Richmond vs North, Hardwick vs Scott: 2009-2019

Merlin007

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At the end of 2009, two rookie coaches took on senior roles. Ten years later, one had two premiership flags, the other resigned mid-season in frustration. What happened?

Apart from match day tactics, in a regulated competition like the AFL, it is list management that makes or breaks club strategy. If you look at the list management strategies for Richmond in the Hardwick era, and for North in the Scott era, three distinct differences emerge:

Go hard, early

At the end of his first year in charge at Richmond, Hardwick put his stamp on the Richmond list (much as Clarkson did at Hawthorn), making deep cuts to the group who played AFL games in 2010. Richard Tambling was traded to Adelaide, Andrew Collins to Carlton, and Dean Polo and Tom Hislop were delisted. All four of these played first team football in 2010, and along with them, Jordan McMahon was also delisted (who Hardwick conspicuously declined to select in a team that finished 15th). On the other side of the ledger, Hardwick started to bring in “his” players, Shaun Grigg (traded from Carlton) and Bachar Houli (via the PSD). Richmond definitely did NOT nail the 2010 draft (eg Reece Conca at 6, and not much else besides), but Hardwick had made a statement about where he was headed.

In comparison, perhaps gun-shy from Josh Gibson walking out as he took charge at the end of 2009, Brad Scott made no strong statement about his first team list at the end of his first year in charge. David Hale was traded out, but the only other ‘first team’ players to leave the club were retirements (Corey Jones and Leigh Harding). Trading in Ben McKinley as a Jones replacement (for pick 86) and Cameron Richardson (for pick 35) hardly sent a message to the rest of the group as to what was expected.

Trade quality draft picks to fill a need

The next year, 2011, Richmond showed the next theme in their list management – a willingness to give up quality draft picks for what they considered to be their type of player. Thus, Richmond gave up pick 14 for Steve Morris (who was tied to GWS). People would laugh at this strategy when it came to Shaun Hampson (pick 32 in 2013) and Chris Yarran (pick 19 in 2015), but probably gave up the giggles in 2016 when trading picks gave Richmond what would be the premiership edge the following year, in the shape of Dion Prestia (and pick 24 for pick 6 and a 2017 second rounder), Toby Nankervis (for pick 46) and Josh Caddy (for pick 24 and another). Significantly, Richmond still got value out of the draft for what they had left (Shai Bolton and Jack Graham).

In comparison, North have done nothing similar. The only first round pick traded out has been for Jed Anderson, and that was in effect more of a player swap, a first rounder coming back for Ryan Bastinac. The only ‘established’ players traded/drafted in have been for low grade picks (McKinley, Taylor Hine, Billy Hartung, Marley Williams etc). With the exception of Williams (and hopefully now Josh Walker), we’ve got what we paid for.

Free agency

The only free agents Richmond have taken were of the delisted variety, Taylor Hunt (2014) and Andrew Moore (2015).

The point of comparison with North is obvious. The club took ‘first mover’ advantage with del Santo, Waite and Higgins and nearly got to the mountain top, with successive prelim appearances. Thereafter, whatever the strategy delivered on-field, it was later offset by the reputational damage of failed bids (ie Martin, Gaff).

There’s probably no “one” way to success, but the differences between Richmond and North on these three dimensions helps explain why Hardwick is still coaching.
 

King Corey

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Interesting analysis but a lot of wisdom attributed to Richmond in hindsight.

Circa 2016-2017 it all fell into place for them but I don't think 2010-16 was some incredibly strategic slow build.

Some tribunal luck, the crows imploding, Martin taking his game to another level, a good run with injuries and a coaching group that smartly worked a gameplan around the list at hand were the main factors.

Richmond's drafting, FAs and trading 2009-2015 was probably on par with ours in terms of net result.

Only considering players who had any significant AFL hours.

2009: Martin, Astbury Grimes - Cunnington, MacMillan, Daw
2010: Conca, Batchelor < Atley, Harper, Pedersen, Mullett
2011: B.Ellis > McKenzie
2012: Vlaustin, McIntosh - Garner, Jacobs, Wood
2013: Lloyd, Miles < McDonald, Dumont, Brown, Turner
2014: Butler, Short, Castagna, Lambert, Soldo > Durdin, EVW - Ok in retrospect Richmond absolutely setup their depth in 2014.
2015: Rioli, Broad > Clarke..

2009-2013 even. 2014+ Richmond.

However we've only now seeing the fruits of 2016+ so we'll review 2016-2020 in 3 years.. if there's still a league.
 

