Analysis Richmond has become home of the list-clogger, writes David King

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THE THIN MAN

🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆🏆
Jan 7, 2010
9,172
25,303
AFL Club
Richmond
AN ADDICTION to recruiting hand-me-down talent has turned Richmond into the home of the list-clogger, writes David King. Will anyone take responsibility?

DENIS Pagan’s poignant statements consistently spring to mind when assessing the football fortunes and failures of players, clubs and administrators.
“You get what you deserve in AFL footy”, he would say, which rings so true right now for the Richmond Football Club.

So who is to blame? This week Richmond’s general manager of football effectively apportioned blame at their loyal, tormented and tortured fans who apparently wouldn’t accept an “eight-year rebuild”.

My god, haven’t they been through enough?

I wonder how forgiving they’ll be with the new plan, one that needs to start sooner rather than later.

What time frame will that operate under and who will they trust to oversee that process?

The same people who have now run the club into this talent capped dead-end?

Footy manager Dan Richardson wasn’t part of the Richmond management structure at that stage so maybe that message is the thoughts of others who’ve held positions of influence, but at what point was that plan to be usurped by a more modern, national draft based approach to secure and develop their own stars?

Richmond for an extended period of time has made decisions based on making the finals, not winning premierships. The oversupply and addiction to obtain hand-me-down talent who’s football DNA is already known. It has backfired and stamps Punt Rd as the home of the list clogger.

The question is who plotted this course? Surely Blair Hartley as list manager doesn’t have carte blanche over the profile of the list.

Is it Damien Hardwick who decides Richmond requires a Jacob Townsend or Matt Thomas as a big-bodied midfielder to support Trent Cotchin?

Who did the research on Chris “cherry on top” Yarran? Are they working to a premiership list profile?
If they truly want to support the captain then surround him with talent that can actually play! Talent that can impact games. Characters that can lead when the game demands and talent that can lessen the load on Trent, Brett Deledio, Alex Rance and Jack Riewoldt.

The off-field staff have failed Hardwick miserably. At the national draft they’ve selected safe first-round selections over the past six or seven years.

Reece Conca with pick No. 6 in 2010, when Josh Caddy, Dyson Heppell, Dion Prestia and Tom Lynch were taken with four of the next five selections.

Ben Lennon at pick 12, the selection before clearance beast Patrick Cripps and the challenged but highly talented Cameron McCarthy.

Brandon Ellis accumulates statistics without impacting games and at what stage will Nick Vlastuin step into the midfield and become a key member at Tigerland?

Outside of the first round the Tigers have struggled to find a Luke Parker at pick 40, Rory Sloane pick 44 or Dan Hannebery with selection 30.

The excuse that two new franchises have stolen the lion’s share of the talent pool is plausible but shouldn’t have committed Richmond to mature, and limited, talent.

Jarryd Lyons at pick 61, Rory Atkins with pick 81 and Rory Laird (not even selected in the nation draft of 2012, having come via the rookie list), highlight the Adelaide Crows’ vision and precision.

Talent acquisition has proven a disappointment. They failed to nab Dan Hannebery, David Armitage and Adam Treloar over the past three seasons after considered and aggressive campaigns.

As early as 2011, Hardwick regularly stated throughout post-match press conferences that “the easy thing to do is top up with talent that’s not quite there” as he did after the Essendon 39-point loss in Round 16, ensuring that there would be no quick fix.

In fact, his wording was “no short cuts”.

But Richmond never trusted itself to commit to the slow rebuild. Someone in a position of influence never quite endorsed the recruiting department to pick the eyes out of the nation’s youth.

Who was that person? Only Brendon Gale and Dan Richardson could answer that question.

After winning 14 home-and-away games in 2015 I thought the top four was on the radar and with only minimal improvement required, Chris Yarran may just be enough.

Last week Mark Robinson joined myself in the “Victims of Tigerland” group that has chewed up and spat out so many, stating that Hardwick was to be considered a coaching genius.

Damien Hardwick has shown he can coach.

Over the past two to three seasons the Tigers have changed tack regarding ball movement and played personnel in different zones.

The magnets have been shuffled and shuffled and the players have responded to Hardwick’s motivation and corrected poor patches of form. But the game now demands slick and efficient ball movement.

Will he coach that way or revert back to the tried and true slow method which has ultimately failed in September?

Richmond heavyweights Gary March, Craig Cameron and Brendon Gale flank new coach Damien Hardwick on his appointment in 2009.

Richmond heavyweights Gary March, Craig Cameron and Brendon Gale flank new coach Damien Hardwick on his appointment in 2009.

The problem Gale and his merry men have in the short term is that all involved at Richmond now feel redundant.

Mature-aged players would believe they have 16 weeks remaining before their papers are stamped. Brendon Lade, among other assistant coaches, is continually named as part of the problem by those who know.

They will be fattening their CVs as we speak.

It’s a situation that requires strong leadership and genuine honesty.

We will all watch and listen to the spokespeople for the Richmond Football Club and witness just what the next move will be.

Over to you Dan, Brendon and Damien.

And just one word of advice on behalf of the Richmond fans.

Take as long as you like — just get it right.

 

THE THIN MAN

🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆🏆
Jan 7, 2010
9,172
25,303
AFL Club
Richmond
Mark Robinson wrote 17 months ago that Richmond had problems, but Damien Hardwick can coach

RICHMOND was in a world of pain in April last season, but when Mark Robinson assessed the Tigers he came to a surprising conclusion.

SUDDENLY, Damien Hardwick can’t coach.

If that’s the case, and it’s surely not, it can also be said neither can Ross Lyon at Fremantle.

Lyon is 0-5 and Hardwick 1-4, and the commentary is not so much to kick them to the kerb, but to ask why both Fremantle and Richmond offered their coaches contract extensions.

The knee-jerk reaction has been typically staggering.

Hardwick can coach.

He might not have the full battery of support staff, and development might be internally questioned, and recruiting under query — which always happens in big-time professional sport when expectations aren’t met — but Hardwick can coach.

In fact, he might be a genius coach, depending on how you judge coaching.

Hardwick took over a club in crisis after the 2009 season. Richmond was $5 million in debt, in the previous three seasons it had won three, 11 and five matches, and Gold Coast and then Greater Western Sydney were double, triple and quadruple-dipping at the ensuing national drafts.

The best youngsters were scarce, and not just for Richmond, so Hardwick had no alternative but to go searching for experience.

Damien Hardwick gets his point across. Picture: Wayne Ludbey


In his first draft, 2009, Hardwick went for youth — Dustin Martin (No. 3), Ben Griffiths (19), David Astbury (35), Matt Dea (44), Troy Taylor (51) and Ben Nason (71), promoted Robin Nahas from the rookie list and took Dylan Grimes in the pre-season draft.

The Tigers lost their first nine matches in 2010 and then six from 13 coming home.

They needed mature bodies, a draft strategy they have never really abandoned because there’s always hope a player here, a player there and general improvement might get it done.

From 2010-15, the Tigers brought in Bachar Houli, Shaun Grigg, Steven Morris, Ivan Maric, Chris Knights, Troy Chaplin, Aaron Edwards, Shaun Hampson, Anthony Miles, Taylor Hunt and, at the end of last season, Andrew Moore, Jacob Townsend and Chris Yarran.

At the drafts, they tried to keep their first and second-round picks. They recruited Reece Conca and Jake Batchelor (2010), Brandon Ellis and Todd Elton (2011), Nick Vlastuin, Kamdyn McIntosh and Liam McBean (2012), Ben Lennon (2013), Corey Ellis and Connor Menadue (2014) and Daniel Rioli (2015).

They spun the dice at the rookie table as well with more bigger bodies. Brad Miller, Tom Hislop, Ricky Petterd, Sam Lonergan, Orren Stephenson, Matt Thomas and Nathan Gordon were all given second chances.

