Richmond vs Melbourne – Five things we learned

Melbourne’s season is on the brink after defeat to Richmond. What else did we learn from Wednesday night?

Simon Goodwin is struggling to provide answers

In a game that saw Richmond dominate for the the entirety of three quarters, it wasn’t actually the great defensive effort of the Dees that kept the score low. Instead, it was Richmond being completely wasteful. Play this game again, and Richmond could have won this game by 100 points. But despite Max Gawn saying it was better than what they dished up the week before, and Simon Goodwin saying that there are positives, I’m not sure if either of these statements are true. The 43 point margin flattered the Dees in every sense of the word – they were dominated in every part of the game. So Goodwin’s words in his post game presser? To me, he’s just saying what he has been told to say.

Am I watching 2017 again?

Richmond’s 2018 saw them get past teams with skill and a game plan that exploited their evident skill advantage that they had over nearly every team. 2017 on the other hand was a sight that saw the Tiges win games through aggression, tackling and intensity. For a Tiger fan who saw us win the flag off the back of that, and a defence that was stingier than ever, it seems as if it is back in 2019. Conceding just two goals in the final three quarters, Richmond looked as if they had turned the clock back to their premiership winning year. Yes – their past two weeks have only been against Melbourne and Sydney, but Richmond’s start to 2017 saw a quite soft start too, where they managed to get everything together at the right time. Their pressure is outrageous, and the forward 50 tackling they possess is outstanding. They have had 39 tackles inside 50 in the past two weeks – that is an alarming stat.

Richmond’s youth look ready made

A lot has been made of Sydney Stack, and rightfully so. But he looks like one of Richmond’s most experienced players, the way he attacks the ball and reads the game. His intercept work is something of a 100-gamer, and his ferocity at the football is making him a cult hero. Someone who hasn’t been spoken about as much is Jack Ross, a player who’s first three weeks have rivalled the likes of Sam Walsh. Ross had 28 touches on Wednesday night, including 14 in the last quarter when the game was still on the line. He was one of Richmond’s best and most important players, being apart of the starting four at most centre bounces. Pretty good for a third gamer. Then there is the resurgence of Liam Baker who looks like he may have replaced Dan Butler as one of the three forward amigos, and Jack Higgins who nobody really sees as a youngster anymore, because he looks so comfortable in a Tigers jumper. Richmond don’t seem to have any passengers at the moment, and similar to 2017, their bottom ten seem to be coming along very nicely.

How far can Melbourne go without a proper key forward?

We know Melbourne had their reasons for parting ways with Jesse Hogan, and nobody really thought that it would take this much of a toll. It has meant Sam Weideman is now their key forward, a man who wants $650k a year after playing 26 games and kicking 21 goals. Recipe for disaster. While Tom McDonald would have normally been up there as well, as he plays in defence while Steven May and Jake Lever still watch on the sidelines, McDonald is not a key forward either. He did a great job last year, but at the end of the day he is not a 60 goal a year forward. What teams have gone on to be successful without a proper stay at home forward? Not many.

Can an injury plagued Richmond win the flag?

Yes. If the Tigers can get themselves into a strong finals position, they will still be a threat come finals time. Collingwood are the only team to have beaten them at the MCG since the back end of the 2017 home and away season, many seem to forget that. Trent Cotchin and Jack Riewoldt will be back in the next month or so, and by the looks of it, Richmond will be okay for now until this happens. If you told Damien Hardwick that his side would be 4-2 with all of their key players being out of the side at one point, which have included two interstate games and one against Collingwood, him and every other Tiger fan would have bitten your arm off. Richmond will still be a threat in September, and I’m sure there is no team that would want to come up against them at the MCG.

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