2022 Pocket Profile: Richmond Tigers
After three premierships and a preliminary final appearance in four years, it would be fair to say 2021 didn’t exactly go to plan for the Tigers. A mixture of on and off-field issues, injuries to key players, and just plain old average form lead to a 9-12 (1 draw) win/loss record and a 12th place finish.
It’s inevitable that a team that has had sustained success will drop off at some point, however, there has been plenty of buzz among supporters and punters alike that the Tigers will come roaring (sorry) back in 2022. The list is still in pretty good shape and if the Tigers can avoid the injuries that derailed their 2021 a return to the top 8 isn’t out of the question.
All that said, we’re here for the potential SuperCoach picks and not my ramblings on what went wrong last season and what needs to happen for the year ahead. Historically speaking, Richmond have never been super relevant in the world of SuperCoach, but let’s get into it!
Dustin Martin ($504,500 MID/FWD)
I know, I know, having Dusty as the “lock” is a bit of a cop out, but even your most casual SuperCoacher will see the value in a 500k Dusty. A lacerated kidney put an early end to his 2021 season and it was reported that he lost almost 15kg during his recovery, however, I think he’ll benefit from the early break and a full preseason. 2021 was the first time since 2014 he has averaged under 100 and at a touch over 500k with DPP status, I think he’ll find his way into a few teams.
With a glut of young midfielders coming through and Richmond’s forward line depth taking a hit with the departures of Callum Coleman-Jones and Mabior Chol, Dusty may spend a bit more time forward. This is not necessarily a bad thing though, he kicked 37 goals in 2017 and averaged 121.
For a long time I considered writing up Jayden Short ($535,200 DEF)) for this section on the back of two 95+ seasons, but we expect a lot from our premium defenders and I don’t think he has quite earned our trust yet.
Sydney Stack ($368,800 DEF)
I’ve written this section about seven times trying to decide on the right breakout candidate. As I said above there will be plenty of young midfielders that will get increased opportunities this year, but a lot of the responsibility will continue to fall on Dusty, Trent Cotchin, Dion Prestia, Shane Edwards etc, so it might be a year or two early before we see guys like Riley Collier-Dawkins ($309,000 MID) and Jack Ross ($295,900 MID) becoming true SuperCoach options.
Stack, however, will likely have the wing to himself and while it didn’t always translate to SuperCoach, he showed some positive signs in the backend of last season. When he puts it all together he can go big (25 disposals, 10 marks, 149SC in round 20 last year).
He’s obviously not going to put up these kinds of numbers every week and he’s not someone you’re going to start with, but a consistent start to the year will do wonders for his confidence. Keep an eye on him and reassess around the bye.
Daniel Rioli ($336,000 DEF/FWD)
We all know Rioli as the low scoring small forward and small forwards are literally kryptonite in SuperCoach. However, a switch to the backline late in the season to cover for the loss of Bachar Houli saw him average 84.5 in the final 6 weeks of the season (83, 111, 54, 87, 95, 77) and with Houli now hanging up the boots, this role will likely continue. Take the 54 out of this 6-game run and the average jumps to 90.6.
It’s the DPP that excites me though. We’ve been #blessed with plenty of value options in both positions so I don’t reckon many will be looking his way, but if BBL SuperCoach is any indication, we’ll need to be flexible this year for when/if COVID strikes, so keep him in your thoughts.
Josh Gibcus ($171,300 DEF)
Despite having 5 draft picks inside the top 30 at the 2021 AFL Draft, the Tigers at full strength will be a difficult lineup to break into. Gibcus and his fellow first round selection, Tom Brown ($135,300 DEF) would be the most likely to get a chance from this crop, but I’ve gone Gibcus rather than Brown because, as I mentioned with Dusty, Richmond lacks depth in tall forwards and Gibcus may get to cut his teeth up forward until there is a spot for him down back.
The caveat is that not many will be keen to pay 170k for a first year KPP. So if injuries did hit down back then Brown, an athletic rebound defender, would slot in nicely at a time where sides will be looking to emulate the Dees premiership blueprint of having skilled ball users building the play from defence.
This pains me to write, but as a seasoned SuperCoacher you need to seperate your head from your heart and, as I said in my intro, Richmond just aren’t a fantasy relevant team.
Dusty is a “safe” risk and worth a roll of the dice given his price and DPP status, but picking players returning from injury always comes with an element of doubt and, given a lacerated kidney isn’t your typical injury, the fear of the unknown is greater than usual. Rioli is also worth a punt for coaches with 27 burner accounts (*cough* Patch – not confirmed but suspected) for the same reasons as Dusty.
My um, “professional” (?) opinion is it’s probably better to be reactive if you are keen on picking up a player from the Tigers. They’ll be wanting to prove that the premiership window is still open and while there isn’t a single player that screams “pick me”, looking at the price list everyone is fairly cheap.