Hardwick took the club to three consecutive finals campaigns with an initially battered list, propped up with recruits who weren’t wanted by their original clubs, one top-rated draft pick (Martin) and two maybes (Brandon Ellis, Vlastuin) and a handful of rookies who must have thought it was Christmas Day when their names were called out.

On top of them were Jack Riewoldt, Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio, Alex Rance and Chris Newman — their best players — and solid campaigners in Daniel Jackson (albeit a best-and-fairest winner), Shane Tuck, Jake King and Ty Vickery.

Hardwick cobbled together this mishmash of players and by 2013 — in just three seasons — had the team playing finals, only to beaten by Carlton by five goals after leading by five goals at halftime. In hindsight, that 2013 squad was the best Hardwick had in front of him.

He followed up with two more September finishes.

Let’s make that comment again: Hardwick could be a genius.

Now to 2016.

Hardwick’s problem now is that his rookies didn’t work out, although Kane Lambert does show promise as a 24-year-old; most of the trades are sliding or have hit the ceiling; Miles is in a slump; Yarran hasn’t played; Conca is always hurt; Brandon Ellis might have been found out on the outside; Vlastuin has stalled; Griffiths needs aggression and the rest of the draftees are finding their feet.

The upshot is they are in a world of pain in the short and long term.

In contrast, the Western Bulldogs, who won seven games in 2012 and eight games in 2013, went skyrocketing down the youth path in the same period and are now a premiership challenger.

The Tigers didn’t do that. They went old. The Dogs went young.

Has it worked for the Tigers? No.

In further contrast, North Melbourne had a better base of players to start with under Brad Scott — he also started in late 2009 — but North brought in Shaun Higgins, Nick Dal Santo and Jarrad Waite, their quality clearly greater than Richmond’s mature add-ons.

There are other critical aspects, too, such as Richmond drafting Vickery at No. 8 and Griffiths at No. 19, in its search for a key forward. North landed Ben Brown with pick No. 47.

Vickery is inconsistent, Griffiths hardly a competitive animal, while Brown looks the next big thing at the Kangas.

There are other sliding door moments.

In 2010, the Tigers drafted Conca at No. 6 and Dion Prestia and Dyson Heppell went at No. 7 and No. 8 and Luke Parker at No. 40.

In 2011, it was Ellis at No. 15, while Lachie Neale went at No. 58 and Brad Hill at No. 33.

In 2013, it was Lennon at No. 12, while Patrick Cripps was taken at No. 13 and Zach Merrett No. 26.

If only they could have jagged, say, Parker, Neale and Cripps from that lot.

Despite all this, Hardwick has showed he can coach.

He coached the team out of crisis (2014 and 2015), but the fact remains he has also coached the team into crisis (2014 and 2015) and he has failed in his three finals.

Damien Hardwick is feeling the heat. Picture: Michael Klein



He has changed strategy. In 2013, the Tigers moved the ball more quickly than any team, but turnovers killed them. Last year, they slowed their ball movement out of the back half, but North, in the elimination final, stifled that movement and on an overcast Sunday afternoon at the ’G, their season was kaput.

The season in between, 2014, was a lottery before the annihilation against Port Adelaide.

This year, there has been stunted movement, turnovers are killing them again and injuries, too. There are various levels of stupidity (Round 2 v Collingwood, plus Rance) and, of course, fans are breaking microwaves.

The fact is Hardwick had to change his team this year.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and again but expecting different results. This team couldn’t get past the elimination final weekend so Hardwick had to retool.

He described it as taking one step backward to go two steps forward, which confused people. What he should have said was: “Guys, we gave it our best shot with a handful of stars, a team of cast-offs and sprinkling of draftees, and we can go no further with this group. It’s time to move on.’’

And if he had said that at the start of the season, he would have been crucified by all for sending the wrong message.

Yet, that’s where Richmond sits before its game against Port Adelaide.

Hardwick was given a two-year extension because the club believes he can coach, although president Peggy O’Neal could have been stronger with her support at last month’s announcement.

“We also considered whether he was the right man to take us further and, after thorough analysis and discussion, the unanimous view was that Damien is the right man,’’ she said.

