, didn't see a huge amount of him but what we did I'm pumped with!

Luke McGuane (C-) Luke looked to be a master move from Damien Hardwick when late in 2012 was added into the forward line, has a great overhead mark but sadly he has a true defenders kick.. Struggled to have same impact this year. Despite playing 12 games and kicking 20 goals we all expected far more from the forward. This year again I believe him to be a C-, looks likely to be in a Brisbane guernsey next year.

Alex Rance (A) Alex Alex Alex, what a gem of a season he had, shut down the best full forwards in the comp, notably keeping young gun Jeremy Cameron goalless late in the season. I've always rated Alex as the next big Full Back for this club, still only young but he's a gun. A+ from me this year!!

Ivan Maric (A+) The big mullet was hampered with the troubling groin this year, didn't have the same impact as 2012 but was still our main man! Huge highlight for me and most of the club was his huge goal late in the Elimination Final! This year I think I'll give the big man an A-

Shane Tuck (A) Oh Tucky why did you have to retire, could have had one more year... Tucky is one of my favs, hard at the ball and gives his all. Evident in game against Port where he injured his shoulder yet stayed on field to help the midfield rotations, would miss 9 games from that injury - shows alot of his love for the club! Check out my article on Tucky for more of my thoughts on him! I'm giving him an A this year, missed games but its the heart and strength he showed in the games he did play that meant the most.

Sam Lonergan (n/a) Taken in 2012 draft period and only played the one game against his old club Essendon, failed to have any impact on the team and sadly is a D- for me this year.

Daniel Jackson (C) Woah, what a turnaround! I was harsh on him last year, was very much an individualist and undisciplined. This year complete opposite, tagged the best out of the game and was truly a team player. Took out the Best & Fairest and thoroughlly deserved it, happy to eat my words from last year suggesting he be traded. A truly worthy A+ for this year.

Ben Griffiths (D) Sadly injuries to this big man and out of form meant he was out of favour for the senior list this year, only played 1 game this year. I still see huge things for him but needs to be this year - sadly if he doesn't crack into the team I fear he'll be somewhere else come 2015. Sadly is a D-.

Troy Chaplin (n/a) Signed as a Free Agent last year, wow what an impact he made. Was extremely handy down back with Rance, allowing Rancey more help and for him to dominate and double team where required. Port supporters joked about his delivery off the boot, I don't think I saw many - he is definately an A this year.

Robin Nahas (D) I quoted last year that he was lazy in the forward line and attitude stank. I won't apologise for that as I'm sad to say not much changed. Evident in one of the early games when Chaplin came off injured and maybe coming off, Nahas sat there head down not interested instead of getting up and showing he was keen. His forward pressure lacks a lot and he seems to never be in the right position anymore which is under the feet of the forwards for the spill. If he's not delisted or traded theres something wrong, F for me.

Aaron Edwards (n/a) Another pickup in the trade period last year, had an off field issue not long after being picked up but I really rate this boy, didn't get a chance early but from what I saw with his presence and forward pressure I thought he should be included in starting 22. His goal scoring late in the season was very impressive and showed what he is capable of. I give him a C for his first year.

Jake King (C+) Fan Favourite, the little Push Up King. Such a little menace and so hard at the ball, prepared to get his head ripped off and put his body on the line. Flew more under the radar this year but still lifted his stats across the board and is crucial to our forward line humming nicely! B+ this year.

Ty Vickery (D-) Ok, everyone knows I'm not a fan of Ty, personally I think he's overrated for the height in the draft order he was taken. Has shown some games that he has the potential for great things but for me often is out of position and doesn't take enough of the marks he should be taking... My memory still burns from the Elim Final, especially the last half so this year I'm giving him a C-.

Reece Conca (B-)  Wow Reecey Conca!!! Had a ripper of a year too and was instrumental with a core group of players that lifted the Tigers into the finals. Not much of him and relatively unnoticeable but gets the stats up and is crucial in our midfield rotations. A for me this year.

