Why our game plan wins – A thesis

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Grrr

Norm Smith Medallist
Aug 16, 2009
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I just have one question. How did we manage to dominate clearences all of a sudden in finals?
In the round 11 game we lost the count 40-22 against port.
In the Prelim we won 41-29.
Big Nank smashed them at ground level and Cotchin was back, who smashes also. Prestia was also back I think.
 

Ceehook

Club Legend
Oct 3, 2017
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why our game plan wins ?

because it keeps evolving


in 2017 when we were trying to go small in the forward line
we would bomb the ball into the forward 50 and our smalls fly against their opponents
half hearted attempts to mark , but lots of body on body, it was enough to spill the ball free and the mosquito fleet got to work

the football world caught on and would engage the body and the third man up would take a near uncontested mark
we in turn responded

2020
centre clearances weren't big for us but our coaches felt they were key in the covid 16 min quarters and smaller grounds
and mid season we changed to winning centre clearances and setting up our forward line around it

each year has seen the game style change from the previous year and also change within a season

my guess is that just like the players and the Richmond man thing is that
Dimma
coaches
senior players
remaining players
over the past 4 years , all groups are brain storming and contributing to our evolving game style
they seemed to have created a happy productive environment were people aren't afraid to speak up

as Prestia and Lynch got their games into full flight we've adapted to take advantage
as various seniors players copped injuries we adapted and quickly
and the opposition are constantly trying to stop parts of our play , so far we've found the right responses

bring on 2021
Go Tiges :)
 

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Calcium Man

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I just have one question. How did we manage to dominate clearences all of a sudden in finals?
In the round 11 game we lost the count 40-22 against port.
In the Prelim we won 41-29.
Because we’re actually a really good contested and clearance side. Between 2011-2015 we were generally a top 4 in the AFL for contested possessions and clearances

The reality is we worked out a different, more successful, game style but when we need to we can throw Cotch, Prestia, Dusty and Edwards into the middle to win the ball.
 

tora tora tora

Norm Smith Medallist
Jul 3, 2008
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why our game plan wins ?

because it keeps evolving


in 2017 when we were trying to go small in the forward line
we would bomb the ball into the forward 50 and our smalls fly against their opponents
half hearted attempts to mark , but lots of body on body, it was enough to spill the ball free and the mosquito fleet got to work

the football world caught on and would engage the body and the third man up would take a near uncontested mark
we in turn responded

2020
centre clearances weren't big for us but our coaches felt they were key in the covid 16 min quarters and smaller grounds
and mid season we changed to winning centre clearances and setting up our forward line around it

each year has seen the game style change from the previous year and also change within a season

my guess is that just like the players and the Richmond man thing is that
Dimma
coaches
senior players
remaining players
over the past 4 years , all groups are brain storming and contributing to our evolving game style
they seemed to have created a happy productive environment were people aren't afraid to speak up

as Prestia and Lynch got their games into full flight we've adapted to take advantage
as various seniors players copped injuries we adapted and quickly
and the opposition are constantly trying to stop parts of our play , so far we've found the right responses

bring on 2021
Go Tiges :)
The small in the fwd line is interesting. I think in 2017 we used 37+ players. i.e. a lot. I think Ben Griffiths played, Todd Elton played a few games. So the small fwd line set up was just how the year ended.
 

Dr Tigris

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Aug 19, 2009
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The small in the fwd line is interesting. I think in 2017 we used 37+ players. i.e. a lot. I think Ben Griffiths played, Todd Elton played a few games. So the small fwd line set up was just how the year ended.
Dimma did say that we played JR alone out of necessity not choice. But that period was so successful I reckon it really helped make the club go as far down the small pressure route as they could.
 

All Aust

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Oct 29, 2020
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Because we’re actually a really good contested and clearance side. Between 2011-2015 we were generally a top 4 in the AFL for contested possessions and clearances

The reality is we worked out a different, more successful, game style but when we need to we can throw Cotch, Prestia, Dusty and Edwards into the middle to win the ball.
A general game plan before the Port round match last yr was to concede a pressured clearance to high half back, zoning to secure a turnover. Opponents become out of position if they run too hard towards their scoring end.

Port did a couple of things in that game.

Rather than clear forward, they fed clearances to a winger who became a longer kicker into the forward line, disrupting the high defensive zone, and
They tackled /contested hard which rankled the whole Richmond team resulting in ill disciplined free kicks and penalties.

This was not lost on the Lions match reviewers.

The tweak to winning clearances through a soccer / chaos ball mix where the ball is even more likely to be low to the ground, is anti "elite" football but effective. It continually keeps opposition sides unbalanced and uncertain. It hardens Richmond players up, it reduces the number of "outside" players.

It places a responsibility on the ruckman to at least halve every dead ball contest. Players have to be elite at a range of 1-5 metre foot and hand skills conducted below knee level, without drop off in the traditional game skills.