Perhaps it’s the process you have to go through. And perhaps “thorough analysis and discussion’’ could also be viewed that it wasn’t a lay-down misere at the board table.

O’Neal also said: “The players have great respect for their coach and his approach to getting the best out of them.’’

Arguably, Hardwick got everything out of the group and it came up short.

The next phase will be interesting.

The Tigers won’t go over the top on mature-age recruits again, so that means they need draft picks, need to nail the early picks and have some astute drafting in the third and fourth rounds.

Do they go ballsy and trade out? Perhaps Deledio to a premiership chasing team, similar to St Kilda’s Dal Santo move, or put up Vickery and cross their fingers, and Griffiths. There are not too many others.

As for Hardwick, he effectively starts his second phase of coaching and, despite the scepticism, there is no rule that a coach gets only one crack at building a list.

 
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Tiger_4_Life

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 13, 2011
5,568
16,495
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Is this the same David King that has picked essendon to win the flag 2 years in a row and no more than 4 weeks ago declared that essendon are getting it right and will be a force next year?

Is this the same David King that assaulted a fast food worker 18 years ago for doing his job? And managed to avoid being locked up for assault?

The man has no credibility and shouldn't be employed, let alone looked as some list management specialist
 

smurfin

Club Legend
Apr 1, 2016
1,791
4,997
Central Victoria
AFL Club
Richmond
In 2011, it was Ellis at No. 15, while Lachie Neale went at No. 58 and Brad Hill at No. 33.

In 2013, it was Lennon at No. 12, while Patrick Cripps was taken at No. 13 and Zach Merrett No. 26.
Idiots like us on BigFooty talk and moan about players we missed drafting, but for a journalist, seriously....

Fancy Richmond taking Ellis instead of Lachie Neale. There were over 40 picks after ours that also didn't rate Lachie Neale.
I think if you want to get serious about looking back at who could have been drafted instead, look at the 5 picks afterwards. And you need to be on the record with your opinion before they start playing, like many of us were about Conca over Heppell.
Such a pointless exercise looking back at the success stories of late draft picks and suggesting that so and so club could have picked them instead of their high draft bust.
 

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Punt Road Feral

Club Legend
Aug 23, 2007
2,871
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David King is a clown, I can’t take anything he says seriously and in the end he changes his tune once he realises his predictions are cactus.

The club didn’t have much choice going for mature age players in 09-13 with heavily compromised drafts. It was actually the worst time in afl history to bottom out. Luckily with free agency we’ve been able to recruit exceptionally well and that’s aligned with nailing our draft picks inc extremely valuable rookies.
 

Hamsatma

All Australian
Jun 19, 2017
765
2,594
AFL Club
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The really funny thing is that some of the facts cited in the proclamations of our doom were actually true - we were robbed of multiple top 10 picks by the expansion clubs and for several years our drafting has been crap, with our first rounders in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 all being largely busts, and yet we've still been the most dominant team for at least 4 years :tearsofjoy: :tearsofjoy:
 

Genghis Tron

العودة إلى الوراء
Apr 6, 2020
2,926
6,015
AFL Club
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AN ADDICTION to recruiting hand-me-down talent has turned Richmond into the home of the list-clogger, writes David King. Will anyone take responsibility?

DENIS Pagan’s poignant statements consistently spring to mind when assessing the football fortunes and failures of players, clubs and administrators.
“You get what you deserve in AFL footy”, he would say, which rings so true right now for the Richmond Football Club.

So who is to blame? This week Richmond’s general manager of football effectively apportioned blame at their loyal, tormented and tortured fans who apparently wouldn’t accept an “eight-year rebuild”.

My god, haven’t they been through enough?

I wonder how forgiving they’ll be with the new plan, one that needs to start sooner rather than later.

What time frame will that operate under and who will they trust to oversee that process?

The same people who have now run the club into this talent capped dead-end?

Footy manager Dan Richardson wasn’t part of the Richmond management structure at that stage so maybe that message is the thoughts of others who’ve held positions of influence, but at what point was that plan to be usurped by a more modern, national draft based approach to secure and develop their own stars?