Nick Vlastuin (n/a) Taken in last years draft and had alot of supporters frothing early, has alot of talent and I liked him for rookie of the year but he fell short. Played some ripper games this year and I see him in our best 22 easily. Hits the tackles hard and applies good pressure - few more years under his belt and he'll be a true gun. This year B+.

Brad Helbig (D-) Another quiet season from Brad, played only the one game and didn't show much with his limited opportunity. Needs to break in next year or could be on the cusp of being traded or delisted. This year D-.

Liam McBean (n/a) Didn't play a game this year for the seniors but hearing big big things for this forward, huge unit he is and kicking some handy bags in the 2's.

Matt White (D+) Another one I eat my words on, last year he had alot of issues disposing of the ball, this year he was known as the substitute. His speed was brilliant coming in late in the games and he provided some real highlights when pushing forward. Sad to see he left for Port this year and will be missed but is getting a good deal and better opportunity with them so don't blame him. I rate him an B+ this year.

Matt McDonough (n/a) Played just the one game against Carlton late in the year and showed some goods, still just a young kid though with alot to learn - racked up 11 disposals but had some trouble with finding a target - but as I said still very young. I see a great future for Matt, just hope he doesn't get homesick and come back to the Crows or Port, I give him a C-

Orren Stephenson (n/a) Came over from Geelong during last years trade period, filled in for the big Maric whilst out injured, had a good debut for the Tigers but never really had the same impact around the ground, looks more like a tap ruck man. For me he's a C+.

Steven Morris (A) Steve was a revelation last year, burst onto the scene - shut down most he stood and stamped himself as one of our major defenders. This year he didn't quite have the impact he had last year and slowed a bit this year - however in saying that he had some outstanding games too including his pivitol role in shutting down Cyril Rioli. For me Stevie is still a required player and stays as an A.

Tom Derickx (F+) Played in NAB Cup however failed to get a nod in the regular season, spent most of season off with broken ankle but never really looked like getting a call up, content to keep him on F+.

Nathan Foley (C+) Poor Axle, plagued by injury most of his career, reminds me of the luck Mark Coghlan had... Worked hard to get into squad after so much time out and showed some of the old Axle however fell out of favour just before finals and sadly missed his finals chance. I still think he has alot to offer but with so much talented youngsters it looks like a tough road ahead of him. For me he gets a C+.

Todd Elton (F) Same as last year, failed to gain a call up prob needs another year or so - but is running out of time... F again.

Matthew Arnot (n/a) Taken in the 2012 draft, made his debut against St Kilda in Round 14, another youngster with high potential - struggled a bit to get into the games and just needs a bit more time. Like McDonough I think they'll both be tapping on the door next year and more gametime will go a long way! C- this year.

Richmond Football Club (C+) Last year was poor and everyone knew change was coming, the hard work by Benny Gale and Dimma and everyone else involved - all the signs pointed to success. Must admit, being a long suffering fan I'll admit I had alot of moments during the year that I fell back in the cloud of worry but hindsight, there was nothing to worry about! The Tigers broke their finals drought of 12 years and soared into an Elimination Final.

Pleasing thing this year was the transformation of the entire side, all lifted across the board and we had standouts which were tough not to make the All Australian Squad. The signing of all required players is an indication of who wants tot wear the guernsey and push further in the finals.

Dissapointing for me was losses which shouldn't have happened, loss to Freo in Perth and belting by Kangaroos - just one more win would have seen Richmond with a Top 4 spot and double chance. Still 15 wins is an awesome result. Sadly we didn't perform against Carlton when it mattered and fell out of finals quickly.

For me I think the Richmond Football Club's Season for 2013 deserves an A. It delivered its fans the long awaited finals berth, ok it fell out early - but its an important taste of things to come, not just for the fans but the players too. Now they know what it tastes like and will be hungrier than ever.