GarnerSmash

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The biggest influence on Richmond pulling ahead of us late in Scotts' tenure was Blake Caracella and the adoption of a high pressure, forward pressing game style, with the utilisation of shorter, strong, fast players forward of centre who could hit targets. Throw in a once in a generation player, one excellent key forward, some solid defenders and a decent core midfield group they you have the current recipe for success.

This, of course, will be superseded by something else in the near future.
 

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Passmore

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Richmond adopted a game style to suit their list. They gave up on a second tall forward because they didn't have one.

They nabbed Lynch as soon as he was available. They now play 2 rucks. They clearly didn't want to go small, but circumstance dictated it.

They shipped out or dropped ordinary players like Townsend, Butler and McIntosh as soon as their usefulness disappeared.

Sent from my SM-A908B using Tapatalk
 

Boomer29er

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Richmond have really gotten fortunate during this recent premiership run. Could you imagine them going up against the ‘07-‘09 Cats team? When the Dogs won in 2016, I had an epiphany. That you didn’t really need to be that good to win a flag anymore. This is probably what has lead to my yearly hopes of us snagging one. We are all aware of the deficiencies in our team, yet it feels like if we got a clean run with no injuries and recruited those 1 or 2 missing pieces, we could have a real crack at it. We showed against the Eagles in 2018 and the Tigers last year, that on our day, we could serve it up against the best sides. I’m sure Gill and AFL House are loving this faux parity to the game, but in my honest opinion, the game has gotten really lame.
 

Boomer29er

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Even League scoring has declined drastically. One side managed to score 2000 points last season, that Was Brisbane.
 

amaz199

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Richmond have really gotten fortunate during this recent premiership run. Could you imagine them going up against the ‘07-‘09 Cats team? When the Dogs won in 2016, I had an epiphany. That you didn’t really need to be that good to win a flag anymore. This is probably what has lead to my yearly hopes of us snagging one. We are all aware of the deficiencies in our team, yet it feels like if we got a clean run with no injuries and recruited those 1 or 2 missing pieces, we could have a real crack at it. We showed against the Eagles in 2018 and the Tigers last year, that on our day, we could serve it up against the best sides. I’m sure Gill and AFL House are loving this faux parity to the game, but in my honest opinion, the game has gotten really lame.
I agree with this. Even Collingwood, as clinical and as tough as they were, couldn't get near Geelong except for the 2010 Prelim.

I reckon even the 2011 Cats would beat today's Richmond because the Cats beat the tough-clinical Collingwood in that year on all occasions. Collingwood, being the side reminiscent of Richmond somewhat today. The difference being Richmond not being as skilled in some areas and not as formidable on all fronts. Richmond can't win a game if they are not on their day. But the above-mentioned sides can and have done it by at least 6 goals from just being classier.

Going back to when even the Saints were a powerhouse in that patch of 2009-10, I think they would trouble Richmond today.

The standard of footy has dropped since the early 2010s. (Moving away from not as many upsets, just teams dominating other teams because they were actually genuinely better). I mean, I hated when clubs were too strong and dominant, but it kills the hunger to be better than them. Feels like the benchmark for GF success has indeed dropped.

Imagine teams from 90s-2000s against top sides today? Ouch!
 
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La Flama Blanca

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I agree with this. Even Collingwood, as clinical and as tough as they were, couldn't get near Geelong except for the 2010 Prelim.

I reckon even the 2011 Cats would beat today's Richmond because the Cats beat the tough-clinical Collingwood in that year on all occasions. Collingwood, being the side reminiscent of Richmond somewhat today. The difference being Richmond not being as skilled in some areas and not as formidable on all fronts. Richmond can't win a game if they are not on their day. But the above-mentioned sides can and have done it by at least 6 goals from just being classier.

Going back to when even the Saints were a powerhouse in that patch of 2009-10, I think they would trouble Richmond today.

The standard of footy has dropped since the early 2010s. Not as many upsets, just teams dominating other teams because they were actually genuinely better. I mean, I hated when clubs were too strong and dominant, but it kills the hunger to be better than them. Feels like the benchmark for GF success has indeed dropped.

Imagine teams from 90s-2000s against top sides today? Ouch!
The other day I heard Jonathan Brown say the Brisbane side he played in would lose to the current Richmond side by 10 goals. In his view, the strategy of the game builds on itself year on year and as such teams from previous generations wouldn't stand a chance against the ones we see today.

It's an interesting discussion. One that can never be tested, but an interesting one all the same.
 

Boomer29er

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I agree with this. Even Collingwood, as clinical and as tough as they were, couldn't get near Geelong except for the 2010 Prelim.

