A QUICK GLANCE AT 2010
In 2010, Damien Hardwick replaced Terry Wallace as head coach of Richmond. Hardwick concentrated heavily on looking towards the future of the club and therefore introducing a number of young players to the team. Twelve players debuted during the season, with four of them playing recording more than 10 games each.
With their notable lack of experience, the Tigers experienced a horror start to the year, losing their first nine games. Although they won five of their next six, they could only manage six wins for the year and finished 15th on the ladder.
Many of these wins were thanks largely to full-forward Jack Riewoldt who had a breakthrough season, booting 78 goals. Therefore they understandably suffered from a lack of goal scorers, with Riewoldt kicking a third of their goals for the year.
However the major problem for Hardwick was not the fact his side was losing, but more the manner in which they continued to lose. They were often uncompetitive and unconvincing, as nine of their 16 losses were by 50 points or more. But to their credit, the Tigers became more competitive as the year went on.
Richmond’s best players for 2010 – Riewoldt and Brett Deledio – will need to lead the way this year for the young brigade of players. However, the most important player may prove to be Trent Cotchin. If Richmond are to move forward as a club in the years to come he really needs to fire. They are relying on him to be a future star and leader of the club. This is the year the Tigers need him to make his mark.
THREE MOST IMPORTANT GAMES IN 2011:
Round 1 – vs Carlton, Thursday 24 March at MCGThe Tigers themselves need to make their mark in the first round, not as a dominant team, but as competitors. When they face Carlton, they cannot afford to repeat what they served up to their fans early last year. If they can be competitive, they will let the rest of the competition know they are no longer a pushover and will also win back some of their own fans.
Round 14 – vs Melbourne, Saturday 25 June at MCG
Another challenge for the Tigers will be their first match-up with Melbourne. This game will test their talent against a borderline top eight team and will ultimately let Hardwick know where his team is at.
Round 16 – vs Essendon, Saturday 9 July at MCG
In terms of blockbuster games Richmond’s biggest crowd-drawer is their annual ‘Dreamtime at the G’ match with Essendon. This game gives the Tigers an opportunity to strut their stuff in front of a big crowd and show the football world what they are made of.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2011:
Richmond’s clear main goal for 2011 is to continue to play young players, so they can gain experience and build for a positive future.
Hardwick’s main challenge will be to keep the playing group’s spirits high, even if things turn pear-shaped. He will be relying heavily on his few senior players to help guide the young players down the right path. As their list stands currently, they only have four players who have played over 100 games, those players being captain Chris Newman, Shane Tuck, Deledio and new recruit Brad Miller.
Miller will hopefully be able to help the number of avenues to goal the Tigers have, so they do not have to kick to Riewoldt on every occasion. Hardwick has also been putting a lot of work into Tyrone Vickery, who he believes has the potential to be a key forward. The coach would be hoping Vickery and Riewoldt can develop a ‘twin towers’ effect in the forward line, much like Scott Lucas and Matthew Lloyd of the Bombers a few years ago.
Richmond would also like to see positive impacts from its recruits from other clubs. Bachar Houli and Shaun Grigg, who were both part of trades, will be under pressure to perform their respective roles in the team.
All in all Hardwick is hoping for a more consistent and competitive season than 2010. Realistically, the Tigers will be aiming to win between six and eight games and will try not to finish in the bottom four. However it is most likely they will finish between 14th and 17th whilst they are in this rebuilding stage.
It will be an exciting year for the Tigers as some of the talent on their list will start to shine and give their fans hope for the future.
FINAL LADDER POSITIONING: