Source: Richmond FC via Facebook.
The Richmond Tigers have finished their pre-season series and it looks as though they are going to start their title defence at full throttle. In their last game of the JLT Community Series, the Tigers belted the North Melbourne Kangaroos 19.14. (128) to 8.10. (50), in an impressive display that will have every other team in the premiership a little worried. Some thought that the Victorian club might have a bit of a grand final headache and possibly take a while to get back into the swing of things, but the performance against the Roos showed everyone that they are ready to rumble.
Coach Damien Hardwick’s men looked confident and composed on the field, and they will undoubtedly be one of the teams challenging for the flag in 2018. Currently the Adelaide Crows and the Sydney Swans are the early favourites at $6.00 according to Aussie Rules betting, with Richmond and the GWS Giants both back on $7.50. Geelong, Port Adelaide, Essendon and Melbourne are the bookmakers’ choice to take the final spots in the top eight.
In the victory against North Melbourne, the Tigers were ruthless at times, constantly applying pressure and forcing turnovers all across the park. Richmond had an incredible 12 separate goal kickers, which highlighted just how much of a team performance it was from the reigning champs. The commanding display will surely give Hardwick a bit of a selection conundrum ahead of the new season.
Source: The West Australian Sport via Facebook.
Shai Bolton looks to have locked in his role as Daniel Rioli’s replacement until he returns from injury, with the small forward taking 15 possessions and 1.3 goals after scoring three against the Bombers in their previous game. Apart from Bolton, the small forward line should remain relatively unchanged. However, the coach would have been pleased with youngster Callum Moore’s cameo appearance after he came on and kicked two goals, showing that he could be a viable backup option for Jack Riewoldt, if necessary this season.
Kane Lambert was impressive through the midfield with four goals, while Josh Caddy showed that he could be one of this year’s big improvers with another dynamic performance. The 25-year-old was heavily involved in the middle and made seven clearances from his 20 possessions. His decision making moving forward was excellent and he finished the contest with two goals.
In their other preseason game against Essendon, they were equally as devastating, thrashing the Bombers by a massive 87 points. Brownlow Medal winner Dustin Martin was back to his best, tallying up 24 disposals and scoring one goal. Although the Tigers were only missing three of their premiership winning 22, compared to Essendon who were far from full strength, the display from the premiers further cemented their place as one of the flag favourites for this season.
The Tigers seemed to have picked up right where they left off at the end of last year and will once again be a major threat in this year’s competition. It could even be the start of a golden era for the club, and opposition will have to be at their absolute best if they want any chance of overcoming them in 2018.