Tigers’ ‘Rance-less’ defence has monster concerns
RICHMOND'S "Rance-less" defence has held up admirably so far this season, but after being monstered for the second time in five weeks there remains a question mark on its vulnerability against big marking forwards.
Coach Damien Hardwick doesn't think so, citing the lack of pressure in the midfield as the leading cause of Friday night's 37-point loss to North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium, not the defensive structure.
He's right in that sense, but opposition clubs will be looking at what the Kangaroos' attack did, and to an extent what Bulldog Aaron Naughton did to the Tigers' defence at the same venue in round seven, and trying to replicate.
Naughton kicked five goals and took 14 marks for the Bulldogs in their win over the Tigers.
On Friday night, Ben Brown was too strong in the air with five goals and six marks, while Mason Wood (four goals and five marks) played one of his most complete games in Kangaroos colours.
Hardwick wasn't fazed, saying: "I thought they smashed us at the contest. You can put your best plans in place but if you are belted around the contest you will always look disorganised. That is going to happen when you don't compete as hard as you possibly should."
But the Tigers' back half looked a little disorganised at times, and both they and the midfield will need to get themselves in order ahead of a Friday night's appointment with Geelong - and Tom Hawkins - at the MCG.
It's a massive game for the Tigers, and may tell us where they are headed this season.
Going into last Friday night's game, the only team they had beaten in the top eight was Fremantle. This challenge against the Cats will be a formidable one.
Against the Kangaroos, it wasn't just the defence that looked at times out of whack for the Tigers, as their forward work wasn't to their normal standard.
Richmond had more inside 50s than North Melbourne - only marginally with two extra - but were beaten in and around the ball, which is not their trademark.
Hardwick isn't worried about the treatment key forward Tom Lynch is attracting from the opposition, but says he could be getting more off the umpires.
"Tom battles and creates contests, and kicked one, but Tom has come up with that through his career," Hardwick said.
"He is a good player and could he have been looked after a bit more (by the umpires)? Probably."