Is Richmond The Real Deal?

Picture: Michael Dodge/adelaidenow.com.au
Brett Deledio and Dustin Martin are in top form in 2013. Image courtesy of adelaidenow.com.au/Michael Dodge
Last Five Meetings

Round 2, 2012 – Collingwood Magpies 85 d Richmond Tigers 64
Round 4, 2011 – Collingwood Magpies 161 d Richmond Tigers 90
Round 17, 2010 – Collingwood Magpies 127 d Richmond Tigers 45
Round 20, 2009 – Collingwood Magpies 152 d Richmond Tigers 59
Round 3, 2008 – Collingwood Magpies 122 d Richmond Tigers 78


Form

     Rd 1       Rd 2       Rd 3   
Richmond 

 W

 W

 W

Collingwood 

 W

 W

 L


Here’s where we find out how good Richmond really is. It’s one thing getting across the line against fringe top eight teams Carlton and St Kilda, then beating up on the young Western Bulldogs, but it’s another cracking a genuine top four side like Collingwood . The Magpies have won the past five against the Tigers by an average of 62 points , although Richmond did get within 21 points at the start of last season.

There was plenty of talk of a Tiger revival pre-season, and for the moment it has been right on the money. They lost so many close games last season but tight wins over the Blues and Saints got Richmond off on the right foot. After going goalless in the opening round, Jack Riewoldt has sprung to life with 12 goals in his past two games. Ben Reid is the man most likely to be given the task of keeping him quiet.

For the best part of a half of football, Collingwood was all over Hawthorn, but their second half collapse would more than likely be causing coach Nathan Buckley a few headaches. Dane Swan is one player who would have caused his own boss the odd headache, as well, but this week he lines up in his 200th AFL match. It’s hard to believe he fell to No. 58 in the 2001 draft, although the likes of Luke Hodge, Luke Ball, Chris Judd, Jimmy Bartel, Steve Johnson, Sam Mitchell and Gary Ablett Jnr were picked ahead of him in amongst arguably the best draft class ever. Ask the Kangaroos if they’d pick seven-gamer Ashley Watson over Swan – a Brownlow Medallist and three-time Copeland Medal winner – at number 14 if they had their time over again. He has averaged 34 disposals his past four games against the Tigers. One of his fellow midfield guns, Dayne Beams, will spend another 2-3 weeks on the sideline with his quad injury.


Key Men

(Tigers) Alex Rance – Is now probably the most vital cog in Richmond’s defence. Takes the opposition’s best forward most of the time, and it more than likely to get a rampaging Travis Cloke on Saturday. Has been a tower of strength at the back in his last two games against the Tigers racking up 34 disposals and a phenomenal 17 marks last season while he finished with 23 touches and 11 grabs in 2010. That’s probably an indication of how much ball was getting pumped in to the ‘Pies forward line in those games, but Rance isn’t just a very good one-on-one defender, he’s also one of the best readers of play at the back in the game.

(Magpies) Ben Hudson – Last Sunday Ben Hudson became the oldest player to make a start at a fourth club. It’s funny to think a player who is 34 years of age could be rookie listed, but his value to Collingwood didn’t take long to show after Darren Jolly went down with a rib problem just two weeks in to the season. He probably had the best of the ruck contest against David Hale and Max Bailey, and along with 25 hit-outs he also worked hard around the ground picking up 22 disposals. He faces a big task on Saturday against Ivan Maric.


Prediction

The Magpies are starting to get some troops back on the field after plenty of inexperienced players managed to get them through the first couple of weeks of the season. Their bottom half-dozen was exposed by the Hawks last week, but they’re unlikely to get as strong an examination from the Tigers who can be brilliant one minute, then average the next. Richmond might have more to play for in terms of the Tigers earning their stripes as a top-line team, but staying on top of Collingwood’s midfield for four quarters is easier said than done. Magpies by 16 points  

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