‘Tac­ti­cal ge­nius’ pays trib­ute to his Tigers

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - GLENN McFARLANE

BLAKE Cara­cella, cred­ited as one of the ar­chi­tects of Rich­mond’s drought-break­ing premier­ship game plan, says the Tigers play­ers taught him as much as he helped them.

The highly-rated as­sis­tant coach — a premier­ship player at Essendon and the Bris­bane Li­ons, who also had won a flag as an as­sis­tant coach at Gee­long — said the hon­esty of the Tigers’ play­ing group made him open up more as a per­son.

Con­sid­ered a se­nior coach in wait­ing, Cara­cella, 40, is con­vinced that change will help him long into the fu­ture.

“I loved my time at Gee­long and I’ve loved my time here at Rich­mond,” he said. “This year has taught me a lot.

“I tried to im­part what knowl­edge I had with the play­ers, but they have ac­tu­ally taught me this year.

“I am pri­vate per­son and I’m quite re­served. But they have taught me to open up and to be your­self, and to not be scared about be­ing that way.

“To be a part of that, and to de­velop that con­nec­tion ... they are an un­be­liev­able group of play­ers.” Cara­cella, who joined Rich­mond at the end of last sea­son as part of a shake-up to as­sist se­nior coach Damien Hard­wick, re­cently was lauded by de­fender Bran­don El­lis as “a tac­ti­cal ge­nius”.

But Cara­cella said Hard­wick had cre­ated a great learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment and the play­ers de­served much of the credit for their ap­proach.

“To be where they were last year [fin­ish­ing 13th] and where they are now, it’s just un­be­liev­able,” he said.

“They have got a re­ally spe­cial con­nec­tion. They play for each other. Go­ing through what they went through last year tends to de­velop a real bond.” He said the club learnt from nar­row losses ear­lier in the sea­son.

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