Analysis Gary Buckenara analyses the Richmond list after the 2021 season.

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Premiership Player
Apr 12, 2015
Central Victoria Bendigo
AFL Club
Other Teams
Leeds United
Pretty much an analysis where you haven't bothered to do much analysis.

Yes, our list is till in good shape and looks good going forward.

No we don't a 15th ruck on the list.

Yes, Balta and Bolton have talent, but they are already up there.

etc etc

Oh well. Why do I hope that these articles will contain insight?
In these times its always good to get a laugh ;):)

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Norm Smith Medallist
Feb 25, 2007
AFL Club
I think the last time this bloke got a compliment was back in his 'Gary Buckenara - you buckin' beauty' playing days. ;)

Always did love that call, still brings a chuckle for me every time I see his name.

Football Tragic

Club Legend
Nov 11, 2010
Punt Rd End
AFL Club
Regardless of the validity of this list assessment, I have to agree with his assertion that this year was a hiccup off the back of injuries. We really never had a decent run at things. Every time we tried to string a few games together with a strong side, key players were hit by injury. We never really had a chance to tweak our game plan either. We tried with varying mixtures of players but never settled on player positions, let alone any modification of game plan.

I think we'll look back on this year as the year we discovered future talent and dipped down the ladder so we could discover the young talent that we needed to cover our aging stars.


Brownlow Medallist
Feb 23, 2009
AFL Club
Other Teams
New York Jets
It would be fair to say Richmond has definitely underachieved in 2021 given the strength of the Tigers’ list on paper.
Boasting 21 A and B-grade players – minus a couple of retirements – and seven future AB players, it shows why they have won three premierships in the past four years.

There have been a few hiccups and distractions off the field and I wonder if these have just upset the balance of the camaraderie of the group?

A bad run with injuries didn’t help their campaign this year.

Losing Dustin Martin, Toby Nankervis, Dion Prestia, Nick Vlastuin, Trent Cotchin, Shane Edwards, Ivan Soldo, Kane Lambert, Kamdyn McIntosh, Bachar Houli, and David Astbury at different stages of the season was always going to be hard to cover, and makes it hard to get continuity of performance.

I still think the list is well balanced and given some luck in 2022, they will be a contender when these players are fully fit again.

Sometimes this happens when a club like Richmond has set such high standards on and off the field for a long time, a year like this might just reignite the hunger.

The talent is there and Tigers fans should not feel too disappointed as this group has taken them on a wonderful journey recently – one which I don’t think has come to an end just yet.


Injuries to Nankervis and Soldo exposed the Tigers’ midfield at times this season and they might need to look at bringing in another experienced ruckman, and hopefully some of their development talls can come on.

I think they will continue to look at a balance of attracting free agents and out of contract players as well as investing in younger players to keep the list in good shape.

Toby Nankervis battled with injuries for much of 2021. Picture: Michael Klein

Toby Nankervis battled with injuries for much of 2021. Picture: Michael Klein


I’m not sure the Tigers will be big players in the trade period, and they are likely to head to the draft with an excellent hand — picks 7, 16, 26 and 28.

But an experienced ruckman would be a good option and a player in the mould of Jon Ceglar would be the type of player needed.

He is contracted at the moment at Hawthorn but could be gettable with the club looking to young ruckman Ned Reeves.


Ideally, the Tigers can keep their list together, retain their A and B ranked players and get them injury-free for 2022.

I like their future AB players and hopefully some of the developing players can progress next season as well.


I don’t think players will want to move away and I doubt that Richmond will look to offload any players that would get early draft picks, especially in a draft that has been very hard to access watching players around the country live due to Covid.

I expect most of the clubs in the top eight will look to make minimal changes to their list and Richmond, I am sure, will have very few changes.

Josh Caddy is one who seems to have fallen out of favour and could look for opportunities elsewhere.


List management is one of the most important jobs at an AFL club.

Poor decisions can be catastrophic — and Collingwood proved that last year.

Far too many clubs can often hold an overly-optimistic view when ranking their own lists and this can lead to years of mediocrity.

When clubs are rating their lists, they should rank players as: A+, A, B+, B, C+, C and Development.

In this list analysis, I have just done A, B, C and two tiers of development (“future AB players” and “need more time”) because with the younger players it is important to see who is coming through and those that need more time in the system.

