Jack Tobin will be previewing EVERY team in the lead up to the 2022 season, while PuntingInDanger and his crew will be back this year to give their betting tips on every game. Be sure to head to the AFL Tips page for regular updates!
Richmond Tigers Season Preview
In: Robbie Tarrant (North Melbourne), Josh Gibcus (Pick 9), Tom Brown (Pick 17), Tyler Sonsie (Pick 28), Sam Banks (Pick 29), Judson Clarke (Pick 30)
Out: Mabior Chol (Gold Coast), Callum Coleman-Jones (North Melbourne)
Richmond lost young talls Mabior Chol and Callum Coleman-Jones, but were able to secure a desperately needed key defender in Robbie Tarrant. The Tigers had their strongest draft hand in years and made good use of it securing intercepting defenders Josh Gibcus and Tom Brown. While they were also able to get Tyler Sonsie at pick 28 which could turn out to be a major steal. It was a different offseason than what Richmond have been accustomed to with their recent success, but they did an excellent job.
2021 was a difficult year for the Tigers, and it was clear to see that playing deep into September for four consecutive seasons had taken its toll. There was an abundance of injuries to key players such as Dustin Martin, Dion Prestia, Kane Lambert, Trent Cotchin, Noah Balta and Nick Vlaustin. If Richmond can get a good run on the injury front, particularly their midfielders, they’ll be poised to make another tilt deep into the season.
With a healthy Dustin Martin set to a permanent midfielder, Richmond’s midfield will be vastly improved from 2021. The Tigers ranked 18th for clearances, 9th for disposals and 10th for tackles. It’s difficult to see Richmond ranking so low in those categories two years in a row.
The young crop of Tigers who have been developing in the VFL during the dynasty will get opportunities in 2022, which will have Richmond fans excited. Thomson Dow and Hugo Ralphsmith were outstanding in a practice match against Geelong last week, with Ralphsmith looking to take over from Bachar Houli’s half back role.
Richmond’s iconic system will hold them in good stead with a healthy list this season. Their surge mentality football with the ability to retain the ball inside their forward half through turnover, stands up in the modern game.
Breakout Player: Hugo Ralphsmith
Coming into his third season Ralphsmith is set to be a crucial part of Richmond’s defence, pairing up with Jayden Short at half back. Ralphsmith’s run and carry off half back was a highlight of the Tigers practice match against the Cats, and looks to be picking up the role that Bachar Houli had occupied for many years. With an opportunity to string together consistent games for the first time in his career, Ralphsmith is set for a big campaign in 2022.
What Do The Tigers Need To Do In 2022?
Keeping their best players on the park for the majority of the year is the Tigers biggest challenge, they’ve got plenty of proven talent with big game experience that can take them a long way in 2022 if they stay fit. Cotchin (17 games), Martin (16), Shane Edwards (16), Balta (14) Lambert (13) and Prestia (9) all missed large chunks of 2021. A longer preseason than what they’ve had in their dynasty era should help keep these premiership stars healthy for the majority of the season.
Richmond are well positioned to jump back up the ladder and make a finals appearance in 2022. The abundance of injuries last season gave the likes of Jack Graham, Liam Baker and Shai Bolton to take their games to the next level. Adding back the likes of Martin, Cotchin, Prestia, Lambert and Valustin to their side makes them a seriously dangerous outfit. With youngsters such as Thomson Dow and Hugo Ralphsmith ready to become consistent senior players, there is plenty of depth at Richmond. Their midfield doesn’t match up well against the top four sides, so they won’t be pushing for a premiership, however this Tigers side will be looking to bounce back in a big way in 2022.