As a club, Richmond have placed an emphasis on individual and team psychology to achieve discipline resulting in a high acceptance, understanding, trust and support in team systems. There is still RFI for coaches and players to have better knowledge of week to week umpire interpretations as the number 50 metre penalties conceded are high. They are costly.
 

cairo tiger

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 11, 2003
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why our game plan wins ?

because it keeps evolving


in 2017 when we were trying to go small in the forward line
we would bomb the ball into the forward 50 and our smalls fly against their opponents
half hearted attempts to mark , but lots of body on body, it was enough to spill the ball free and the mosquito fleet got to work

the football world caught on and would engage the body and the third man up would take a near uncontested mark
we in turn responded

2020
centre clearances weren't big for us but our coaches felt they were key in the covid 16 min quarters and smaller grounds
and mid season we changed to winning centre clearances and setting up our forward line around it

each year has seen the game style change from the previous year and also change within a season

my guess is that just like the players and the Richmond man thing is that
Dimma
coaches
senior players
remaining players
over the past 4 years , all groups are brain storming and contributing to our evolving game style
they seemed to have created a happy productive environment were people aren't afraid to speak up

as Prestia and Lynch got their games into full flight we've adapted to take advantage
as various seniors players copped injuries we adapted and quickly
and the opposition are constantly trying to stop parts of our play , so far we've found the right responses

bring on 2021
Go Tiges :)
So what’s the evolution now that essdrugs are doing same gameplay
 

Disco_Stu

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Dec 4, 2004
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I just have one question. How did we manage to dominate clearences all of a sudden in finals?
In the round 11 game we lost the count 40-22 against port.
In the Prelim we won 41-29.
Hinkley said on 360 after the loss that he allowed us to have a +1 at stoppage which was strange for us, and he takes the blame for not equaling that up quick enough. He'd hoped Port's +1 in our forward line would be more useful than ours at stoppage.

Narrator: It wasn't.
 

Ceehook

Club Legend
Oct 3, 2017
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So what’s the evolution now that essdrugs are doing same gameplay
thats no surprise with Rutten and Carracella coaching
they'll impart what they know

whats our evolution from last year ?
Dimma was saying uncontested marks double what they would have been last year
needs to see more games

when you are in our position you don't have to totally re invent ypur self , just tweak according to rules , new players , opposition
 

Dr Tigris

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So what’s the evolution now that essdrugs are doing same gameplay
The Druggies don't have our players and it will take time to learn the discipline. Given our game is based around repeat efforts in a strongly structured game plan, that also allows freedom to do creative stuff you need 1) players who can go all day and still do it well (don't reckon the bombers have recruited for this), 2) discipline and togetherness/unselfishness (opposite of their style until now- not easy to change), and 3) players that are really good at the creative stuff in tight (not sure on this, but they recruited more for outside ball movement). So they don't worry me too much now. Maybe in a few years when they might have turned the place around. But the Hird cultists will stab them in the back by then.
 

Dr Tigris

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A general game plan before the Port round match last yr was to concede a pressured clearance to high half back, zoning to secure a turnover. Opponents become out of position if they run too hard towards their scoring end.

Port did a couple of things in that game.

Rather than clear forward, they fed clearances to a winger who became a longer kicker into the forward line, disrupting the high defensive zone, and
They tackled /contested hard which rankled the whole Richmond team resulting in ill disciplined free kicks and penalties.

This was not lost on the Lions match reviewers.

The tweak to winning clearances through a soccer / chaos ball mix where the ball is even more likely to be low to the ground, is anti "elite" football but effective. It continually keeps opposition sides unbalanced and uncertain. It hardens Richmond players up, it reduces the number of "outside" players.

It places a responsibility on the ruckman to at least halve every dead ball contest. Players have to be elite at a range of 1-5 metre foot and hand skills conducted below knee level, without drop off in the traditional game skills.

As a club, Richmond have placed an emphasis on individual and team psychology to achieve discipline resulting in a high acceptance, understanding, trust and support in team systems. There is still RFI for coaches and players to have better knowledge of week to week umpire interpretations as the number 50 metre penalties conceded are high. They are costly.
Great post!

Just on the rucks. it took a while but Dimma has come around to having guys that at least break even in the ruck and influence the contest. Soldo would physically move layers around so that it advantaged us. Nank is an oversized ruck rover. Our rucks have become important in us being able to control how the contests evolve. And then they are good at filling holes and doing stuff around the ground, especially Nank. Sometimes sheer size has benefits.
 

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Schlurp

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Aug 21, 2009
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Great post!

Just on the rucks. it took a while but Dimma has come around to having guys that at least break even in the ruck and influence the contest. Soldo would physically move layers around so that it advantaged us. Nank is an oversized ruck rover. Our rucks have become important in us being able to control how the contests evolve. And then they are good at filling holes and doing stuff around the ground, especially Nank. Sometimes sheer size has benefits.
And this is possibly the future role that Chol might most productively fill. Right now he's operating in no man's land territory. He doesn't seem to have the mongrel needed for center clearance work and he hasn't been given continuity in either a forward or back to learn how to play those positions. Rance, Grimes and Astbury were given multiple seasons to show what they could do so I hope we give Chol similar latitude. The upside is potentially exceptional.
 

