JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Tigers scout for the best to rebuild

Date

Michael Gleeson

Richmond is following the Sydney model to create a winning combination, writes Michael Gleeson.

Tiger tactics: Richmond's Shaun Grigg was brought in to fill a specific role.

Tiger tactics: Richmond's Shaun Grigg was brought in to fill a specific role. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

RICHMOND and Melbourne for the past decade have been like Beirut — in a perpetual state of rebuilding.

Most recently the sides have tracked one another’s progress after finishing bottom together in 2009, the Demons just edging the Tigers out for the wooden spoon and with it the open choice of any teenager they wanted. In the years since they have followed one another around the ladder, never finishing more than a few places apart and never far from the bottom.

Melbourne started the process of rejuvenating its playing list sooner than Richmond, having finished bottom in 2008 when Richmond finished in the loveless ninth place — close to finals but still a long way from it.

But both teams understood that the bulk of their existing players were not going to be premiership players at their clubs so they set about constructing the teams that would win them a flag. The approach Richmond has taken in the past three years differs from the one Melbourne has adopted. It is premature to judge the success of either approach regardless of Melbourne’s as-yet winless season, but rather to acknowledge a difference of philosophy.

Melbourne has taken the classic youth-driven path of investing in the draft to stockpile talent, following what it considers the Geelong model. Richmond, partly due to a more limited access to the draft, has followed the model taken by Sydney, in keeping its best picks but also chasing some experienced players. The Swans have long believed they could not afford to bottom out so have not been as enamoured of untried youth. They have been more prepared to trade for bankable commodities (players of exposed assets and liabilities) and players who were at once still young in years but mature of body.


The Swans have cannily acquired Josh Kennedy, Shane Mumford, Ted Richards, Rhyce Shaw and Ben McGlynn. All of them were chased not just because they were available but because they served a specific purpose and were available because they were starved of opportunity at their clubs. The most outrageously successful of these is Kennedy.

This is the model Richmond adopted when coach Damien Hardwick arrived. When he walked in, Richmond had a batch of over 30s who all departed, and left behind a classroom of kids.

Richmond made another telling appointment in Blair Hartley (former Essendon opposition scout, then Port Adelaide recruiter) as the club’s ‘‘pro scout’’, or recruiter analysing other AFL, VFL and other state league lists. Other clubs had such a scout but not the Tigers.

The issue for Richmond — and one reason it was in a different situation to Melbourne, which had more of an even generational spread of older players — was that, also unlike Melbourne, it was going to be denied the best draft picks that had been available to other teams at ground zero and facing a rebuild. Richmond’s ground-zero moment coincided with the arrival of the expansion teams and the loss of the best draft picks. The classic youth rebuild was not available to the Tigers.

‘‘We were not going to be able to do the rebuild by just going to the draft all the time for 18-year-olds,’’ president Gary March said.

‘‘We are by no means saying we are there yet. But if you ask about rebuilding, we looked at our list when Damien came in and we knew we had a big hole in the players in their mid-20s, and there was a clear strategy from the footy department to bring in guys in the 22-25 bracket to complement the list.

‘‘Blair Hartley was a really important appointment for us and he and Craig Cameron went out and really looked at the players that were out there in that age bracket.’’

Ivan Maric, Shaun Grigg, Bachar Houli and Steven Morris have all been brought in to fill specific roles, and were available because of lack of opportunity. Maric had his best game yet last week as he delivers on the promise of being an honest competitor with known limitations. Grigg is a big-bodied, strong athlete with enormous aerobic ability who has an ability to find the ball. He can sit on a wing and collect 30 possessions instead of a 19-year-old gathering 15 and being buffeted.

Brad Miller was gone from Melbourne but taken by Richmond as a mature-aged rookie. In many ways he will be the classic ‘‘bridging player’’, but he has been a big body to help ease the burden on a young Ty Vickery and Jack Riewoldt.

5 comments so far

  • "IT'S hard to remember an AFL coach who had a tougher initiation than Mark Neeld."

    Er... Damien Hardwick in 2010? Lost the first 9 and Richmond weren't going to win a game, were a Fitzry-esque basket case apperently

    Short media memory

    Commenter
    cardtrader
    Location
    Richmond
    Date and time
    May 11, 2012, 8:40AM
    • Sydney are the classic Moneyball team - finding value for money and fulfilling needs. Not a bad system to emulate.

      Commenter
      cardtrader
      Location
      Richmond
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 8:53AM
      • Do not forget the extra $ Sydney has in their Salary cap. They got Mumford because Geelong could not match the huge $ Sydney offered him.
        I would like to see how well Sdney would go if they had the same Salary cap as the Melb. clubs.

        Commenter
        terry
        Location
        cairns
        Date and time
        May 11, 2012, 11:23AM
    • Blair does like his "Moneyball" style stats analysis of players, so the recent recruits from other clubs haven't been the disasters of the recent past.

      Richmond's biggest problem is still the same one that has handicapped them since 2000 - making mistakes in the draft and then retaining those players for far too long to protect the egos and reputations of those who picked them.

