LIST BREAKDOWN BY POSITION:
|Gen Def||Mid||Mid/Fwd||Gen Fwd||Key Fwd||Ruck||
Average Age: 25
Players In: Nil
Players Out: Nil
Retired/Delisted: Steven Morris, Taylor Hunt, Todd Elton, Ivan Maric, Chris Yarran, Ben Lennon, Jake Batchelor
Draft Picks: 17, 20, 25, 53, 55
WHAT THEY GOT/LOST:
Nothing. Zilcho. Doughnuts. The Tigers managed to go through the trade and free agency period unscathed, but also failed to bring in any outside talent to bolster their list.
Oh, there was one thing they did get though: the 2017 premiership cup (for those who aren’t following ‘Daily Updates of Who the Reigning Premiers Are on Facebook), and this is probably why they didn’t feel the need to add anything. Likewise, it meant no one wanted to leave the club after such success.
Richmond did well to retain Anthony Miles and Sam Lloyd, who pretty much brought their own footy throughout the entire VFL season. I find it somewhat staggering that a club like Gold Coast didn’t make a big play for Miles – who played just the five AFL games in 2017 – because he is too good to be running around in the magoos.
Speaking of ‘nothing’, some supporters would have this amount of care for some of the players thrown on the scrapheap. Ben Lennon was probably the most surprising of those delisted, but ultimately the former first rounder has failed to live up to his lofty potential since arriving at Tigerland.
WHAT THEY NEED:
It is ironic that Damien Hardwick’s neglect of what many thought they needed was a catalyst for the club’s 11th flag. The disregard of the traditional ‘two talls, four smalls’ in the forward line meant Richmond were able to become one of the best pressure sides in the competition, swarming on opposition defences with their mosquito fleet.
Hardwick’s plan to run with a 22-man small forward line paid handsome dividends, after the short trial of Todd Elton at centre-half forward didn’t go so well. However, as we saw with the Bulldogs in 2017, team’s start to figure you out pretty quickly, and I see a tall forward as a must for the Tiges.
Another thing the yellow and black should look at is another ruckman. With Ivan Maric’s retirement and Shaun Hampson’s unreliable body, it leaves Toby Nankervis and Ivan Soldo as Richmond’s ruckman. While Soldo did an admirable job when he came in to gave Nank a chop-out, an injury to Nank the Tank could spell danger. Shaun Grigg proved to be a secret weapon as a backup ruck, but I doubt he’d be an adequate #1 ruck…
Richmond could also look to get another tall defender, with the two pillars in Rance and Astbury currently on their list along with 2016 draftee Ryan Garthwaite who is emerging nicely. A classy outside midfielder would be another nice addition, and the Tiges appear to have one in the bag.
ON THE RADAR:
The Tigers played their hand well at the trade table to snare picks 20 and 25 for pick 15, giving them three picks within the first 25 (17, 20 and 25)
Ultimately, Richmond’s draft night depends on where a bid comes for father-son prospect Patrick Naish. Many have Naish pencilled in around the 12-25 bracket, but clubs do tend to be more caring when it comes to F/S bids, so I expect a bid for Naish to come after Richmond’s first pick at 17. Here is that classy outside midfielder I was talking about. Naish is just that; possessing a damaging kick and pace to boot. He also has a knack for hitting the scoreboard more often than not, and while he is still fairly raw, he should get opportunities at senior level in 2018. There is a fair possibility a bid won’t fall within the top 25, meaning Richmond could get three top 25 selections as well as the talented Knight.
If he is still available, the obvious suitor for their first selection at pick 17 is Western Australian tall Oscar Allen. While he is probably only tall enough to be a 3rd tall at senior level, Allen excels on the lead, where he can beat his opponents and take the ball at its highest point at pace – a commodity Richmond could certainly use. Allen showed he can compete amongst the best in the pool, being awarded the Larke Medal as the best player in the National Championships for WA, and even made his WAFL debut during the season.
Another possibility for either of these two picks (in the event Naish is bidded on before 25, meaning Richmond will have to use one of their selections as well as re-shuffling others) is filling their ruck stocks. There is word Eastern Ranges ruckman Sam Hayes will slide due to club’s reluctance to pick a ruck early. Hayes is the standout ruckman in the pool and has shown he can kick goals while forward. The two-time All Australian’s tapwork is exceptional and he is very capable following up on the ground winning his own footy. The knock is his endurance – finishing second last in the 2km time trial – but if Richmond are able to snag him with either of their picks in the 20’s, he’ll be a steal.
Tall swingman Jarrod Brander also has the potential to slide and the Tigers will be laughing if he is still there at pick 17. Brander – who was in the top 5 conversation at the beginning of the season – has played some good footy both up forward and down back in 2017, but inconsistency has seen his draft stocks fall somewhat. In saying that, it is unlikely he will still be there at Richmond’s first selection.
If Richmond opt to go the best available, they may have a look at outside midfielder/defender Lochie O’Brien. Similar to his Bendigo teammate Brander, O’Brien’s has drifted on draft boards, but there is no doubting his talent – he oozes class. Athletic tall Noah Balta is another they could consider, who is probably best suited in defence. Balta is one who could be anything at AFL level.
Richmond managed to pull off a steal with Jack Graham at pick 53 last year, so it will be interesting to see what they can do with picks 53 and 55 this year (if they aren’t used to match Naish bids). They have also expressed interest in mature age recruit Derrick Smith from their Next Generation Academy, who is likely to join the Tigers via the Rookie Draft.