I was keen on having this posted by around midday, but I instead spent my Saturday between going the big vom and intermittent sleeping due to too many on Friday night.
I probably should have held over until Sunday evening and wrapped it all into one big session though, because for all intents and purposes Jack Riewoldt is going to kick 10 and he’ll personally hand our proverbial to us again.
For those of us that will bother going to a stadium with no roof, we’ll also have to be dealing with a newfound confidence of Richmond supporters, who by all accounts have fortunately, en masse (if we’re going for stereotypes), been rather quiet for over a decade.
This is the first time really in my not-being-a-kid lifetime that Richmond genuinely look at having some sort of sustained success. We’re probably used to J. Riewoldt giving us trouble, but this will be the first match for a very long time in which Richmond come in as strong favourite against the Saints, and are expected to comfortably account for them on the way to bigger things.
First things first – Jack Riewoldt looks at getting a clearer shot at the goals than usual for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the Saints obviously aren’t as dangerous this year overall, and the Tigers’ midfield has taken another step and the top end of Cotchin, Deledio and Martin (who is in career-grossest appearance) is now one of the most imposing in the competition. Jack can expect a lot of supply.
Also, the Saints’ lack of a full back has now extended to a lack of backs overall, really. Chips is out for the season, Simpkin smacked Toppy for some reason, Gilbert’s out for a while longer and Blake may or may not still exist, which leaves Dempster, Gwilt and BIG RHYS BANDWAGON as the only things close to full-back options.
Big Rhys works on paper – tall, long arms, athletic – and with Kosi in the team he might just find himself in defence. Obviously he’s not a natural backman (is he a natural footballer?) but he might be the least worst option. Maric is out so that means a heavier workload for Vickery in the ruck, but surely Rhys will need to track him when he does go forward.
Dempster and Gwilt are in down back more for their intercept and rebound capabilities respectively. McGuane presented problems in Round 2 for the defence but that’s not a typical occurrence. That said, St Kilda aren’t a typical club. Otherwise, the goals usually come from smaller guys or mids in King and Martin, with Deledio, Grigg and Vlastuin all capable goalkickers.
The St Kilda midfield is still without Lenny, who played in Ballarat today for the Zebs, and even with the old firm of Dal and Joey in their, Jack Steven and Armo will have to play at their best for close to four quarters for the midfield to throw down any kind of challenge to Richmond’s.
If they do, you would assume My Favourite Hair in the AFL would have to be on the end of a lot of entries. Even if he has a really good day and kicks four or five, chances are his cousin will kick at least six or seven up the other end. There’s just not enough around him anymore for to make that a game winning performance.
It might change the complexion of the game to a degree. Most likely, we’re going to have to start getting used to not feeling great about games against the Tigers for a while.