MCG, Saturday 12 May, 4:40 pm
This match looks like it has the goods, as Richmond take on Sydney at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Sydney had slipped under the radar with five straight wins until a loss to Adelaide last week and will be looking to bounce straight back into good form, but they face a tough challenge.
Richmond, after two fighting losses to reigning premiers Geelong and West Coast, hit it off with a victory over Port Adelaide at AAMI, with both teams in good nick, this is set to be an exciting and likely close contest.
Richmond enter the game in good form despite only winning one of their past three. Their previous two losses were very much winnable games for their entirety and coach Damien Hardwick would be pleased.
It comes off the class and leadership of Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio and Chris Newman combined with the improvement of players such as Alex Rance, Dylan Grimes, Robin Nahas and Shaun Grigg.
The form of Jack Riewoldt, however, had been suspect until he kicked four in a flashy display. Whether he can back it up this week is a big query on the Tigers.
But regardless, Damien Hardwick’s coaching style always had a hard and intense edge and now it seems to be paying dividends for the entire team.
They come up against Sydney having won their last clash at the MCG by 43 points, and should come in riding a big wave of confidence.
Sydney are in great form, there’s no questioning that. They were travelling quietly under the radar despite being undefeated until Adelaide topped them last week, but no doubt their self-belief is high.
Obviously, some of that originates from Adam Goodes, and his loss from tearing a quadriceps muscle last week is massive, and how Sydney will respond will prove to be important.
Josh Kennedy has stepped right up and could even be leading the Brownlow but with Goodes gone Kieren Jack, Daniel Hannebery, Jarrad McVeigh and Craig Bird will all need good performances to get this one.
They also need to prove that they can win at the MCG. Having only won one of their past fourteen games there, they’ll need this one.
Players to Watch
The former Coleman medallist’s form has been a talking point, although he played well last week. Noticeably, he played deeper in the forward line as well. How will he go about handling the in-form Ted Richards?
The clear second ruck behind Shane Mumford has a big task – Ivan Maric is in good nick and Richmond having first use could be disastrous. Seaby has to have a good game with plenty of effective hitouts, and he has the capability.
Sydney have had a brilliant start to the year and were a kick away from starting it 6-0. However, their form at the MCG is suspect to say the least.
Richmond have the fight and the home ground advantage and I reckon that alone can trump the Swans.
Richmond by 15 points
B: Steven Morris, Alex Rance, Chris Newman
HB: Bachar Houli, Dylan Grimes, Jake Batchelor
C: Shaun Grigg, Dustin Martin, Brandon Ellis
HF: Brett Deledio, Brad Miller, Nathan Foley
F: Reece Conca, Jack Riewoldt, Jake King
Foll: Ivan Maric, Trent Cotchin, Shane Tuck
I/C: Daniel Jackson, Shane Edwards, Robin Nahas, Matt Dea
Emg: Angus Graham, Luke McGuane, Matthew Arnot
In: Daniel Jackson
Out: Tyrone Vickery (leg)
Milestones: Dustin Martin (50 games)
B:Alex Johnson, Ted Richards, Martin Mattner
HB: Rhyce Shaw, Heath Grundy, Nicholas Smith
C: Dan Hannebery, Kieren Jack, Jarrad McVeigh
HF: Ben McGlynn, Sam Reid, Ryan O’Keefe
F: Trent Dennis-Lane, Jesse White, Jude Bolton
Foll: Mark Seaby, Josh P. Kennedy, Luke Parker
I/C: Nick Malceski, Craig Bird, Lewis Jetta, Andrejs Everitt
Emg: Nathan Gordon, Tony Armstrong, Tommy Walsh
In: Jesse White, Trent Dennis-Lane
Out: Adam Goodes (quad), Lewis Roberts-Thomson (heel)