North all over the Tigers
Richmond drew first blood at Etihad Stadium but it was North Merlbourne that piled on the second-half pressure to turn the tables on the Tigers.PT0M0S 620 349
Richmond's wretched season will not affect its long-term strategy, with the club set to be major player in coming free agency periods.
Speaking after Richmond meekly surrendered a 35-point half-time lead to lose by 28 points to North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Sunday night, the Tigers' football manager Dan Richardson indicated that they had a sizeable war chest that would be utilised over the next two years.
“The bottom line is we’ve got room to recruit and we will be active in that regard," Richdardson said. Despite the Tigers being 3-8 and seemingly out of finals contention, he said plans at Punt Road would not be "thrown out the window."
The Tiger Army continues to support Richmond, despite a deflating season. Photo: Getty Images
He also suggested that Richmond would be faced with a balancing act in continuing to strive for wins, while simultaneously testing players with limited senior exposure.
“Certainly over the next few months our list strategy over will be a big focus."
With three decades of torment for Richmond supporters showing few signs of abating, Tigers ruckman Ivan Maric has expressed his sympathy for the club’s diehards.
Tiger players trudge off after their defeat to North Melbourne, perhaps their most disappointing loss of 2014. Photo: Justin McManus
“They’re fantastic supporters and they’ve been patient for a long time, and the game’s unfair at times to the fans,” Maric said.
Reflecting on his team’s capitulation, Maric pinpointed two fundamental areas in which Richmond had fallen away after half-time.
“North Melbourne got a bit of a run on, and we couldn’t stop it, so we’ve got to get better at that, and it’s really simple things … contested ball and defending really well.
“It’s hard to stop when a team’s got a run on like that, but it doesn’t mean you can’t. We’ve just got to look at why we couldn’t stop it and make sure it doesn’t happen again. It’s hard to accept the way we’re playing because I feel like we’re so much better than that.”
Maric denied that a lack of on-field leadership was to blame for the fadeout, despite the largely anonymous second-half showings of captain Trent Cotchin and Brett Deledio, as well as the monstering of key defender Troy Chaplin by previously out-of-form North forward Drew Petrie. Deledio and Cotchin came under particularly pointed criticism from former Demon champion Garry Lyon on radio.
Lyon argued that Cotchin "had no presence when the game was on the line", while Deledio shirked his responsibility by walking lackadaisically from the wing into the centre square during the second half. Maric, also a member of the leadership group, also copped flak from from Lyon, condemned for giving away a 50-metre penalty in the final quarter for umpire abuse.
Maric was also forced to defend the side’s fitness; an area also mentioned as cause for concern by some pundits.
“I can honestly say I was running hard the whole game. Compared to last week where the effort wasn’t there, last night there was a huge improvement in effort,” Maric said.
Opposing ruckman Todd Goldstein was arguably the most influential player on the ground on Sunday night as he drove the Kangaroos’ resurgence with artful tapwork. Maric said his teammates needed to apply more pressure and prevent easy opposition exits from stoppages.
“I didn’t feel they were getting really clean ball out of the centre, it was more so what was happening afterwards.”
Maric vowed to remain optimistic, and indicated that his team was capable of beating Fremantle next Saturday at the MCG. The Tigers defeated the Dockers there last season.
“We need to slowly build our confidence. I’ve been at a lower point than this. Because I’ve been there before, I know how to get out of it. The only way is to keep improving.”