Third Time Lucky For Tigers

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Chris Hyde/Getty Images
Harley Bennell made a solid return from injury against Brisbane last week. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Chris Hyde/Getty Images
Last 2 Meetings

Round 16, 2012 – Gold Coast 90 d Richmond 88 at Cazaly’s Stadium
Round 17, 2011 – Gold Coast 85 d Richmond 70 at Cazaly’s Stadium


Form

  Rd 11    Rd 12    Rd 13    Rd 14    Rd 15 
Richmond

B

W

W

W

L

Gold Coast

W

L

B

L

L


Richmond’s bubble hasn’t burst after one loss, but it certainly received a bit of a prick at the weekend as North Melbourne finally showed it’s capable of playing four quarters of footy in a 62-point romp at the MCG. The Tigers just simply can’t apply pressure when they need to, and it’s not a style of football which is going to keep them alive for long in September…if they make it.

This is probably not the match Richmond needs after being stunned like that. The Tigers have lived through two nightmare performances against Gold Coast in Cairns. In 2011 they were up by six goals at the first change before losing by 15 , while last year Karmichael Hunt kicked the game-winner after the siren as Damien Hardwick’s men found a way to lose the unloseable in the final term.

The Suns had good and bad patches in the Q Clash last weekend, but at this stage of their development, they’re still unlikely to beat respectable teams without Gary Ablett . The maestro missed last week’s clash with a calf injury, and after picking up five Brownlow votes in the wins over Richmond the past two years, his return is badly needed. Richmond has also included one of its main weapons in the form of ruckman Ivan Maric who has recovered from a groin problem.


Key Men

(Tigers) Trent Cotchin – In the third quarter of last season’s match in Cairns, the young Suns couldn’t find a soul to stop a rampaging Trent Cotchin . He spearheaded a six-goal quarter which should have led to an easy win. It didn’t, but the fact remains that Guy McKenna has to find someone to run with the Tigers’ skipper. After starting the season in sizzling form, the one-time Brownlow Medal fancy has been quelled the past couple of months. He must be ready for a breakout game.

(Suns) Harley Bennell – Hamstring issues in both legs have stifled Harley Bennell’s progress this season, but the young star returned with a quality effort against the Lions on Saturday. The Suns have plenty of pace across the ground, but Bennell adds plenty of dash through the middle and his ball use is, at times, sublime. He had 30 touches in the thrilling victory over the Tigers last year and, along with Gary Ablett, he’s the Sun most likely to break this game open.


Prediction

The Suns can compete with most teams in the centre these days but they’re really lacking size at both ends of the ground at the moment thanks to a pretty lengthy injury list. Gold Coast needs goals from its midfielders and wingers because there just isn’t much else on offer in the forward line. Goals are one something the Tigers generally don’t have an issue kicking - prior to last week’s loss Richmond had passed the 100-mark in four straight games – but a lack of pressure and tackling is going to be the death of them this season. Providing Gary Ablett doesn’t run riot, and with a dicky calf you wouldn’t expect him to, the Tigers should get rid of a hoodoo which has seen them drop all five ‘home’ matches they have hosted interstate. Richmond by 28 points .

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