I reckon even the 2011 Cats would beat today's Richmond because the Cats beat the tough-clinical Collingwood in that year on all occasions. Collingwood, being the side reminiscent of Richmond somewhat today. The difference being Richmond not being as skilled in some areas and not as formidable on all fronts. Richmond can't win a game if they are not on their day. But the above-mentioned sides can and have done it by at least 6 goals from just being classier.

Going back to when even the Saints were a powerhouse in that patch of 2009-10, I think they would trouble Richmond today.

The standard of footy has dropped since the early 2010s. (Moving away from not as many upsets, just teams dominating other teams because they were actually genuinely better). I mean, I hated when clubs were too strong and dominant, but it kills the hunger to be better than them. Feels like the benchmark for GF success has indeed dropped.

Imagine teams from 90s-2000s against top sides today? Ouch!
The ‘benchmark’ of today’s AFL is a joke. When I think of Premiership caliber teams this century...I think of Geelong 2007, Hawthorn 2013, Brisbane Lions 2002, West Coast Eagles 2006. Even the lower quality players in those sides are better than the ones in this Richmond team.
 

ferball

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The other day I heard Jonathan Brown say the Brisbane side he played in would lose to the current Richmond side by 10 goals. In his view, the strategy of the game builds on itself year on year and as such teams from previous generations wouldn't stand a chance against the ones we see today.

It's an interesting discussion. One that can never be tested, but an interesting one all the same.
If those sides were playing today they would be playing the same strategies etc.

One thing about the old days is the space.

It just doesn't exist anymore. A massive part of today's game is closing down the space for players to use.

Btw ... You and the poster above you, amaz199, have almost exactly the same avatar. Is it the same celebration from different angles?
 

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3051

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Richmond were able to focus on depth players that filled a need because they had strong top-tier talent as their spine to build around in Martin, Rance, Riewoldt, Cotchin, and Deledio. In non-Richmond fashion, they did well to keep faith in Hardwick after disappointing ends to 2013, 2014, and especially 2016. You could argue 2015 was disappointing too considering they were eliminated in the qualifying final 5th on the ladder (Though North was and continues to own Richmond). Despite Deledio fading and eventually moving onto GWS - Martin became the best player in the game. The top tier was peaking or still near the height of their powers but the depth had improved as well, with some elevating their games to AA-level in Houli, Grimes, and Edwards. The competition also dropped off as Richmond rose - the Hawks, Swans, and Cats were all well past their glory days by 2017.

Contrast that to North where we never had a strong top-tier core but had good depth. Unfortunately, only Cunnington out of Ziebell, Atley, Bastinac, and co became an elite player and Cunnington's peak didn't coincide with the stronger North sides of 2014-16. You could argue that when Scott took over he should have bottomed out to get earlier picks but he didn't have that luxury given context. There's no point building depth when you don't have elite players - this wouldn't raise the ceiling of the team's potential despite it raising the floor. North were going for a premiership. They tried to get this elite talent through free agency and did well to get Dal Santo, Higgins, and Waite. With a little more luck in terms of injury and form (notably keeping Wells, Waite, Jacobs fit), North might have been able to pinch a premiership - best chance in 2016. North also tried to open their premiership window exactly the same time the Hawks peaked, and the Cats and Swans still strong. It is what it is but I think North gave it a real crack and extracted the most out of their limited squad.
 

amaz199

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Contrast that to North where we never had a strong top-tier core but had good depth.
I don't think our depth was 'good'. I would say it was average at best and still is today. If anyone of Tarrant, Jacobs, Wells, etc. got injured, we were most likely screwed. But that isn't the whole picture.

Call me pessimistic but we were very far from a premiership in 2016. Our last shot was 2015 and we failed at that as well. Injuries aside, we just didn't play well enough football to continue on an upward trend in terms of confidence. I just thought the body language of the playing group got worse and worse until we finally responded against Collingwood, and Harvey got his #427 moment. Injuries have a major effect I know, but there needs to be a time where the playing group and coaches get going again and there wasn't. That's how Richmond won 2 premierships in 3 years and we won 0.

Richmond, on their day, at crucial stages, when better opposition switches off, put them to the sword and win more often than not. We didn't do that well enough and we completely threw away our chance. Being brutally honest, we were simply not good enough on a consistency metric, and skill-wise.

Bring up the Geelong game, bring up the Hawks first match, Sydney, etc.

If the playing group believed in themselves as much as the supporters did at the time, we wouldn't have this conversation.

