Tigers of new all about pressure
Grinding tactics the hallmark of Richmond 2017
IT summed up Richmond perfectly.
A Shaun Grigg mongrel punt floated forward to a oneon-one that involved Dustin Martin.
The Brownlow medallist won the contest and took off, delivering a perfect handball to Jason Castagna.
And the little man kicked the goal to win his club the 2017 premiership.
The fact there was another quarter to go says everything about how good Richmond had been and how bad Adelaide was.
Castagna’s goal took the margin to 33 points at the 20minute mark of the third quarter.
The Tigers had kicked nine of the past 10 goals, from the start of the second term through Jack Riewoldt.
Adelaide’s only goal in that time was at the 14-minute mark of the third quarter from Taylor Walker.
Its much-hyped forward line had buckled, thanks to Alex Rance and his pressure-addicted mates.
The second term was history making for the Crows as it was the first time they had failed to kick a goal in a quarter against Richmond.
None of what had transpired was surprising. We’d seen it all year from the Tigers, so why was it that so many thought they couldn’t bring it when it mattered most?
Their game plan has been simple and certainly wasn’t a secret.
It was essentially kick it long to Riewoldt and then converge in numbers around the area where there was only one instruction — pressure.
Tackle, harass, bump, smother.
At this point it’s probably worth noting Richmond was ranked 18th for pressure in the AFL 12 months ago.
Yesterday it won the Tigers a flag.
But it wasn’t just the for-
ward line that lived and breathed this ethos. Every player brought the same attitude, which is why the Tigers won their first premiership since 1980.
Richmond had heroes everywhere.
There were a couple of obvious ones in Martin and Rance.
Every time Martin went near the ball there was an elevated heart rate for every Adelaide player.
But one instance stands out. After controlling the second quarter they’d finally got their noses in front after youngster Jack Graham kicked what then had been the biggest goal of his short career at the 25-minute mark.
The next centre bounce was when the dream play came.
Dion Prestia, who had been everywhere, got another centre clearance with his quick wobbling punt floating into a wide open forward line where two players stood. One was Martin. The other was Luke Brown.
Martin comfortably got the young Crow out of the way, marked the ball and drilled the goal from 30m to extend the lead to 10 points.
At the other end Rance was impenetrable. His game isn’t judged on kicks, marks and handballs, it’s about the spoils, deft touches, physicality and his presence.
Now to the lesser names. Graham was rather unknown a couple of months ago, but the youngest player on the ground, at 19, played like a 200-game 29-year-old.
Three goals told only part of the story as he also played a shutdown role on Rory Sloane, who had been the Crows’ best in the first half.
Graham kicked two goals in the third-quarter rampage while the Crows star only touched the ball twice.
Bachar Houli kicked a crucial first-quarter goal and then proceeded to collect 20 plus possessions.
Riewoldt took two hangers and controlled the first quarter despite kicking three behinds, while captain Trent Cotchin may have been down on numbers but not in effort.