Draft Expert Knightmare's 2021 Draft Almanac

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Knightmare

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As usual a very fair and insightful analysis KM. The Tigers through 2017-2020 (ironically I still think that 2018 was the strongest squad of the dynasty) were something of an enigma. When required to nutshell why the Tigers were so dominant during this period, footy analysts tend to relate it to about 4 reasons, yet then find ways to immediately discredit the team in each aspect at the same time.

1. Forward Pressure
Credit - relentless tackling and trapping the footy inside forward 50, particularly by the smaller forwards.
Discredit - analysts refuse to acknowledge the individual brilliance of Castagna, Rioli and Butler (until he went to the Saints, when he finally got some we’ll-deserved recognition)

2. Frantic Footy
Credit - intense attack on the ball across the midfield, wings and flanks creating opposition turnovers. Continuously keeping the forward momentum of the ball going when in possession or even when the footy is in dispute. Forward moving inertia was palpable.
Discredit - the main protagonists of this style - Cotchin, Prestia, Lambert etc never in AA conversation, despite their dominance of matches.

3. Defensive Dominance
Credit - miserly in their allowance of opposition scoring, despite average inside 50’s by oppo. 50-year plus club records broken in scoring restriction. Defensive rebound scoring numbers through the ceiling.
Discredit - only Rance seriously considered as an AA staple, despite the brilliance of Grimes and Vlastuin. Houli got one eventually. Compare to the Cats dynasty when the likes of Scarlett, Taylor, Enright, Mackie, Milburn, Egan etc were always in the AA conversation.

4. Team Management
Credit - the whole was always considered greater than the sum of the parts during this Tiger dynasty. The synergy was brought about by a game plan that brilliantly deployed the perceived limited pieces available eg In spite of Richmond have only 9 AA’s across the five seasons 2017-21 vs 29 AA’s for the Cats 2007-11.
Discredit - Hardwick has never really been compared favourably with the likes of “Clarko genius” or “Lethal master coach”

To address the discredit parts, as they're interesting to consider.

1. Castagna and Daniel Rioli are a long way from 'individually brilliant.' They wouldn't be best-22 for a lot of teams. They're both just role players who provide one function, but respectively provide inadequate scoreboard impact. Butler is the better of the three, and was even during his Richmond tenure as the higher volume tackler but more importantly the more capable from a scoreboard impact perspective. My view is it was a collective team buy-in. Look at Jack Graham and how highly he rates for pressure acts each year. The forwards absolutely bring the pressure, but even further afield Richmond as a team collectively had that buy-in to play that type of football.

2. Cotchin in 2017 played to an All-Australian standard and was unlucky to miss if we're looking at that 2017-2020 set of years, with his play from there dropping progressively with each season. Cotchin I'll credit for being a great captain, but in terms of individual play, in 2019/2020 and certainly 2021, he hasn't played to the standard he once did. Prestia and Lambert I wouldn't have had in that conversation. Prestia was already a known commodity and very good even with Gold Coast, and in a Richmond context a capable third best midfielder, but someone I certainly wouldn't want as my #1 or #2 midfielder or I'd expect my team to be struggling. Lambert was very good and as with Prestia easily an any team best-22 throughout that set of years and a top-15 on any list player I'd also argue and top-10 on most. But that's where I'd be drawing that line on giving each of them credit.

3. Here is where I'll probably differ from the crowd based on what you're saying. I broadly speaking view Rance as overrated. It seems the majority view Rance as a consensus best key defender of the generation which I don't nearly agree with. In terms of impact on winning, I've got McGovern as the best key defender of this generation. McGovern unlike Rance changed the way key defenders today play and has over the years been so dominant you couldn't ever kick a high ball within 20m of McGovern or you could expect him to take an intercept mark. What I do agree with with you on is the contributions of Richmond's other defenders have been incredibly valuable. I spoke about this before, but Richmond's defence as a unit was exceptional and has been the club's foundation of strength. The gameplan did make Richmond's defence look even better, but still as a group, having Houli, having Vlastuin, Grimes, Astbury had some good years even. Jayden Short has been pretty good. Liam Baker when used back has been good. Nathan Broad even is capable. There hasn't ever been that weak link in Richmond's defence, and like a lot of those great teams past, whether it's Hawthorn, Geelong, Brisbane. Each of those teams had a complete defence, and for Richmond, it was that foundation of strength and in the conversation with Geelong in my view for the best defence in paper of those teams.

4. Clarko is the best coach probably in VFL/AFL history to be real. It's not just premierships and winning. But looking at how he developed guys who were drafted late/rookie who never should have been that good. Developing assistant coaches into head coaches and successful head coaches at a historic rate. Pretty much every year it has been either Clarko or one of his former assistants coaching teams to premierships. Following Clarko though, Hardwick probably is probably that next best coach of this generation and I view him favourably to Leigh as winning three premierships with a team that on paper isn't the most talented, but had such an incredible buy-in-to and execution of a gameplan, Hardwick has in my view at least most other coaches beat, at least based on what he helped Richmond do during that four year run.

Nice post.