Richmond for an extended period of time has made decisions based on making the finals, not winning premierships. The oversupply and addiction to obtain hand-me-down talent who’s football DNA is already known. It has backfired and stamps Punt Rd as the home of the list clogger.

The question is who plotted this course? Surely Blair Hartley as list manager doesn’t have carte blanche over the profile of the list.

Is it Damien Hardwick who decides Richmond requires a Jacob Townsend or Matt Thomas as a big-bodied midfielder to support Trent Cotchin?

Who did the research on Chris “cherry on top” Yarran? Are they working to a premiership list profile?
If they truly want to support the captain then surround him with talent that can actually play! Talent that can impact games. Characters that can lead when the game demands and talent that can lessen the load on Trent, Brett Deledio, Alex Rance and Jack Riewoldt.

The off-field staff have failed Hardwick miserably. At the national draft they’ve selected safe first-round selections over the past six or seven years.

Reece Conca with pick No. 6 in 2010, when Josh Caddy, Dyson Heppell, Dion Prestia and Tom Lynch were taken with four of the next five selections.

Ben Lennon at pick 12, the selection before clearance beast Patrick Cripps and the challenged but highly talented Cameron McCarthy.

Brandon Ellis accumulates statistics without impacting games and at what stage will Nick Vlastuin step into the midfield and become a key member at Tigerland?

Outside of the first round the Tigers have struggled to find a Luke Parker at pick 40, Rory Sloane pick 44 or Dan Hannebery with selection 30.

The excuse that two new franchises have stolen the lion’s share of the talent pool is plausible but shouldn’t have committed Richmond to mature, and limited, talent.

Jarryd Lyons at pick 61, Rory Atkins with pick 81 and Rory Laird (not even selected in the nation draft of 2012, having come via the rookie list), highlight the Adelaide Crows’ vision and precision.

Talent acquisition has proven a disappointment. They failed to nab Dan Hannebery, David Armitage and Adam Treloar over the past three seasons after considered and aggressive campaigns.

As early as 2011, Hardwick regularly stated throughout post-match press conferences that “the easy thing to do is top up with talent that’s not quite there” as he did after the Essendon 39-point loss in Round 16, ensuring that there would be no quick fix.

In fact, his wording was “no short cuts”.

But Richmond never trusted itself to commit to the slow rebuild. Someone in a position of influence never quite endorsed the recruiting department to pick the eyes out of the nation’s youth.

Who was that person? Only Brendon Gale and Dan Richardson could answer that question.

After winning 14 home-and-away games in 2015 I thought the top four was on the radar and with only minimal improvement required, Chris Yarran may just be enough.

Last week Mark Robinson joined myself in the “Victims of Tigerland” group that has chewed up and spat out so many, stating that Hardwick was to be considered a coaching genius.

Damien Hardwick has shown he can coach.

Over the past two to three seasons the Tigers have changed tack regarding ball movement and played personnel in different zones.

The magnets have been shuffled and shuffled and the players have responded to Hardwick’s motivation and corrected poor patches of form. But the game now demands slick and efficient ball movement.

Will he coach that way or revert back to the tried and true slow method which has ultimately failed in September?

Richmond heavyweights Gary March, Craig Cameron and Brendon Gale flank new coach Damien Hardwick on his appointment in 2009.

Richmond heavyweights Gary March, Craig Cameron and Brendon Gale flank new coach Damien Hardwick on his appointment in 2009.

The problem Gale and his merry men have in the short term is that all involved at Richmond now feel redundant.

Mature-aged players would believe they have 16 weeks remaining before their papers are stamped. Brendon Lade, among other assistant coaches, is continually named as part of the problem by those who know.

They will be fattening their CVs as we speak.

It’s a situation that requires strong leadership and genuine honesty.

We will all watch and listen to the spokespeople for the Richmond Football Club and witness just what the next move will be.

Over to you Dan, Brendon and Damien.

And just one word of advice on behalf of the Richmond fans.

Take as long as you like — just get it right.

giphy (19).gif
 

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