The important area for clubs to look at is how many A and B ranked players they have as well as future consistent AB players.

These rankings are my opinions, but they should give supporters a reasonable snapshot as to where their playing list sits now — and how they might look in a few years’ time.

Players 22 and over

Elite players on any AFL list

B: Top 10-18 player on most lists

C: An 19-30 player on a list

Developing: Aged 21 or under

Future AB players: These are players that will hopefully develop into an A or B ranked player once they turn 22. They might be playing to this level now, but it takes sustained years.

Need more time: These players would be a player recently drafted that is still developing and therefore will need more time to see if he is likely to develop into an A or B grade player.

Jack Riewoldt is still an A-grader according to Gary Buckenara.

Jack Riewoldt is still an A-grader according to Gary Buckenara.


Dylan Grimes, Dustin Martin, Jack Riewoldt, Trent Cotchin, Shane Edwards, Toby Nankervis.

B-grade: Nick Vlastuin, Dion Prestia, Liam Baker, Jason Castagna, David Astbury (retired), Bachar Houli (retired), Jayden Short, Tom Lynch, Kane Lambert, Shai Bolton, Kamdyn McIntosh, Jack Graham, Nathan Broad, Mabior Chol, Marlion Pickett.

C-grade: Patrick Naish (delisted), Jake Aarts, Daniel Rioli, Ivan Soldo, Josh Caddy, Ryan Garthwaite, Derek Eggmolesse-Smith, Matthew Parker.


Future AB players: Jack Ross, Noah Balta, Riley Collier-Dawkins, Thomson Dow, Sydney Stack, Hugo Ralphsmith, Maurice Rioli.

Need more time: Rhyan Mansell, Samson Ryan, Will Martyn, Noah Cumberland, Mate Colina, Callum Coleman-Jones, Ben Miller, Bigoa Nyuon.


A Grade =

B Grade = 15

C Grade = 8


Future AB players = 7

Need more time = 8


With a strong number of A and B-grade players and seven future AB players, the Richmond list is in very good shape – and should be for a few years yet.

It is a balancing act to keep a strong group together with the TPP and have good developing talent and the right amount of depth players (C-grade). Richmond has done this very well.

I think the Tigers will be back in 2022 and challenge for a top-four position – and another flag – as long as the hunger is there to fight for it again.

This is the unknown. It is hard to determine as a coach or fitness staff if the burning desire and the drive to make all the sacrifices required to win premierships is still there.

Let’s not forget the past two years have been extremely hard on all clubs, coaches, players and their families and this must have presented so many challenges that are hard for those not in the inner sanctum to understand.

But given the fortitude of this Richmond group write them off at your peril.

A lot wrong with this, but a couple that spring to mind

For starters, when you look at the list for ruckmen we have Nankervis, Soldo, CCJ, Chol, Ryan, Colina on the list. We don't need to target a ruckman…

Secondly, Nick Vlastuin is an A grader in any team. Criminally underrated. But apparently he is the same level as Mabior Chol. Ditto Castagna being the same level as Prestia, etc.... just bizzare.

I'd also argue Balta is already at least a B grader based on his performance over 2021 and 2020.

Finally, he leaves out Broad from the injured players, who was arguably one of our best to that point in the season, but doesn't get a mention.


Club Legend
Sep 26, 2019
AFL Club
Other Teams
We have plenty of ruck options why would we go after another ryan, chol, ccj, nank, soldo and colina all options going forward.
Need another inside mid more than anything, hopefully get one in the draft.
Lol Exactly. The one position where we are brimming with both established players and quality up and comers.

He thinks we need a ruckman more than a clearance bull or half-back who can set up play.

More like Gary Cuck-anara amiright?

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Club Legend
May 7, 2008
AFL Club
It would read better if he had run with the A+,A,B+, B etc he mentioned. It makes it look like a lot of our B's would get a game in the best 18 for any side when most of the B's would be in the top 10 in the top 4 sides.

We will always debate the strengths and weaknesses of our own players, over rating them or under rating them depending on whether we are feeling optimistic or pessimistic. He actually commented on this in the article with list management.

All in all I found it a pretty good read. Its an opinion after all and he did rate us highly for the 2022 flag ... I will give him a B ranking :cool:

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