Tigers Tackle Tough Test

Image courtesy of news.com.au
Alex Rance was immense in Richmond's backline last week. Image courtesy of news.com.au
Last Five Matches

Round 7, 2012 – Richmond 91 d Sydney 62 at MCG
Round 21, 2011 - Richmond 99 d Sydney 56 at MCG
Round 12, 2011 – Sydney 75 d Richmond 65 at SCG
Round 14, 2010 – Richmond 89 d Sydney 85 at MCG
Round 3, 2010 – Sydney 111 d Richmond 56 at SCG


Form

     Rd 13       Rd 14       Rd 15       Rd 16       Rd 17   
Sydney    L  W  W  W  W
Richmond    W  W  L  W  W

Richmond finally beat a team sitting above it on the table on Sunday when the Tigers got the money against Fremantle by 27 points . The Dockers never really threatened, but they did have Matthew Pavlich, Hayden Ballantyne and Aaron Sandilands missing, so there will still be questions asked about how good Richmond really is when it comes to taking on the top sides. That win was the Tigers’ sixth in seven starts, but their form against the Kangaroos (lost by 62 points) and Gold Coast (won by 9 points) the previous fortnight had been pretty shoddy.

Sydney eased to a 34-point win over in Perth against West Coast last Sunday, which was their fourth on the trot and seventh victory in its past eight matches. Those last four wins came against teams outside the top eight, so taking on Richmond will be a bit of a step up.

Both teams are relatively injury free, although Sydney is still waiting on the return of Adam Goodes. Richmond has been forced to leave out forward Jake King who has a hamstring complaint.


Key Men

(Swans) Daniel Hannebery – Few players in the game run as hard as Daniel Hannebery , and teams are finding out that it’s nigh-on impossible to keep up with the 22-year-old throughout an entire game. He cracked the 40-disposal mark for the second time this season against the Eagles last weekend, and six times he has racked up 30 or more touches. He’s tough, he wins the ball inside and outside, and he never stops running. He’s amongst the Brownlow Medal favourites; this year might be too early given the form one G. Ablett is in on the Gold Coast, but the umpires will certainly know who he is next season.

(Tigers) Alex Rance – Tigers fullback Alex Rance has been towelled up a couple of times this season, but on other occasions he has also shown why he’s up there with the likes of Daniel Talia, Rory Thompson and Jake Carlisle as the most promising young defenders in the competition. Admittedly, the Tigers only had to deal with Alex Silvagni trying to do his best Matthew Pavlich impersonation on Sunday, but Rance just dominated at that end of the ground. He finished with 30 touches and an astonishing 16 marks, along with five tackles. A bigger test in the shape of Kurt Tippett awaits him this week.


Prediction

The Tigers got one monkey off their back by beating a team above them on the table last weekend, now they can earn some real respect by beating Sydney away from home. Richmond hasn’t beaten the Swans at the SCG since 2004, which is a streak of six games. Damien Hardwick’s team has surprisingly won the last two matches against the Bloods convincingly, but both of those victories were in Melbourne. The Tigers’ midfielders love open space, and the wide expanses of the SCG should suit them, but they can’t afford to break down across half-forward, otherwise the Swans’ playmakers Jarrad McVeigh and Nick Malceski will run rings around them, like they have the rest of the competition. Sydney has lost just once at home this year, to Geelong, and drawn with Fremantle, so this is definitely one of the sterner tests the Tigers will face before the finals. Sydney by 19 points .

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