To me the major issue is that simply put a mass of footy statisticians have shown that winning contested ball has no real relationship with scoring. Clean ball from the contest has a high correlation with scoring. Richmond took that to heart. So our midfield was completely dominant in first ball from clearance, and simply didn't try to win the clearance to any great extent. The whole game plan was unusual and focused on stats that commentators and most observers don't care about. Therefore, the midfield looked poor by normal stats, but was also the strongest midfield in assisting our team in scoring and our defence in defending.

That fell off a cliff in 2021. We'll see what 2022 brings.

The stand rule and interchange limits took a major edge off the tigers game plan + running out of steam. If the club can adapt to this then I see no reason that we will see a return to 2017-2020. But if the rule changes mean that the old game style doesn't work then we're toast in 2022 and it's a rebuild on the run.

In terms of winning finals, winning contested possessions matters and generally is decisive.

Richmond in each of their three Grand Final wins didn't lose the contested possession differential, despite during the H+A losing those counts more weeks than not. That's why Richmond during finals despite only in 2018 being the best team during the H+A as the minor premier and team with the highest % which is generally the best indicator of team strength of play, could win the three premierships. Put Dangerfield into Geelong's midfield in that 2020 Grand Final for more of the game, and the result I speculative would have gone the other way.

It's incredibly rare a team wins a premiership and loses the contested possession battle. West Coast in 2018 won the Grand Final but lost the contested possessions battle. Hawthorn in 2012 won the contested possessions battle but lost the Grand Final to Sydney. The Hawthorn in 2008 lost contested possessions but won the premiership v Geelong. They're the only three instances in the past 15 years.

What Richmond were right to recognise is - most scores come off the turnover, so Richmond's gameplan rightly was focused around maximising that. And it's a winning team focus and allowed Richmond to overachieve relative to the talent on the playing list. In a perfect world though, I'd be striving for something like that while achieving a midfield dominance at the same time. For this reason, I've been so positive towards what Melbourne have been doing because they bring the forward pressure and have the team commitment to it, they intercept behind the ball and they also have the midfield dominance all at the same time. If Melbourne's rebound from defence and capability of scoring off the turnover was on the level of those great Richmond teams, we'd be talking about an All-time level team. It's almost a shame, and people won't widely know his name yet, but Garrett McDonagh if Melbourne drafted him, that would have been an incredible enhancement to their back half as someone who for Melbourne could have been their Daniel Rich equivalent.
 

Dr Tigris

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To address the discredit parts, as they're interesting to consider.

1. Castagna and Daniel Rioli are a long way from 'individually brilliant.' They wouldn't be best-22 for a lot of teams. They're both just role players who provide one function, but respectively provide inadequate scoreboard impact. Butler is the better of the three, and was even during his Richmond tenure as the higher volume tackler but more importantly the more capable from a scoreboard impact perspective. My view is it was a collective team buy-in. Look at Jack Graham and how highly he rates for pressure acts each year. The forwards absolutely bring the pressure, but even further afield Richmond as a team collectively had that buy-in to play that type of football.

2. Cotchin in 2017 played to an All-Australian standard and was unlucky to miss if we're looking at that 2017-2020 set of years, with his play from there dropping progressively with each season. Cotchin I'll credit for being a great captain, but in terms of individual play, in 2019/2020 and certainly 2021, he hasn't played to the standard he once did. Prestia and Lambert I wouldn't have had in that conversation. Prestia was already a known commodity and very good even with Gold Coast, and in a Richmond context a capable third best midfielder, but someone I certainly wouldn't want as my #1 or #2 midfielder or I'd expect my team to be struggling. Lambert was very good and as with Prestia easily an any team best-22 throughout that set of years and a top-15 on any list player I'd also argue and top-10 on most. But that's where I'd be drawing that line on giving each of them credit.

3. Here is where I'll probably differ from the crowd based on what you're saying. I broadly speaking view Rance as overrated. It seems the majority view Rance as a consensus best key defender of the generation which I don't nearly agree with. In terms of impact on winning, I've got McGovern as the best key defender of this generation. McGovern unlike Rance changed the way key defenders today play and has over the years been so dominant you couldn't ever kick a high ball within 20m of McGovern or you could expect him to take an intercept mark. What I do agree with with you on is the contributions of Richmond's other defenders have been incredibly valuable. I spoke about this before, but Richmond's defence as a unit was exceptional and has been the club's foundation of strength. The gameplan did make Richmond's defence look even better, but still as a group, having Houli, having Vlastuin, Grimes, Astbury had some good years even. Jayden Short has been pretty good. Liam Baker when used back has been good. Nathan Broad even is capable. There hasn't ever been that weak link in Richmond's defence, and like a lot of those great teams past, whether it's Hawthorn, Geelong, Brisbane. Each of those teams had a complete defence, and for Richmond, it was that foundation of strength and in the conversation with Geelong in my view for the best defence in paper of those teams.

4. Clarko is the best coach probably in VFL/AFL history to be real. It's not just premierships and winning. But looking at how he developed guys who were drafted late/rookie who never should have been that good. Developing assistant coaches into head coaches and successful head coaches at a historic rate. Pretty much every year it has been either Clarko or one of his former assistants coaching teams to premierships. Following Clarko though, Hardwick probably is probably that next best coach of this generation and I view him favourably to Leigh as winning three premierships with a team that on paper isn't the most talented, but had such an incredible buy-in-to and execution of a gameplan, Hardwick has in my view at least most other coaches beat, at least based on what he helped Richmond do during that four year run.



In terms of winning finals, winning contested possessions matters and generally is decisive.

Richmond in each of their three Grand Final wins didn't lose the contested possession differential, despite during the H+A losing those counts more weeks than not. That's why Richmond during finals despite only in 2018 being the best team during the H+A as the minor premier and team with the highest % which is generally the best indicator of team strength of play, could win the three premierships. Put Dangerfield into Geelong's midfield in that 2020 Grand Final for more of the game, and the result I speculative would have gone the other way.

It's incredibly rare a team wins a premiership and loses the contested possession battle. West Coast in 2018 won the Grand Final but lost the contested possessions battle. Hawthorn in 2012 won the contested possessions battle but lost the Grand Final to Sydney. The Hawthorn in 2008 lost contested possessions but won the premiership v Geelong. They're the only three instances in the past 15 years.

What Richmond were right to recognise is - most scores come off the turnover, so Richmond's gameplan rightly was focused around maximising that. And it's a winning team focus and allowed Richmond to overachieve relative to the talent on the playing list. In a perfect world though, I'd be striving for something like that while achieving a midfield dominance at the same time. For this reason, I've been so positive towards what Melbourne have been doing because they bring the forward pressure and have the team commitment to it, they intercept behind the ball and they also have the midfield dominance all at the same time. If Melbourne's rebound from defence and capability of scoring off the turnover was on the level of those great Richmond teams, we'd be talking about an All-time level team. It's almost a shame, and people won't widely know his name yet, but Garrett McDonagh if Melbourne drafted him, that would have been an incredible enhancement to their back half as someone who for Melbourne could have been their Daniel Rich equivalent.

Thanks KM

I'm sure that you can accept that tiger fans have some different opinions to you.

Overall i think you are fair. But in saying things like "Astbury had some good years even." can cause a lot of angst/problems with us who watch the club a lot. What I think is that you, and most others, judge the tigers by a 'normal' standard. Which is problematic as the tigers played (and hopefully return to playing) a style that is qualitatively different to other teams. So judging the team by stats and standards the team isn't trying to attain automatically makes the judgement that Richmond were not as good as the results showed. That is, I accept your judgement, but question to some extent the basis of that judgement - for Richmond 2017-2020.
 

GhostofJimJess

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To address the discredit parts, as they're interesting to consider.

1. Castagna and Daniel Rioli are a long way from 'individually brilliant.' They wouldn't be best-22 for a lot of teams. They're both just role players who provide one function, but respectively provide inadequate scoreboard impact. Butler is the better of the three, and was even during his Richmond tenure as the higher volume tackler but more importantly the more capable from a scoreboard impact perspective. My view is it was a collective team buy-in. Look at Jack Graham and how highly he rates for pressure acts each year. The forwards absolutely bring the pressure, but even further afield Richmond as a team collectively had that buy-in to play that type of football.

2. Cotchin in 2017 played to an All-Australian standard and was unlucky to miss if we're looking at that 2017-2020 set of years, with his play from there dropping progressively with each season. Cotchin I'll credit for being a great captain, but in terms of individual play, in 2019/2020 and certainly 2021, he hasn't played to the standard he once did. Prestia and Lambert I wouldn't have had in that conversation. Prestia was already a known commodity and very good even with Gold Coast, and in a Richmond context a capable third best midfielder, but someone I certainly wouldn't want as my #1 or #2 midfielder or I'd expect my team to be struggling. Lambert was very good and as with Prestia easily an any team best-22 throughout that set of years and a top-15 on any list player I'd also argue and top-10 on most. But that's where I'd be drawing that line on giving each of them credit.

3. Here is where I'll probably differ from the crowd based on what you're saying. I broadly speaking view Rance as overrated. It seems the majority view Rance as a consensus best key defender of the generation which I don't nearly agree with. In terms of impact on winning, I've got McGovern as the best key defender of this generation. McGovern unlike Rance changed the way key defenders today play and has over the years been so dominant you couldn't ever kick a high ball within 20m of McGovern or you could expect him to take an intercept mark. What I do agree with with you on is the contributions of Richmond's other defenders have been incredibly valuable. I spoke about this before, but Richmond's defence as a unit was exceptional and has been the club's foundation of strength. The gameplan did make Richmond's defence look even better, but still as a group, having Houli, having Vlastuin, Grimes, Astbury had some good years even. Jayden Short has been pretty good. Liam Baker when used back has been good. Nathan Broad even is capable. There hasn't ever been that weak link in Richmond's defence, and like a lot of those great teams past, whether it's Hawthorn, Geelong, Brisbane. Each of those teams had a complete defence, and for Richmond, it was that foundation of strength and in the conversation with Geelong in my view for the best defence in paper of those teams.

4. Clarko is the best coach probably in VFL/AFL history to be real. It's not just premierships and winning. But looking at how he developed guys who were drafted late/rookie who never should have been that good. Developing assistant coaches into head coaches and successful head coaches at a historic rate. Pretty much every year it has been either Clarko or one of his former assistants coaching teams to premierships. Following Clarko though, Hardwick probably is probably that next best coach of this generation and I view him favourably to Leigh as winning three premierships with a team that on paper isn't the most talented, but had such an incredible buy-in-to and execution of a gameplan, Hardwick has in my view at least most other coaches beat, at least based on what he helped Richmond do during that four year run.



In terms of winning finals, winning contested possessions matters and generally is decisive.

Richmond in each of their three Grand Final wins didn't lose the contested possession differential, despite during the H+A losing those counts more weeks than not. That's why Richmond during finals despite only in 2018 being the best team during the H+A as the minor premier and team with the highest % which is generally the best indicator of team strength of play, could win the three premierships. Put Dangerfield into Geelong's midfield in that 2020 Grand Final for more of the game, and the result I speculative would have gone the other way.

It's incredibly rare a team wins a premiership and loses the contested possession battle. West Coast in 2018 won the Grand Final but lost the contested possessions battle. Hawthorn in 2012 won the contested possessions battle but lost the Grand Final to Sydney. The Hawthorn in 2008 lost contested possessions but won the premiership v Geelong. They're the only three instances in the past 15 years.

What Richmond were right to recognise is - most scores come off the turnover, so Richmond's gameplan rightly was focused around maximising that. And it's a winning team focus and allowed Richmond to overachieve relative to the talent on the playing list. In a perfect world though, I'd be striving for something like that while achieving a midfield dominance at the same time. For this reason, I've been so positive towards what Melbourne have been doing because they bring the forward pressure and have the team commitment to it, they intercept behind the ball and they also have the midfield dominance all at the same time. If Melbourne's rebound from defence and capability of scoring off the turnover was on the level of those great Richmond teams, we'd be talking about an All-time level team. It's almost a shame, and people won't widely know his name yet, but Garrett McDonagh if Melbourne drafted him, that would have been an incredible enhancement to their back half as someone who for Melbourne could have been their Daniel Rich equivalent.
Great response, thanks for again chatting sensibly - it’s a disappointingly rare commodity of this forum but still highly valued by many of us away from the s***-slinging due to our pathological love of our footy clubs. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s plenty of room for the irrational banter on here too, as long as posters aren’t just being campaigners.

Just to address your responses.

1. Yeah ”individually brilliant” was excessive gushing on my part when referring to Castagna, Rioli and Butler. But I disagree on Butler being the best of the three throughout that era. He drifted in and out of form a little too frequently for our liking. Castagna’s tackling and corralling pressure was intense and his prime asset. That said, his erratic conversion around goal (or lack thereof!) was an ongoing frustration. Rioli’s first three years at Tigerland will always be very underrated. Yes, his 2020 GF was very poor - clearly had a bad night - and a fairly poor 2020-21 has definitely eaten away at his legacy and many punters’ memories of how damaging he was at his best.

2. I hate this excuse and I use it very sparingly and guardedly, but 2021 Cotchin was playing on heart alone. Only widespread absence from the rest of our senior midfielders - Prestia, Martin, Lambert - kept Cotchin off the extended injury list. Whatever the stats, prior to ‘21, his presence and leadership around contests was top tier. But yeah, he’s now a long way from the player of 2011-2018, and has probably acknowledged this personally by standing down as skipper. Smart move.

3. This is where I’ll disagree with your 4 responses. The only way you can judge Rance’s impact on so many footy matches was being at the ground. He owned entire halves of the field in a way I haven’t seen since Carey (who’s the best player I’ve seen, and who I would go to see play regularly despite having no emotional connection to North). I have to admit I only see McGovern in average 2 or 3 matches each year - I don’t really count seeing the Eagles on the telly if we’re making a genuine assessments of defenders. They often do their best work off-camera. I would got to st least a dozen Tigers matches each season so would watch Rance’s play in awe. I could go further about him and explain my logic and analysis of his impact further if you can bothered reading it? Otherwise your evaluation of the Tiger defensive structure is pretty spot on.

4. Yeah, Clarkson did create a juggernaut at Hawthorn, no doubt about it. I think Hardwick will also forever be regarded as inferior in comparison by scribes is due to the fact that he was Clarko’s apprentice at the Hawks for a few years. So in a way Clarkson gets even more kudos courtesy to Dimma’s achievements. He can seemingly never catch up.
 
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sr36

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What Richmond were right to recognise is - most scores come off the turnover, so Richmond's gameplan rightly was focused around maximising that. And it's a winning team focus and allowed Richmond to overachieve relative to the talent on the playing list.

Or alternatively your ratings are out due to over or underrating particular attributes. Intense pressure dominated and through having targetted pace they had the best list to play the style of footy that dominated.
 

dinnaz

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Great work as usual KM. We all love a list of player rankings, and being a midfielders draft this year had me thinking.
What order would you personally have midfielders (based on only junior performances)- taken 2016 draft onwards.
 

ArdentEagle

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As an Eagles supporter, I think that Rance is ahead of Gov (and probably behind too ;))
Intercept marking is great but your teammates have to do a lot of work off the ball to make it happen.

Rance owned his half, pretty much no matter what. Brilliant 1v1 (semi) modern player.
 

Knightmare

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Thanks KM

I'm sure that you can accept that tiger fans have some different opinions to you.

Overall i think you are fair. But in saying things like "Astbury had some good years even." can cause a lot of angst/problems with us who watch the club a lot. What I think is that you, and most others, judge the tigers by a 'normal' standard. Which is problematic as the tigers played (and hopefully return to playing) a style that is qualitatively different to other teams. So judging the team by stats and standards the team isn't trying to attain automatically makes the judgement that Richmond were not as good as the results showed. That is, I accept your judgement, but question to some extent the basis of that judgement - for Richmond 2017-2020.

I have no idea what Richmond fans thought of Astbury, I'm not a follower of what popular opinion of various players is, but I liked Astbury's play 2016-2019. Injury prone otherwise and struggled badly in 2021 where he was a liability, but my view is he was when healthy an asset to Richmond's back half. Does this differ from the view of Richmond fans?

While Richmond play a different style to most teams, Richmond like any other team win a greater % of their games when winning the contested possession or clearance count.

Even if we take out 2021 where some might suggest rule changes have impacted Richmond's winning chances.

If we look at 2017, Richmond lost 7 games. Only in one of those games did Richmond win contested possessions (a 3 point win v GWS in which Richmond were after 1/4 time outplayed).
Then from 18 won games, 11 of those games Richmond won contested possessions.

And if you break down any of those seasons, you'll see Richmond when on top in contested possessions achieve better results.

By no means is my suggestion Richmond need to win contested possession or clearances to win games of football. Richmond because of other areas of superiority (defence being one of the best ever put together) have been able to win despite this. My suggestion instead is that Richmond have done substantially better when they have, and it has also been a key to Richmond elevating their standard of play come finals time, as already illustrated when I went through Richmond's Grand Final wins - winning contested possession each time despite each season losing more contested possession differentials than winning.

With Richmond's midfield success in these key areas declining progressively and looking incredibly unhealthy, while I encourage Richmond to continue with their gameplan, what those numbers tell me is that it's unnecessarily hindering Richmond's chances of success in 2022 and going forward with substantial additions required before Richmond turn around those numbers.

Great response, thanks for again chatting sensibly - it’s a disappointingly rare commodity of this forum but still highly valued by many of us away from the s***-slinging due to our pathological love of our footy clubs. Don’t get me wrong though, there’s plenty of room for the irrational banter on here too, as long as posters aren’t just being campaigners.

Just to address your responses.

1. Yeah ”individually brilliant” was excessive gushing on my part when referring to Castagna, Rioli and Butler. But I disagree on Butler being the best of the three throughout that era. He drifted in and out of form a little too frequently for our liking. Castagna’s tackling and corralling pressure was intense and his prime asset. That said, his erratic conversion around goal (or lack thereof!) was an ongoing frustration. Rioli’s first three years at Tigerland will always be very underrated. Yes, his 2020 GF was very poor - clearly had a bad night - and a fairly poor 2020-21 has definitely eaten away at his legacy and many punters’ memories of how damaging he was at his best.

2. I hate this excuse and I use it very sparingly and guardedly, but 2021 Cotchin was playing on heart alone. Only widespread absence from the rest of our senior midfielders - Prestia, Martin, Lambert - kept Cotchin off the extended injury list. Whatever the stats, prior to ‘21, his presence and leadership around contests was top tier. But yeah, he’s now a long way from the player of 2011-2018, and has probably acknowledged this personally by standing down as skipper. Smart move.

3. This is where I’ll disagree with your 4 responses. The only way you can judge Rance’s impact on so many footy matches was being at the ground. He owned entire halves of the field in a way I haven’t seen since Carey (who’s the best player I’ve seen, and who I would go to see play regularly despite having no emotional connection to North). I have to admit I only see McGovern in average 2 or 3 matches each year - I don’t really count seeing the Eagles on the telly if we’re making a genuine assessments of defenders. They often do their best work off-camera. I would got to st least a dozen Tigers matches each season so would watch Rance’s play in awe. I could go further about him and explain my logic and analysis of his impact further if you can bothered reading it? Otherwise your evaluation of the Tiger defensive structure is pretty spot on.

4. Yeah, Clarkson did create a juggernaut at Hawthorn, no doubt about it. I think Hardwick will also forever be regarded as inferior in comparison by scribes is due to the fact that he was Clarko’s apprentice at the Hawks for a few years. So in a way Clarkson gets even more kudos courtesy to Dimma’s achievements. He can seemingly never catch up.

1. Hardwick will certainly agree with you on Castagna and Rioli over Butler. With small forwards, the keys are scoreboard impact and pressure. Butler hit the scoreboard slightly the better of the three, but for tackles, and I don't have any historic pressure act numbers, but Butler beats Castagna and Rioli out. Butler is less of a threat overhead and I agree with you on his play being hot/cold/patchy, which is how it often is with small forwards. As a fundamental, if you're a specialist forward and you're not at least good for a goal per game +, that shouldn't be considered best 22 calibre. Graham/Lambert/Baker are in my view the real 'big 3' in terms of the pressure applied and without pressure act stats should be those leading pieces towards that level of impact much more so than Castagna/Rioli/Butler and I could throw Townsend into that same limited role player category (albeit his late 2017 run really was something out of the box).

2. Cotchin in 2021 was misused out of necessity it felt like, due to the bad state Richmond's midfield was in. And injuries played a part. At his age/stage his best function in Richmond's midfield is as a more defensively minded midfielder. He can't freewheel like he could and be effective as he once was. He just can't cover the field, find the footy or hit the scoreboard anymore. He's still fine around contests and he's someone Richmond need for leadership and team culture reasons to retain for as long as possible. It's just at this stage about finding a way to almost find a role for him so that he can remain a part of the team.

3. Rance's career progression was early career he was as much of a liability by foot as I'd seen with ball in hand, to a great stopper who could intercept, to eventually a growing intercepting focus with less emphasis on defence. For key defenders, many will have Jakovich, Silvagni, Scarlett, Rance and maybe Andrews in some order as the best key defenders from the AFL era. I'm not going to tell you Rance doesn't belong in that conversation. What I will say is people forget Jeremy McGovern and Brian Lake, and for the way they respectively impact games, McGovern taking away that bail-out kick i50 and disallowing any high balls, and Lake turning what felt like just about every 1v1 marking contested into a 1v1 intercept mark, as team defence concepts become more sophisticated and the emphasis turns even further towards favouring intercept marking key defenders, they're the two I'd prioritise having in my defence with a Scarlett an ideal third tall to complement them. If a McGovern was on Richmond during those premiership years, and Rance's career was cut short and he wasn't there for the latter two premierships, but I'd back McGovern even had Rance not gotten hurt to be the more influential - with his intercept marking on a Richmond to have only been supercharged as there would be so much more pressured ball going i50 which is what McGovern eats for breakfast - which would further have enhanced Richmond's scoring off turnover game.

4. I don't see Clarkson v Hardwick as a fair comparison. Hardwick isn't the only premiership coach Clarkson produced. He also produced Beveridge (2016 flag), Simpson (2018 flag). Simon Goodwin last year broke the chain of Clarkson associated premierships, with the last non Clarkson associated premiership being 2012 with Sydney's premiership. Hardwick has both premierships as a coach and assistant coaches to develop to make it a conversation between he and Clarkson as the best of this generation of coaches. Nonetheless, Hardwick deserves full credit for being an innovator in his own right, and getting so much out of a playing group that no one prior to the premierships would have seen as a flag chance, let alone a dynasty.

Or alternatively your ratings are out due to over or underrating particular attributes. Intense pressure dominated and through having targetted pace they had the best list to play the style of footy that dominated.

My meaning of teams over/underachieving comes down to the idea of some teams having better chemistry and buy-in as a collective group to a game plan or system of play.

This is a common feature of a lot of the teams we look back in hindsight as being great.

And having those components on top of from a game plan perspective, a superior approach to their play. With pressuring to create intercepting opportunities and then score off the turnover. It was masterful coaching in combination with leadership starting from Cotchin who as a leader from 2017 became that next most influential towards creating positive change to Hodge.

Great work as usual KM. We all love a list of player rankings, and being a midfielders draft this year had me thinking.
What order would you personally have midfielders (based on only junior performances)- taken 2016 draft onwards.

I can put together a quick top tier of 5 including: Bailey Smith, Sam Walsh, Matt Rowell, Jason Horne-Francis and Nick Daicos are that top group from those years.

Horne-Francis, Daicos, Rowell, Smith then Walsh is probably my order. Horne-Francis for what he did at SANFL League level. He was at state league level over that last month the competition's premier player and most influential, also playing the best League final I've seen by any junior. Daicos going for 36d/2g per game in NAB League while it's a short season none of the other Victorians on performance can match. Rowell with the two B.O.G's in Grand Finals, the last ever TAC Cup and first ever NAB League, he and JHF are freaks on the big stage. Smith I slightly liked to Walsh, but both and we all know well by now at AFL level are machines.

McCluggage, McGrath, Taranto, Rayner, LDU, Dow, Cerra, Anderson, Green and Phillips would be that next half tier down in no particular order.

As an Eagles supporter, I think that Rance is ahead of Gov (and probably behind too ;))
Intercept marking is great but your teammates have to do a lot of work off the ball to make it happen.

Rance owned his half, pretty much no matter what. Brilliant 1v1 (semi) modern player.

They're certainly different. Rance was great 1v1, a great stopper and great for intercept possessions broadly. I'm not here to take credit away from his career performance. They're both great. Rance did more things well and impacted games in more ways.

What I love with McGovern is while limited with the number of way he impacts games, he is on a higher level of dominance at what he does. I'm also of the view, and I've had many lively discussions in this thread on this topic, that the primary function of key defenders is and will further rotate towards being dominant intercept marks and contested marks. I've been saying it for a few years now, and we saw historic intercept mark numbers from key defenders in 2021, and by a long way historic. It's like how 3 pointers in the NBA have exploded and kept trending up at a rapid pace over the years, clubs are now recognising the value of using key defenders as intercept marking weapons. And along this train of thought, there has never in the history of the competition been a contested marking force like McGovern in defence. If there is a high ball, he's attacking it like a key forward and ultimately taking it. It doesn't matter who else is going for it. He seems to have the gift of reading the eyes of opposition players where before they even kick the ball he knows where it's going, to supercharge his powerful contested/intercept marking gifts.

Team defence will allow key defenders increasingly greater freedom to dominate as contested/intercept marking forces. You'll have midfielders working hard back to fill the spaces left behind and greater sophistication of zone defences that don't rely on such close checking defence as we've seen in generations past. It's the way the game is evolving. Lots more switching, greater freedom for those with the relevant gifts to back themselves in situations they can turn defence into offence.
 

Rich01

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Or alternatively your ratings are out due to over or underrating particular attributes. Intense pressure dominated and through having targetted pace they had the best list to play the style of footy that dominated.
Yep.
I love the dedication KM has and him sharing his thoughts. It’s much appreciated.

However, if you look at his power rankings in previous years, it’s a pretty average ranking list most years when you look back on it. It’s a really tough thing to get right.

So him judging a teams recruiting and drafting based on his thoughts is just that, and it’s been shown that there is no correlation between his view and the players output in a team system several years later.

Best just to take a persons view with a grain of salt. He sure watches more junior football than I do and I enjoy reading his commentary on prospects along with other draft watchers then forming my own views.
 

sr36

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Yep.
I love the dedication KM has and him sharing his thoughts. It’s much appreciated.

However, if you look at his power rankings in previous years, it’s a pretty average ranking list most years when you look back on it. It’s a really tough thing to get right.

So him judging a teams recruiting and drafting based on his thoughts is just that, and it’s been shown that there is no correlation between his view and the players output in a team system several years later.

Best just to take a persons view with a grain of salt. He sure watches more junior football than I do and I enjoy reading his commentary on prospects along with other draft watchers then forming my own views.
I'm not trying to be critical of KM. I'm more just of the view that they had the best list. Huge number of super quick players who used their pace to cause turnovers and then transition quicker than any other team could, and most of them could run with the footy and use it. Sure you can claim that some other clubs had a larger group of more complete footballers, but that group wasn't as quick, thus they couldn't apply as much pressure or transition as quickly - thus they weren't as good at playing the style of footy that was dominant.

Basically, as game style changes so too do the attributes that make a player valuable and Tiges recruiters we're ahead of the curve, they targeted pace and were the first club to move away from the silliness of passing on that bloke who is quick and skillful, but only 177cms tall - thus they had a heap of late hits in the draft.
 
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Knightmare

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I'm not trying to be critical of KM. I'm more just of the view that they had the best list. Huge number of super quick players who used their pace to cause turnovers and then transition quicker than any other team could, and most of them could run with the footy and use it. Sure you can claim that some other clubs had a larger group of more complete footballers, but that group wasn't as quick, thus they couldn't apply as much pressure or transition as quickly - thus they weren't as good at playing the style of footy that was dominant.

Basically, as game style changes so too do the attributes that make a player valuable and Tiges recruiters we're ahead of the curve, they targeted pace and were the first club to move away from the silliness of passing on that bloke who is quick and skillful, but only 177cms tall - thus they had a heap of late hits in the draft.

Richmond's concentration of great smalls has been curious. Sub 180cm Lambert, Short, Baker, Prestia and Bolton each are very good pieces.

Lambert and Baker as mature agers, Prestia from Gold Coast, then Bolton and Short as juniors through the draft.

What I can credit Richmond's recruiters for is not having the blindspots of other recruiters. Whether it's age (Richmond drafted Marlion Pickett at age 27/28 - other clubs don't recruit mature agers 25+ normally) and have taken other mature agers at an above average frequency or height or lackthereof with these really good smalls. By not following the grain in those respects, it has enabled Richmond by not having those blindspots to hit at an above average rate when looking at where their mature agers and smalls have been taken v other players taken in similar ranges.
 

sr36

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Richmond's concentration of great smalls has been curious. Sub 180cm Lambert, Short, Baker, Prestia and Bolton each are very good pieces.
Then throw in Ellis, Castagna, Rioli, Houli, Edwards who might have been an inch or two taller - but all below 6 foot. Pretty much half their team was below 6 foot. Meanwhile some other clubs seemed to be viewing those heights as undesirable.
 

Knightmare

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Then throw in Ellis, Castagna, Rioli, Houli, Edwards who might have been an inch or two taller - but all below 6 foot. Pretty much half their team was below 6 foot. Meanwhile some other clubs seemed to be viewing those heights as undesirable.

Houli was excellent during those contending years and Edwards is/was another high level piece who also meaningfully impacted winning during those contending years.

Ellis, Castagna and Rioli I can't say I have that same level of respect for the games of. Ellis gives you a high volume of empty possessions, there is a reason he was in/out of Richmond's best-22. Castagna and Rioli are both limited pressure forwards who don't hit the scoreboard at a sufficient level. They're guys in each of their respective positions I'd be looking to find someone who can do a lot more for me. I wouldn't be saying anything about the long term prospects of Castagna or Rioli with a high degree of confidence, with Richmond now looking at Rioli in defence with his play up forward not being up to scratch.

There is a substantial difference in quality between Houli/Edwards/Lambert/Short/Baker/Prestia/Bolton and Ellis/Castagna/Rioli. That first group top-10 on list calibre type pieces who would be easily top-15 on any team. Castagna/Rioli/Ellis, and Ellis is gone so he's not as relevant to this point, but they're guys I'd have on the trade block and be looking to upgrade upon.
 

sr36

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I wasn't trying to suggest that Ellis, Rioli and Castagna are in the same class. Just pointing out that whilst some other teams were seemingly trying to recruit to have a side exclusively 6 foot plus, Tiges were winning flags with half their team under 6 foot.

In terms of those Richmond small forwards - they don't appear to be much chop, but what they had was pace and they used it to get to more ground balls and apply more turnovers from pressure than any other teams small forwards. They just kept the ball alive and made it really hard for defenders to clear the area. I think you're underselling what they brought to those premiership teams.
 

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Knightmare

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I wasn't trying to suggest that Ellis, Rioli and Castagna are in the same class. Just pointing out that whilst some other teams were seemingly trying to recruit to have a side exclusively 6 foot plus, Tiges were winning flags with half their team under 6 foot.

In terms of those Richmond small forwards - they don't appear to be much chop, but what they had was pace and they used it to get to more ground balls and apply more turnovers from pressure than any other teams small forwards. They just kept the ball alive and made it really hard for defenders to clear the area. I think you're underselling what they brought to those premiership teams.

This will go against popular perception, but Castagna as a forward isn't on the level people hype him up to be defensively.

He certainly applies himself to that side of the game. But with pressure being his the function he is supposed to serve, for his career, and I'm sure this will surprise people, but he rates only average for both tackles and pressure acts by position. In 2021 he was again in both categories in that average range.

If we look at Rioli, and he provides even less scoreboard impact, he's at least in the above average category for tackles and pressure acts.

Dan Butler who I spoke about earlier as a superior alternative by contrast rates elite both in 2021 and for his career in tackles, tackles i50 and pressure acts by position. None of which can be said of Castagna or Rioli.

And if you're looking at tackles i50 Castagna last season again was just in that average category.

When we're looking at pressure acts. It's Jack Graham, Liam Baker and Kane Lambert in particular who should be seen as the heroes for Richmond as those uber elite pressure act players by position who in those parts of games impacted for Richmond more heavily than anyone else. Butler even for Richmond was exceptional for pressure acts/tackles/tackles i50 and the stats say even then elite, and continuing at an elite level for St Kilda in those categories.
 

Rich01

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Dan Butler who I spoke about earlier as a superior alternative by contrast rates elite both in 2021 and for his career in tackles, tackles i50 and pressure acts by position. None of which can be said of Castagna or Rioli.

Yep. Looks like his role or his ability to hit the scoreboard changed dramatically from 20 to 21. Interesting many people see 2020 as his career year even though he was more effective as a defensive forward (not counting scoring) in 2021.
 

Knightmare

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Yep. Looks like his role or his ability to hit the scoreboard changed dramatically from 20 to 21. Interesting many people see 2020 as his career year even though he was more effective as a defensive forward (not counting scoring) in 2021.

Butler was definitely better in 2020 than 2021.

He hit the scoreboard at the best rate of his career but his tackles and pressure acts were even higher than this year on a per minute basis. Still elite for tackles and pressure acts in 2021, but lack of scoreboard impact in 2021 takes away the shine substantially, and rightly. If you're a pure forward and pushing through the midfield, you need to be hitting the scoreboard as a primary function.
 

sr36

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This will go against popular perception, but Castagna as a forward isn't on the level people hype him up to be defensively.

He certainly applies himself to that side of the game. But with pressure being his the function he is supposed to serve, for his career, and I'm sure this will surprise people, but he rates only average for both tackles and pressure acts by position. In 2021 he was again in both categories in that average range.

If we look at Rioli, and he provides even less scoreboard impact, he's at least in the above average category for tackles and pressure acts.

Dan Butler who I spoke about earlier as a superior alternative by contrast rates elite both in 2021 and for his career in tackles, tackles i50 and pressure acts by position. None of which can be said of Castagna or Rioli.

And if you're looking at tackles i50 Castagna last season again was just in that average category.

When we're looking at pressure acts. It's Jack Graham, Liam Baker and Kane Lambert in particular who should be seen as the heroes for Richmond as those uber elite pressure act players by position who in those parts of games impacted for Richmond more heavily than anyone else. Butler even for Richmond was exceptional for pressure acts/tackles/tackles i50 and the stats say even then elite, and continuing at an elite level for St Kilda in those categories.

Where I think the stat comparisons fail is that you're comparing players from different teams with different game plans. Tigers attacked and defended forward 50 with a wave of players streaming through. So individuals aren't going to get the same stats as the teams who rely on dedicated defensive forwards who continually position themselves to be the central point of the forward 50 pressure.
 

eggtardo

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This is interesting.
Castagna (and others) bought chaos. Unpredictable. The tigers thrived on this. I'm not sure stats measure this as nobody knows what the hell he or others would do.
Not saying he is a good player... it's just how they operated, tap on, kick off the ground, dive forward, handball blind and punch the ball on.
I can see how a melb who replicate the energy but have a more polished list could thrive.
 

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