The development of the playing group came to a halt after injuries started coming up. It should have been a motivation but it went the opposite for some unknown reason. (I also think a lot of players that had question marks around them didn't get some exposure when they deserved it and got blooded when the coaches absolutely had to, not based on form.)

Club needed a new direction, some fresh ideas, some fresh young talent and unfortunately, it came around 3 years too late.

Brad did really well with the list he had, but there were a lot of faults in between that honestly stop me from saying he did an incredible job. And that is, motivating his side to a premiership like Hardwick did.
 

ferball

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I don't think our depth was 'good'. I would say it was average at best and still is today. If anyone of Tarrant, Jacobs, Wells, etc. got injured, we were most likely screwed. But that isn't the whole picture.

Call me pessimistic but we were very far from a premiership in 2016. Our last shot was 2015 and we failed at that as well. Injuries aside, we just didn't play well enough football to continue on an upward trend in terms of confidence. I just thought the body language of the playing group got worse and worse until we finally responded against Collingwood, and Harvey got his #427 moment. Injuries have a major effect I know, but there needs to be a time where the playing group and coaches get going again and there wasn't. That's how Richmond won 2 premierships in 3 years and we won 0.

Richmond, on their day, at crucial stages, when better opposition switches off, put them to the sword and win more often than not. We didn't do that well enough and we completely threw away our chance. Being brutally honest, we were simply not good enough on a consistency metric, and skill-wise.

Bring up the Geelong game, bring up the Hawks first match, Sydney, etc.

If the playing group believed in themselves as much as the supporters did at the time, we wouldn't have this conversation.

The development of the playing group came to a halt after injuries started coming up. It should have been a motivation but it went the opposite for some unknown reason. (I also think a lot of players that had question marks around them didn't get some exposure when they deserved it and got blooded when the coaches absolutely had to, not based on form.)

Club needed a new direction, some fresh ideas, some fresh young talent and unfortunately, it came around 3 years too late.

Brad did really well with the list he had, but there were a lot of faults in between that honestly stop me from saying he did an incredible job. And that is, motivating his side to a premiership like Hardwick did.
In 2016 we had a stupid number of injuries. Not just the major ones to Higgo, Jacobs, Waite and Lmac, every week we lost someone to something or other. Usually at vital times in games. Was it Cuners in the Geelong match? LMac in the Hawks one at half time.

Then we lost Wood (again) and then Brown against the Pies and Dogs. We lost the last Dogs game by the number of goals Brown averaged during the season iirc.

We got smashed by crucial injuries at crucial times

It was like we were cursed. The footy gods didn't like the way we all got ahead of ourselves I reckon.
 

Kimbo

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In 2016 we had a stupid number of injuries. Not just the major ones to Higgo, Jacobs, Waite and Lmac, every week we lost someone to something or other. Usually at vital times in games. Was it Cunners in the Geelong match? LMac in the Hawks one at half time.

Then we lost Wood (again) and then Brown against the Pies and Dogs. We lost the last Dogs game by the number of goals Brown averaged during the season iirc.

We got smashed by crucial injuries at crucial times

It was like we were cursed. The footy gods didn't like the way we all got ahead of ourselves I reckon.
Let's not forget the impact on our W/L that these two had!

Yes, Cunners during the Geelong match.
 

Hojuman

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In 2016 we had a stupid number of injuries. Not just the major ones to Higgo, Jacobs, Waite and Lmac, every week we lost someone to something or other. Usually at vital times in games. Was it Cuners in the Geelong match? LMac in the Hawks one at half time.

Then we lost Wood (again) and then Brown against the Pies and Dogs. We lost the last Dogs game by the number of goals Brown averaged during the season iirc.

We got smashed by crucial injuries at crucial times

It was like we were cursed. The footy gods didn't like the way we all got ahead of ourselves I reckon.


Someone will correct me but the Geelong game ?
Swallow, Del Santo, Cunners & Jacobs all gone by 1/2 time.

Danger b.o g with 49 😥
 

ferball

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Someone will correct me but the Geelong game ?
Swallow, Del Santo, Cunners & Jacobs all gone by 1/2 time.

Danger b.o g with 49 😥
That's right, we got smashed by injury in that game. Weren't we winning at half time?

Maybe not Swallow... Can't find the match report.
 

the Ziebull

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Ah well at least we didn’t pick Vickery ahead of Ziebell

Their drafting for a long period was shit it’s actually impressive that they’ve turned it around in a short time after countless mistakes

What really set them up was when they brought in caddy and Prestia for effectively Deledio who was cooked
 

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