After famously swarming their way to a flag in 2017, Richmond defied the spectre of the premiership hangover by sitting atop the ladder for the entire second half of the 2018 season. The Tigers seemed unstoppable in their march to back-to-back flags….right up until the penultimate weekend, when the Pies brought it all crashing down by snapping the yellow and black’s streak of 23 consecutive wins at the G. The club responded to this setback by landing the biggest free agent going around in October, while still retaining all the key pieces of their premiership winning squad.
So on the field all seems rosy for Richmond, but more importantly, what about Supercoach? The Tigers’ full field, high pressure style of footy demands a balanced output right across their 22. Great for on-field success, wonderful for their fans, but not so great for Supercoaches. This is reflected by only 3 Richmond players starting the year with a price tag north of $500K – only the wretched Suns have fewer.
Richmond are not complete Supercoach pariahs however, and there is at least one tattooed midfield beast you should be strongly considering for your starting lineup, as well as a handful of other well-priced possibilities lurking…
Feeling Lucky: Tigers halfback flanker and designated kicker Jayden Short ($465 600) produced a huge boost in his output in 2018, bumping his SC average by a whopping 28 points up to 86ppg. Short is definitely Supercoach relevant now, but the big attraction here is the much-discussed change in the kick-in rule. Short was fifth in the league for kick-ins last year (105), but only kicked to himself 16.2% of the time, which obviously leaves huge scope for improvement now that he can play on from the goal square and obtain credit for those disposals. Huge POD value at only 2.3% ownership, the only possible downside is sharing a bye round with the likes of Laird, Simpson, Whitfield and Williams.
Of the other Tiger’s defenders, Alex Rance ($448 100) and Bachar Houli ($399 600) have now entered the veteran class, and their Supercoach value is dropping for different reasons: Rance due to his role, and Houli due to injury. Both have been absolute warriors for their club over the years. Brandon Ellis ($387 500) had a shocking year in 2018, being dropped twice including for the finals series. Has averaged 90+ on multiple occasions, but it’s hard to see him breaking back into the Tigers’ settled defensive structure.
Money Maker: Oleg Markov ($158 000) is a running machine who spent a good portion of last season in the VFL for various reasons, while Patrick Naish ($123 900) is a steadily improving former father-son selection who was named as an emergency a couple of times late last year. Again, one of the Tigers’ big strengths is their defence, so it’s hard to see either of these guys getting opportunities, but both are SC-relevant if injuries open the door for them.
Lock and Load: He’s the heavily inked centrepiece of the yellow and black machine, but by his own admission Dustin Martin ($563 800) had a bit of a letdown in 2018. He still averaged 104, but compared to the irresistible form of 2017, that was somewhat disappointing. Dusty has had an uneventful pre-season thus far – which is definitely a good thing! – and is beautifully priced for a player of his obvious talents. The acquisition of Lynch may also see Martin spend a little more time in the midfield this year, instead of having to pinch-hit up forward as he has done in the past. An easy pick for your midfield.
Feeling Lucky: Dion Prestia ($482 600) is a former top 10 draft pick who has averaged 100+ on multiple occasions in his career. The downside is that just last year alone, Prestia experienced problems with a hamstring, calf, chronic knee soreness and even a broken rib. Prestia is a midfield bull when fit, but those times have become increasingly rare over the years, and sadly I can’t really recommend him at this price with that sort of history. Maybe worth a spot on your bench if you’re in a deep draft?
Jack Graham ($364 100) is famous for kicking three goals in a grand final in only his fifth senior game. He’s also known for tacking anything that moves and isn’t wearing yellow and black. Graham seems to be a great kid, but whether it’s by design or just his own mindset, his game is still largely defensive-oriented at the moment, and not suited to Supercoach. Put Jack in the black book for future reference further down the line.
Money Maker: Remember when midfielders were the little guys who dug the ball out of the bottom of the pack and fed it out to the big blokes? That time is well and truly in the past, and pick 20 Riley Collier-Dawkins ($121 800) is part of the new wave of oversized mids. At 6’4″ and 88 kgs, RCD is a mid in the mould of Cripps and the Bont, and even at this early stage it’s easy to imagine him becoming a jet comparable to both of those guys. Naturally he’s still very raw, but by all accounts he’s an outstanding character for a young man and may even see game time this year. Monitor!
Feeling Lucky: Toby Nankervis ($533 000) is one of those sub-premium rucks that nobody cares about this year. But The Nank has improved his output every year of his career (averaged 98 last season), is durable (only missed two games in the past two seasons), and is a good chance to play as the lone ruck at the Tigers this year – which is more than we can say for some of the more fancied uber-premiums! Nankervis is a draft league special, and must be looked at in Classic if one of the more popular rucks goes down with injury.
Lock and Load: I know you think this is a typo, but hear me out, because you should absolutely have Jack Riewoldt ($504 100) near the top of your shopping list for forwards in 2019. Yes, he’s a key position player which is generally an instant strike for most Supercoaches at the start of the season. Riewoldt averaged a tick under 93 last year, placing him eighth on aggregate among forwards, aided by a stupendous 219-point razing of the hapless Suns in round 21. That effort has inflated his price a little for this season, but beside the huge ceiling there are two attractions here. The first is durability, which has seen Jack miss only five games in a decade. Remember, every game missed is effectively a 5 ppg penalty at the end of the year. The other major plus for Riewoldt is the bye rounds, where a twist of fate has seen almost no viable premium forwards have a bye in Round 14. Except – you guessed it – Riewoldt and his Tigers.
Jack will be bidding for his fourth Coleman medal this season, and he’ll be doing it with a new recruit around to take the heat off him….
Feeling Lucky: Tom J. Lynch ($425 600) has made no secret of his premiership aspirations over the years, so it was little surprise when he walked to the Tigers as a free agent at the end of last year. One of the best contested marks in the game, Lynch also has great endurance and is capable of getting up to the wing and beyond when starved of possession in the forward line – something that should be a far rarer occurrence in his new colours. Niggling injuries are an issue and will need to be monitored, but Thomas J is an interesting midpriced option for your forward line (if fit).
The remainder of the Tigers forward line is an armada of small to medium sized options such as Kane Lambert ($481 800), Shane Edwards ($470 600), Josh Caddy ($458 400) and second-year tyro Jack Higgins ($392 700). I’m not sure any of these are consistent enough to be Supercoach-viable, although Higgins is sure to be a mid-fwd option in future years.
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