tigees aint good enuff says rob Walls
long article but in true Wallsy fashion very concise....................It's only the second time in a long time that the Tigers have made it through to the September action. Second-year coach Danny Frawley has put his heart and soul into lifting this team.
He has done a fine job, but just how far will the yellow and blacks go?
Not very far, is the way that I see it. Too much depends on too few, and the two in particular who carry the hopes of this team are Brad Ottens and Matthew Richardson.
If the twin tall forwards can be contained, then I doubt the others could kick a score to get the team over the line.
Two other important links in the Tiger chain are Joel Bowden, who has dominated from his wing, and Darren Gaspar, who once again has been a rock of Gibraltar in defence.
The pressure will be on this quartet to hold the team together.
And for each of the four they will be venturing into new territory. None of them has played a finals game. It will be interesting to see how they hold up.
Richmond has won five of its past six games. It's hard to knock that. However, the five wins have been against bottom-eight teams, the loss was to Brisbane at the Gabba.
For most of the season the Tigers have been at full strength. The team has been amazingly settled: 17 players have played 18 or more games, which is a real asset, as it breeds confidence and system, when the lines remain the same.
So let's look at the strengths and weaknesses of this Richmond side.
Back line: The three tall defenders are Gaspar, Andrew Kellaway and Ben Holland. Gaspar gets the best forward week in, week out, and takes the honors more times than not. He can play against opponents of any size and is comfortable on the last line of defence or out at half-back. This makes him an extremely valuable player. Kellaway has the courage of his brother Duncan and takes the most marks in the back half. His confidence, decision making and disposal are down on his All-Australian season of 2000. Holland is big, brave and versatile. If there isn't a like-sized opponent, he can go forward or help out in the ruck.
Duncan Kellaway is the team's best stopper and could well get James Hird tonight, as he is as comfortable and competent in the midfield as he is in defence. His disposal has and always will let him down. Leon Cameron is the leading rebounder. Opposition teams will try to drag him away from the action, as he is the go-to man in defence. He receives on average nine handballs a game. Because he is the best kick in the back half, kick-in responsibilities fall to him. Mark Chaffey is the other run-to-receive player in defence. His lethal left foot sets up plenty of opportunities to the tall forwards.
Midfield: The wise old heads hold sway here. Wayne Campbell, Matthew Knights, Paul Broderick and Benny Gale share close to 1000 games. Gale is not a dominant ruckman regarding hit-outs and the Tigers are only middle of the road when it comes to clearances from ruck contests. Gale's strength is his ability to mark across the half-back line and fire off effective handballs.
Campbell has led well in his first crack at captaincy. In recent weeks he has struggled to beat the tags put on him. Knights has lost dash and kicking penetration but his awareness, vision and creative handball is second to none.
Broderick spends little time on the ball, but has been more than useful playing as a sacrificing forward. He is prepared to position in the goal umpire's pocket in order to drag a quality defender out of the action and is deadly accurate near goal.
The midfield taggers are Clinton King and Steven Sziller. Both are disciplined to play tight. King also has the capacity to win plenty of ball. The downside is that neither does much with the ball when they get it.
The main kick-getter and the potential midfield match-winner is Bowden. A superb reader of the play and surprisingly strong overhead, Bowden, with his long left-foot kicks, can create havoc. Starting tonight, expect a tight squeeze to be put on his space. Rory Hilton is the other winger. He wanders far and wide and can accumulate plenty of ball. His down side is that he takes little opponent responsibility and in finals that could be costly.
A key player who has been flat in recent weeks is Greg Tivendale. He is vital to the midfield mix as he adds genuine foot speed and kicking penetration. He is a 75-metre player. He carries the ball the full measure and then kicks it 60 metres. Sadly, he is down in form and confidence.
Forwards: The guts of the forward line is Richardson, Ottens and Matthew Rogers. The two big fellows average 17 marks a game between them. And they can do it in the contest situation. To cover them will be the opposition's priority. Denying them opportunities is one way, so winning the midfield ruck clearances is important. Dropping the ruckman back into their leading space is also worth consideration.
The ruck dominance of Ottens in the forward line creates goals. The opposition ruckman has to drop back to ruck against him, otherwise Ottens will have a feast if he rucks against his full-back or centre half-back opponent.
Rogers is tough and hard but down on form. That's a pity, because when he is up he is a real contributor.
So how do the Tigers play? In brackets is where they rate with the other teams. The Tigers are a high-handballing (4) hard running-to-receive (1) team particularly in defence. They kick long (3) from midfield to inside the forward 50 where they are excellent at taking a contested mark (1). They struggle at ruck clearances (8) partly because they don't win enough hard ball, in close-in-contest situations (14). By not winning close-in balls, they have to tackle (3), a skill they are good at.
While they have won against ordinary opposition in recent weeks to secure a finals berth, I feel their coach is really worried. He knows he has too many players down in form. Danny has talked up his team at every opportunity. It's as if he is trying to inject a dose of confidence whenever he can. What the coach is doing is admirable. But from here on his players have to carry the can. They are now a mature, experienced team. Sure, not in finals football, but in games played in the AFL.
The worries are a lack of class, composure in a crisis and an over-reliance on Ottens and Richardson. For Richo, the next few weeks could make or break him. If he keeps a cool head, and an attack on the ball backed up by consistent and concerted second efforts, then September 2001 could be the making of him. If he argues and drops his bundle when things go wrong, then he will confirm the opinion he loses the plot when the heat's turned on. And that would be a shame.
First off I wanna say for the most part hes got it right, except for one GLARING mistake...little Clinton King is one of the best ball users at richmond, when he plays we play a sh!tload better, hes a ball magnet (something we lack overall) and releases beautifully to our running brigade or receivers something we have in abundance, if him and kellaway are getting the ball in the packs our midfield looks a million bucks. therein lies our problem against essendon. last time we played kingy didnt and kellaway played on hird (the only player seemingly capable of containing him) so he stops hird but we dont win the hardball which is a major major weakness in our team.
another thing thats wrong is that tackling stat, so we rate 3rd in the comp in tackles, but I guarantee that doesnt mean only good hard tackles b/c put simply our tackles are bloody weak and more often than not the opponent is able to get the handball away to a runner. we really need to bulk up.
What he wrote abt richo is a crock'o'sh!t, it was just last year this time they didnt know if hed ever play footy again, most specialists they consulted in the USA where this injury is more common all stated that no-one had ever recovered from an injury like that to continue their career, and u have wallsy saying the finals will make or break him??? plse weve only seen one glimpse of richos best and that was last week and he didnt even kick straight anyway, at the end of next year he can be judged, until then LAY THE FU(K OFF HIM!!!! saying that its not always black and white for him hes not only brilliant or sh!t he does kick MANY MANY MANY times 3 or 4 goals a good SOLID contribution..in saying all that hes missed abt 4 games this year but hes still miles ahead in marks and contested marks in the league a pretty special achievement if u ask me.
Last edited by tigerTUFF; August 30th, 2001 at 15:55.