‘Tactical genius’ pays tribute to his Tigers
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.