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Opposition analysis: Round 3

Last Time We Met: Richmond R20, 2017 Check out the highlights from the last time we faced the Tigers.

The changes

IN (extended squad): Nick Vlastuin, Dion Prestia, Jack Higgins, Connor Menadue , Sam Lloyd, Mabior Chol, Ryan Garthwaite 

OUT: Josh Caddy (suspended), Shai Bolton, Corey Ellis

 

What to expect

Richmond have launched their premiership defence with one win and one loss in the opening fortnight of the 2018 season.

The reigning premiers have shown signs of the fast-paced, maniacal defence game-style that saw them win their first flag in 37 years, but they have been yet to get their momentum truly rolling.

The Tigers rank fourth in the competition in tackles, with a tackle differential of +21 in Round 1 against Carlton and then +25 the following week against Adelaide. 

Where Damien Hardwick’s side has let themselves down is in their ability to win the ball.

Some of the statistics reflect some alarming issues through the first two rounds: they have recorded the least disposals of any side in the league, sitting 18th for kicks, 16th for handballs and 18th for uncontested possessions. 

In Round 1, they had the ball 36 less times than the Blues but in Round 2 matters worsened in this regard, gathering 140 less touches than a strong Crows outfit. 

Despite their inability to win the ball, Richmond sit second in the league for inside 50s with Hawthorn the only side to have gone inside their forward 50 on more occasions over the first two rounds.

This was a key strength of the Tigers’ premiership assault with Brownlow Medallist Dustin Martin leading the competition in the statistic, averaging six per game.

So far this year, Jack Riewoldt (7.5 entries per game, ranking equal second) and Josh Caddy (7 per game, ranking equal sixth) have joined their superstar teammate with their ability to generate forward thrusts for the yellow and black.

The Tigers’ game revolves around their ability to get the ball inside their forward 50 and then keep it in there. 

They are not an overly high-scoring side, ranking seventh this season for points scored and eighth in the 2017 home and away season, but they aim to erode the energy of their opposition by the sheer weight of their relentless pressure. 

Read: Match preview - Hawthorn v Richmond

  

One to watch

Jack Riewoldt has had a strong start to season 2018, averaging career-highs in disposals (15.5 per game), inside 50s (7.5), uncontested possessions (10.5), one-percenters (three) and goal assists (1.5).

Riewoldt has done all of this while booting four goals so far this year, all of which came in his side’s season opener. 

The winner of his club’s goal kicking for each of the past eight seasons, the 29-year old is a constant threat for any opposition side and has kicked 17 goals across his last six encounters with the Hawks. 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs