Analysis Lynch the final piece in Tigers’ new premiership puzzle

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Eight reasons: Lynch the final piece in Tigers’ new premiership puzzle

https://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/...e/news-story/e3c8572e45c9eff780df289a0b1410b6

With Jack Riewoldt and his mosquito fleet, Richmond boasted the best attack in the AFL last season. This year they added one of the best big forwards in the game in Tom Lynch. Will he take them to another flag?

CHRIS CAVANAGH takes a look how everything is falling into place at Punt Rd ahead of season 201.

EIGHT REASONS FOR RICHMOND TO GET EXCITED

LYNCHPIN

The biggest player movement story of 2018 was undoubtedly where Gold Coast Suns co-captain Tom Lynch was going to play his football next season and there was seriously hot competition for his signature. Lynch eventually landed at the Tigers through free agency in a move that could prove massive for the 2017 premiers. In 2016, Lynch kicked 66 goals from 22 games in a Suns team that won six games. On a wider sample size, the 199cm key forward has kicked over 40 goals in four of the past five seasons, excluding 2018 when he played just 10 games before rupturing his PCL. Before the 2017 season, former Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton declared Lynch the “best player in the comp”. If the 26-year-old can return to fitness and top form, his impact at Richmond will be huge.


POWER FORWARDS

Tom Lynch isn’t the only talented forward set to feature in the Richmond attack next season, with Champion Data ranking the Tigers’ forward line the most talented in the competition. While Richmond came out at No. 3 overall in the best list rankings, the likes of Jack Riewoldt, Josh Caddy, Dan Butler, Daniel Rioli and Jack Higgins — in addition to Lynch — create a powerful line-up on paper at the attacking end. How the addition of Lynch impacts the dynamic remains to be seen, but with Riewoldt (70 goals) and Caddy (46 goals) coming off huge years it is a scary prospect just how damaging the Tigers could be.


Daniel Rioli could well be the Tigers’ most important player. Picture: AAP
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MOSQUITO FLEET

Daniel Rioli, Dan Butler and Jason Castagna became known as the ‘Mosquito Fleet’ in the Richmond forward line in 2017, with their pressure, tackling and goalkicking ability key to the club’s push towards the premiership. However, injuries meant the trio played just three games together in 2018. Rioli (broken foot) did not get on the field until Round 13 and Butler (ankle) did not feature again after Round 16. The three players contributed a combined 57 goals and 160 tackles last season, well down on 2017 when they accumulated 81 goals and 243 tackles. If they can stay fit next season, the Tigers will be very well placed.


FAIR FIXTURE

Considering it finished atop of the ladder in 2018, Richmond appears to have got lucky with its fixture next season. Champion Data rates it the sixth-easiest fixture of any side, with double-up matches against Collingwood, Melbourne, Greater Western Sydney, Port Adelaide and Carlton. Contrast that to last season’s fixture with had the Tigers play double-up games against Adelaide, Geelong, Essendon, St Kilda and Collingwood in what was deemed the second-hardest draw.


MCG GAMES

The 22-game winning streak at the MCG is over thanks to Collingwood’s stunning preliminary final performance. But the fact still stands that the Tigers have won 27 of 30 matches at the home football since 2017, an extraordinary record. Richmond defends the MCG better than any other side, having conceded an average of just 67.7 points a game at the venue over that period. While there are only 13 MCG games for the club in 2019 — one less than last season — Damien Hardwick’s men play their last seven games at the venue in what should be a very handy lead-in to an expected September appearance.


Dion Prestia looms as a key figure in Richmond’s 2019 season. Picture: Mark Stewart



MORE PRESTIA

Such a key part of the push to the 2017 premiership, midfielder Dion Prestia struggled to stay fit in 2018 as he managed just 13 of 24 games due to calf, rib and hamstring injuries. The 26-year-old is the third-best clearance player at the Tigers behind Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin, having averaged 4.61 a game last season. He also finished second behind Martin for average disposals at the club, logging 24.1 a game. Richmond is well aware of Prestia’s importance and will be carefully managing him in a bid to ensure he plays more football in 2019.


BAD NIGHT

Richmond really didn’t do a lot wrong in 2018, its failure to win back-to-back flags largely coming down to one bad night against Collingwood in the preliminary final. The Tigers had beaten the Magpies twice during the regular season and overcame every other finalist at least once during the year except for Greater Western Sydney (two points) and West Coast (47 points). Overall the club went 19-5 and has lost only one player who featured in more than seven games — Reece Conca (Fremantle) — over the off-season. All that gives plenty of reason for optimism about next season.


MAGIC MARTIN

An X-Factor player of the highest order, all eyes will be on Dustin Martin and what he can produce again next season. The 2017 Brownlow Medalist was at times a touch off last season and had a calf issue mid-year which saw him miss one game in Round 12 and appear not quite right in a couple of other matches. Overall, Martin averaged 4.1 less disposals, kicked six fewer goals and polled 17 less Brownlow Medal votes than 2017. However, still just 27 years old, Martin has plenty of good football left in front of him and the Tigers will be looking to him to take his game to another level again next season.


Any side that features Brownlow Medal champion Dustin Martin is going to figure prominently in September calculations. Picture: Michael Klein



THE NUMBER: 1

The inclusion of Tom Lynch has only improved the Tigers forward line, who clearly rated the best in the competition. They will be hoping some of their middle-tier midfielders can go to another level in 2019 to improve their midfield rating.

Source: CHAMPION DATA

■ TAB ODDS
Premiership: $5
Top-8: $1.18
Most losses: $501


■ TRAJECTORY
2014: 8th (12-10, elimination final)
2015: 5th (15-7, elimination final)
2016: 13th (8-14)
2017: 3rd (15-7, premiers)
2018: 1st (18-4, preliminary final)
 

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tora tora tora

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#2
Best defence in the league. 'Most talented attack.' I was thinking start 2019 playing either Castagana or Butler . Maybe it should be all 3 (Rioli) again. Their numbers look good. Maybe Round 1 will be Lynch & Butler IN, Conca & JGraham OUT

David Astbury, Alex Rance,Dylan Grimes

Jayden Short, Nick Vlastuin, Nathan Broad

Shaun Grigg, Trent Cotchin, Jack Higgins

Daniel Rioli, Shane Edwards, Lynch

Jack Riewoldt, , Josh Caddy Butler

Toby Nankervis, Dion Prestia Dustin Martin

Jason Castagna, Bachar Houli, Kamdyn McIntosh, Kane Lambert,
 
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#5
Best defence in the league. 'Most talented attack.' I was thinking start 2019 playing either Castagana or Butler . Maybe it should be all 3 (Rioli) again. Their numbers look good. Maybe Round 1 will be Lynch & Butler IN, Conca & JGraham OUT

David Astbury, Alex Rance,Dylan Grimes

Jayden Short, Nick Vlastuin, Nathan Broad

Shaun Grigg, Trent Cotchin, Jack Higgins

Daniel Rioli, Shane Edwards, Lynch

Jack Riewoldt, , Josh Caddy Butler

Toby Nankervis, Dion Prestia Dustin Martin

Jason Castagna, Bachar Houli, Kamdyn McIntosh, Kane Lambert,
Great side. Love how you put Lynch at HFF and kept Sheds at CHF!!

edit.. Just realised no Graham. George or McIntosh to make way?
 

Marcel Proust

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#6
I keep thinking we are short 1 more gun midfielder , Hoping somebody has a break out year
Martin,Cotchin,Prestia,Lambert,Edwards
hoping Caddy,Graham,Rioli or maybe one of the new draftee's has a great 1st year Ross or English most likely
If we had better defenders, id like to see Vlastuin in the guts. In recent times he has looked very good midfeild and forward IMO.

Problem is, even Houli and Short are questionable at times, let alone the guys outside of the 22; Ellis, Markov, Naish. moving Vlastuin away from the backline is too dangerous because he is a key piece of it.

Realistically itll have to be Higgins, Rioli, Caddy as you say and hopefully Graham gets over his injury and takes it to the next level.

Currently Grigg and Mcintosh are substandard; we can carry them most games but against the best teams they get found out too often - another quality mid would be ideal.

2mums being good early would be handy
 

tora tora tora

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#9
Great side. Love how you put Lynch at HFF and kept Sheds at CHF!!

edit.. Just realised no Graham. George or McIntosh to make way?
I'm only talking about Round 1. Graham not fit to play.
Sheds wanted to keep his spot as CHF. Lynch will have to play on the flank for a while. Until he earns his stripes. Our midfield is the area that needs improving. Grigg and Kmac could be improved on. But has Grigg ever been dropped?
 

Roachy8

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#10
I keep thinking we are short 1 more gun midfielder , Hoping somebody has a break out year
Martin,Cotchin,Prestia,Lambert,Edwards
hoping Caddy,Graham,Rioli or maybe one of the new draftee's has a great 1st year Ross or English most likely
Higgins?
Spent some time in the centre square late last year and I reckon he will join the regular rotations there.
Looks more an onballer than a forward flanker to me.
 

Dr Tigris

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#11
Higgins?
Spent some time in the centre square late last year and I reckon he will join the regular rotations there.
Looks more an onballer than a forward flanker to me.
Higgins looked adman good mid late in 2018. He's looking amazing in the preseason. Reckon he'll just move straight into the midfield and play good minutes and do well. (Maybe I am biased but I have a huge man crush on Higgo - reckon he's the goods.)
 

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THE_GUN

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#12
Higgins?
Spent some time in the centre square late last year and I reckon he will join the regular rotations there.
Looks more an onballer than a forward flanker to me.
I was bound to miss one of the midgets out , Yes i do like Higgins and did like his game even as a junior and always thought he is a midfielder than just a small foward
He is 1 player that has the ability to become a 25+ possession player.

My only doubts (not a major doubt) is how will he cope with close attention as well as slight doubts about his pace but we have seen players with limited pace play to the highest level provide they have the ball instinct which he looks to have at this early stage. Hope he kills it in 2019
 

Jonesracing82

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#13
Higgins?
Spent some time in the centre square late last year and I reckon he will join the regular rotations there.
Looks more an onballer than a forward flanker to me.
Really like Higgins as a mid, has great hands in traffic, much like Prestia
 
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#15
Am i the only one that wants to see us off the papers now and just get our heads down and arses up for a big year? I know we got Lynch, in fact, the whole world knows we got him. I don't want to read another thing about him until a R1 preview. And yes, I am already #ECI for a big year.
 

DontArgue4

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#17
Higgins?
Spent some time in the centre square late last year and I reckon he will join the regular rotations there.
Looks more an onballer than a forward flanker to me.
Read somewhere we won something like 80% of centre clearances when he was in there
 

tigerdan

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#19
Read the Hawks write up today. It's pumping up their tyres but there's not much to take out of it except the got Scully for nothing. Given that almost every other club could have trumped that trade and didn't says he'll struggle to get on the ground.

Re: Lynch, we have to now be favourites for the flag. I hope the brains trust spent the off season working how to counter tall key forwards, because that's the only reason why were are unfortunately not going for a threepeat right now. Yes things can go wrong with injuries, but which team improved their list better than ours in the off season?

I think we are a lock for top two spot at the end of H&A.
 

THE_GUN

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#20
Why is it that i feel that we are 1 beast inside midfielder short of where i want us to be, Why the Farq did francis Jackson have to select Ben Lemon instead of patrick Cripps
 

Rodney Dangerfield

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#22
Myself I just feel it might be a season too late as far as premiership success goes. If we had him last year we win it although mind you he was injured anyway.
This season I just think we will drop back a few notches as the field catch up, game changes, one Ruck still and a midfield depth in quality that probably lacks a bit comparing to some others particularly if some injuries occur for which seems inevitable.
I was very blasé about the prelim loss last season but upon reflection that really was the one that got away and won’t see another chance like that for a while.
Hope Lynch stays fit and plays well but I can see us finishing 5-8 and maybe winning a final.
 

Dr Tigris

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#23
Why is it that i feel that we are 1 beast inside midfielder short of where i want us to be, Why the Farq did francis Jackson have to select Ben Lemon instead of patrick Cripps
Let's see what Higgins and Jack Graham do in 2019. If Graham can get his hands on he ball more he's that monster mid.

Higgo is a solid as, and a great natural footballer. He looks amazing in pre season photos. And his end to 2018 had him midfield much more and he thrived. I can see our contested ball winning increasing with those 2 improving.

And, of course, Tom Lynch frees some of Caddy and Dusty's time up to play midfield. So there's more there as well.

Overall, I reckon we'd better wait a little before thinking our midfield is down on competitors in 2019. I can easily make a glass half full argument that it will improve a lot this year. Maybe I just did that :)
 

ivansarmy

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#24
Why is it that i feel that we are 1 beast inside midfielder short of where i want us to be, Why the Farq did francis Jackson have to select Ben Lemon instead of patrick Cripps
Or Fyfe over Griffiths. But there is no point looking at it that way, if we had Fyfe or Cripps we probably wouldn’t have been able to keep Dusty and Tom Lynch would be at Collingwood next year. Things have worked out very well for us we have elite players in all areas of the ground, West Coast are the only other team that I think can say that.
 

Marcel Proust

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#25
Myself I just feel it might be a season too late as far as premiership success goes. If we had him last year we win it although mind you he was injured anyway.
This season I just think we will drop back a few notches as the field catch up, game changes, one Ruck still and a midfield depth in quality that probably lacks a bit comparing to some others particularly if some injuries occur for which seems inevitable.
I was very blasé about the prelim loss last season but upon reflection that really was the one that got away and won’t see another chance like that for a while.
Hope Lynch stays fit and plays well but I can see us finishing 5-8 and maybe winning a final.

Interesting perspective.

Caddy, Lambert, Broad, BEllis, Prestia, Townsend, Mcintosh, Nankervis, Vlastuin, Butler Castagna, Rioli & Graham

all have a lot of improvement left in them and are premiership players; not only is Lynch good at football he also feels a big need. With a few tweaks in the side the game plan and some good luck Im confident more flags can be won, its not too late imo
 
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