      The refusal to admit mistakes and move players on after 3 years instead of 5 or 6 continues to cripple Richmond - the absurd contract extensions for players based on nothing but "potential" makes us a laughing stock in the AFL.

      Commenter
      DC
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 11, 2012, 1:13PM
      • Er, Richmond are actually copying Carlton, according to this same paper's Jake Niall last Sunday (May 6). Or maybe there are too many footy journos with not enough to say. Personally I'd be happy if the Tigers emulated any side which wins most of the time by doing just that.

        Commenter
        Murpht
        Date and time
        May 11, 2012, 1:46PM

        Make a comment

        You are logged in as [Logout]

        All information entered below may be published.

        Error: Please enter your screen name.

        Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

        Error: Please enter your comment.

        Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

        Post to

        You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

        Thank you

        Your comment has been submitted for approval.

        Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

        Related Coverage

        AFL 2015

        Round 1
        Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
        CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
        Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
        MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
        SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
        BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
        WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
        Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
        STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
        ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
        FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
        Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
        HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 2
        Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
        WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
        Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
        RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
        GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
        COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
        GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
        PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
        Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
        GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
        ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
        NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 3
        Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
        COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
        Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
        CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
        ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
        SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
        NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
        BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
        Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
        HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
        GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
        WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 4
        Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
        RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
        Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
        STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
        ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
        GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
        PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
        FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
        Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
        BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
        GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
        WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 5
        Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
        CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
        Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
        RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
        SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
        GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
        NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
        WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
        Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
        MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
        STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
        ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 6
        Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
        COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
        Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
        NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
        WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
        GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
        GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
        MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
        FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
        Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
        CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
        PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 7
        Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
        ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
        Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
        ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
        HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
        CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
        SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
        WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
        Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
        WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
        RIC 105vs COL 100 Report Stats
        BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 8
        Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
        GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
        Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
        STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
        GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
        GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
        HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
        FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
        Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
        ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
        MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
        PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 9
        Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
        SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
        Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
        HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
        MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
        WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
        RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
        ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
        Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
        BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
        COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
        WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 10
        Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
        FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
        Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
        GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
        ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
        PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
        Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
        GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
        NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
        STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
        Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
        MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 11
        Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
        PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
        Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
        GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
        WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
        NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
        Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
        COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
        STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 12
        Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
        ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
        Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
        RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
        Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
        GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
        WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
        Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
        GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 13
        Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
        FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
        Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
        SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
        Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
        HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
        BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
        STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
        Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
        CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 14
        Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
        SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
        Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
        COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
        Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
        GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
        WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
        MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
        Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
        ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
        ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
        FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 15
        Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
        PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
        Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
        Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
        ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
        WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
        NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
        WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
        Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
        GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
        HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
        BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 16
        Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
        NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
        Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
        GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
        GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
        COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
        SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
        FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
        Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
        MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
        PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
        STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 17
        Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
        CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
        Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
        GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
        ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
        RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
        ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
        BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
        Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
        WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
        MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
        WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 18
        Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
        HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
        Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
        GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
        COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
        SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
        CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
        GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
        Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
        PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
        ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
        FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 19
        Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
        ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
        Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
        COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
        WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
        BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
        GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
        WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
        Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
        MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
        GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
        STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 20
        Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
        SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
        Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
        ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
        NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
        PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
        GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
        BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
        Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
        RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
        WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
        FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 21
        Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
        HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
        Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
        COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
        GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
        GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
        STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
        ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
        Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
        NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
        CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
        WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
        View All Fixtures
        Round 22
        Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
        GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
        Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
        GWS ($1.22)vs CAR ($4.50) 13:45Spotless Stadium
        HAW ($1.01)vs BRI ($17.00) 14:10AS
        NTH ($1.67)vs WBU ($2.25) 16:35ES
        ESS ($6.75)vs RIC ($1.12) 19:20MCG
        GCF ($3.30)vs PTA ($1.35) 19:20MS
        Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
        ADE ($2.05)vs WCE ($1.80) 13:10Adelaide Oval
        STK ($4.50)vs SYD ($1.22) 15:20ES
        FRE ($1.08)vs MEL ($8.50) 16:40Domain Stadium
        View All Fixtures
        Round 23
        Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
        RIC vs NTH 19:50ES
        Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
        GEE ($2.00)vs ADE ($1.75) 13:05SS
        BRI ($3.50)vs WBU ($1.28) 13:45G
        PTA ($1.75)vs FRE ($2.00) 15:50Adelaide Oval
        HAW ($1.01)vs CAR ($15.00) 16:40MCG
        SYD ($1.02)vs GCF ($12.00) 19:20SCG
        WCE ($1.11)vs STK ($6.25) 19:40Domain Stadium
        Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
        MEL vs GWS 13:10ES
        COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
        View All Fixtures
        AFL 2015
        Overall standings
        Team P W L D % Pts
        Fremantle 20 16 4 0 122.19 64
        West Coast Eagles 20 15 4 1 150.85 62
        Hawthorn 20 14 6 0 154.20 56
        Sydney Swans 20 14 6 0 118.16 56
        Richmond 20 13 7 0 120.22 52
        Western Bulldogs 20 13 7 0 116.09 52
        North Melbourne 20 13 7 0 110.91 52
        Adelaide Crows 19 12 7 0 116.41 50
        View all
         

        Follow Us on Facebook

        Featured advertisers