Dr Tigris

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And this is possibly the future role that Chol might most productively fill. Right now he's operating in no man's land territory. He doesn't seem to have the mongrel needed for center clearance work and he hasn't been given continuity in either a forward or back to learn how to play those positions. Rance, Grimes and Astbury were given multiple seasons to show what they could do so I hope we give Chol similar latitude. The upside is potentially exceptional.
IF Chol could get some mongrel into his game he'd be so good. As a ruck you can't be passive. As you say the upside is so exceptional.
 

Dr Tigris

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TLDR - the reason we win is because we have the most talented list from player 1 to player 30
For the game we play, yes. We have recruited and developed a team that plays as continuous contest style of game. We've gotten intercept rebounding backs, high pressure small forwards, competitive and rounded KPF's + Dusty.

IF we tried to play the Geelong/WCE game we'd be fairly average. But given we don't play that style, then yes you are pretty much right :cool:
 

Laffy2Chaffey2Daffy

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For the game we play, yes. We have recruited and developed a team that plays as continuous contest style of game. We've gotten intercept rebounding backs, high pressure small forwards, competitive and rounded KPF's + Dusty.

IF we tried to play the Geelong/WCE game we'd be fairly average. But given we don't play that style, then yes you are pretty much right :cool:
True to an extent. Our game plan has evolved to suit our strengths. But the whole system/gameplay argument is often used by commentators to underestimate the talent on our list overall and the talent of individuals on our list. Geelong have a strong top dozen or so then fall away. WC bat deeper than Geelong but don’t shine as brightly at the top end as either us or Geelong. Looking at the preseason games many others are trying emulate us, but for all the systems, game plans etc, it is talent that wins you 3 flags.
 

Dr Tigris

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True to an extent. Our game plan has evolved to suit our strengths. But the whole system/gameplay argument is often used by commentators to underestimate the talent on our list overall and the talent of individuals on our list. Geelong have a strong top dozen or so then fall away. WC bat deeper than Geelong but don’t shine as brightly at the top end as either us or Geelong. Looking at the preseason games many others are trying emulate us, but for all the systems, game plans etc, it is talent that wins you 3 flags.

As much as I agree, I also think that we have learnt/created a different game plan. It is designed to suit our players absolutely. But carefully watch how we move the ball and how Geelong/WCE move the ball. Or even the copycats in Collingwood, how they move the ball. We will break from a contest and move it 5 to 10 meters. Other teams don't do that in the same way. We have fully taken on the logic of riding the edge of the contest. Other teams, and the traditional way of playing, is to get beyond the edge of the contest and into clean space. By living on the edge (only just thought of that phrase for us, should try to use it more :cool: ) we force the game to be played in a way that suits us. And to copy us requires huge repeat effort players and guys who can deal well with that pressure situation. Cause we live there we are simply better at that style of play than anyone else.
 

tora tora tora

Norm Smith Medallist
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And this is possibly the future role that Chol might most productively fill. Right now he's operating in no man's land territory. He doesn't seem to have the mongrel needed for center clearance work and he hasn't been given continuity in either a forward or back to learn how to play those positions. Rance, Grimes and Astbury were given multiple seasons to show what they could do so I hope we give Chol similar latitude. The upside is potentially exceptional.
Chol played 13 odd games last year which is enough to judge him. If selectors want to play the 3rd tall again then he's competing with CJ. Who was quite good in one of the practice games but quiet in the Coll game. Had Roughhead as an opponent so it was high standard match practice.
Chol also did some good things vs the pies both in the ruck and in the air. I feel that CJ is more the natural AFL footballer than Chol, who will be good depth.
 

Dr Tigris

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Piece of analysis by David King that just came up


Good bit is it shows how organised and brilliantly structured our defence is.

Poor bit is that it leaves the question of why are our back 3 able to set up the way he describes. in the vision shown you can see that the oppo moves the ball forward from a pressure situation where they have to kick it forward beyond our set up 10 - 25 meters from the contest. That is, the key thing allowing up to set up the way we do is that the opposition player is under pressure and has to kick the ball long(ish). That means our back men are set up to take the intercept. So we set up in a way that is focused on intercept marking rather than stopping their man.

When we had the ball and moved it forward we had open space and so could hit the gaps in their defensive set up.

Having more defenders is actually worse if the opposition (us in this case) can get a player free and so can kick the ball to where you aren't.

Our defensive system works because we force the opposition to kick fairly indiscriminately to our marking backs, who maintain their shape so that they are always in the position to mark or spoil.

Our attacking system works because we get someone free through either 1) forward movement from contest (forward handball, kicks/taps of the ground etc) until we get someone free who can settle and kick it, or 2) from intercepts marks we free up Short/Bachar/short to run and carry, then hit targets. We try really hard to avoid the pump kicks forward to clear congestion. We take on the congestion.

So good on King for that piece of analysis. but it only works if the ball comes in the way we make it come in. Why teams have to play us the way they do is the secret sauce, and I haven't seen that analysed well - except 'the tigers apply lots of pressure'. Lots of teams apply pressure, why do we make the game work differently?

Anyway, lovely shots that show how we moves like a single organism. So worth a look just for that.
 

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