This is the next of our submitted Club Dream Team Previews. Thanks to fightingfury for sending this one in! You will receive a stubby holder and if your article is one of the two that gets the most Facebook “Likes’ (just above this blurb), you’ll get yourself an AFL Prospectus! Read on!
2010: 6 Wins, 16 Losses, 15th Place
2011 Byes: Rounds 11 & 19
In: Shaun Grigg, Reece Conca, Jake Batchelor, Brad Helbig, Dean MacDonald, Tom Derickx, Bachar Houli, Ben Jakobi (Rookie), Brad Miller (Rookie)
Out: Andrew Collins, Ben Cousins, Alroy Gilligan (Rookie), Jordan McMahon, Graham Polak (Rookie), Dean Polo, Relton Roberts (Rookie), Troy Simmonds, Richard Tambling, Adam Thomson
So far there have been few injuries to complain about at Tigerland. The only injuries of note are those which occurred in 2010, including the hamstring injury to Daniel Jackson, the shoulder worries of Ben Griffths and the ongoing recovery of Nathan Foley. There are a few player training in the rehab group but without further injury all players should be available for Round 1.
2010 was a year of new beginnings for the Tigers. A new coach in Damien Hardwick arrived at Punt Road and with him he brought new assistants, a new gameplan and a whopping 14 new players. It was expected that the season would be a year of learning for the Tigers, but no one could predict just how dramatic that learning curve would be.
After nine rounds Richmond’s record read 0-9 as they easily sat in last place with a percentage of just over 50. The team was struggling in all aspects of the game and were fighting off comparisons to the former 90’s ‘death row’ team Fitzroy. Some Betting agencies had already paid out punters who backed Richmond in for the spoon. It took a downpour at AAMI Park and a lot of courage from the Richmond players to record their first win of the 2010 season and Hardwick’s first ever win as coach.
Since that win, Richmond managed to win 5 more games for the season including a streak of 4 games in a row. They even managed to scrape themselves off the bottom of the ladder thanks largely to a Coleman medal performance from Jumping Jack. There was no doubt the young Richmond list had improved throughout 2010 under rookie coach Damien Hardwick, but what does that mean for 2011?
2011 will be another learning curve for the Tigers but you wouldn’t expect it to be quite as steep as that in 2010. With another large influx of players there will be many who will be learning their roles within the team structure and the Hardwick gameplan. It would be expected that we will see natural improvement coming from the developing young players and this should result in a few more wins. While finals aren’t out of the question for any team, expect to see Richmond in the bottom 4 or 5 teams again in 2011.
2011 sees Richmond with a fairly neutral draw for Dream Team coaches. Their bye in Round 11 will provide benefits for those shooting for the car while their Round 19 bye coincides with a week off in Dream Team matches for those aiming for a league win.
Dream Team wise Richmond have always had their share of players who shined in fantasy land. Joel Bowden is one who comes to mind as one of the first ever defenders to rack up huge Dream Team Scores. 2010 saw the emergence of Riewoldt as a crucial forward line cog in many AFL Fantasy Teams across the globe while players like Deledio, Tuck and Newman continued their usual output of large scores.
While Hardwick’s simple gameplan of ‘kick it long to Jack’ meant fewer Dream Team points for Tiger players last year, in 2011 there will still be several players to again keep an eye out for. Having them in your team could make or break your season.
Brett Deledio (Back/Mid) (2010 DT Avg: 89)
Make no mistake, Deledio should be one of the first players picked in your fantasy team this year. After spending much of 2010 as a half back flanker, Brett is now listed as Defender as well as a midfielder. Deledio has always been a consistent scorer and as such can be relied on to score at least 80 points for your team every week, which is particularly pleasing if he is selected as a defender.
Deledio’s new dual status will also come in incredibly handy this year, allowing you to switch him into either the backline or midfield depending on Byes and/or injuries. Perhaps best of all, Lids is an incredibly durable player, having missed only 4 games since 2006 meaning once you lock him into your side you can be rest assured he will be playing close to every game of the year.
Shane Tuck (Mid) (2010 DT Avg: 96)
He may have been out of favour early last year but Shane Tuck proved once again just how big of a stat machine he is. Shane doesn’t have the prettiest disposal by foot but he gets the job done in Fantasy terms, amassing an average of 25.5 disposals across his 20 games in 2010. The best thing about having Tuck in your side is that he isn’t the most popular player amongst Fantasy Coaches despite his huge scores. This means that you may very well get the jump on your opposition with a different midfielder to most.
Jack Riewoldt (Fwd) (2010 DT Avg: 84)
2010 was a breakout year in every sense of the word for Jumping Jack. He managed to play all 22 games for his club, win All Australian selection and win the Coleman Medal as the league’s leading goal-kicker, all career firsts. As you would expect, Jack’s breakout season came a huge increase in Dreamteam scores. The great thing about Riewoldt was the ability to post huge scores when on song, as evidenced by his huge 10 goal performance against the Eagles. These huge scores can be invaluable for your team and can be the difference between winning and losing a match.
Just one word of caution: before coaches select Jack make sure you understand the risks involved. 2010 was a breakout year for Jack and as such clubs will be much more wary of him in 2011. This coupled with Richmond’s attempts to find other avenues in goal could actually result in lower scores for Riewoldt. This may be countered however by Jack shedding a few kilos in an attempt to move further up the ground. (http://tinyurl.com/4mdoy2e) Either way, picking Jack could just be the wildcard you need to win your league or even the car.
Nathan Foley (Mid) (2010 DT Avg: 71)
Foley could very well be one of the most selected players in Fantasy teams in 2011. Foley’s price should be incredibly low thanks to injuries that saw him miss 26 games through the last 2 years, including only 4 games in 2010. The coaches that can remember will recall a Foley that burst onto the scene in 2007 and 2008 which culminated in a Tribute State of Origin game and consistently large Dream Team scores. Even last year Foley managed to post large scores despite recovering from an injury, before he succumbed to yet another injury. That is the big risk with Foley, if he can stay fit then he could provide a very valuable cash cow or perhaps even remain a keeper in your midfield, if he falls to injury yet again then you may have to use up a trade to get him out.
Mitch Morton (Fwd/Mid) (2010 DT Avg: 76)
It may be news to some, but Mitch Morton may very well be a linchpin in your Fantasy Team in 2011. After a troublesome start to 2010 Morton was asked by his coaches to go back to the VFL and work on becoming a midfielder. Mitch did just that and finished off his year with a bang in the Richmond side. In the last 6 games of the season Mitch averaged a whopping 24 disposals a game as a midfielder/forward. The only thing yet to be seen is wether Mitch can continue this short run of form for an entire season. While Morton won’t score enough points to really consider as a midfielder, there is no doubt he should seriously be considered for a permanent forward position in your team.
Bachar Houli (Mid) (2010 DT Avg: 77)
Bachar comes to Richmond after managing only 5 games for Essendon in 2010. It’s somewhat hard to see why Houli wasn’t given more games last year as when he played he averaged a solid 20 disposals including 24 touches in Round 18. Bachar should see a marked increase in games at Richmond though as the Tigers had been wooing Houli for some time before Trade Week and obviously feel he fits the team well. Under Hardwick, Houli could very well have a breakout season and at the very least offer a decent cash cow.
Ben Nason (Fwd) (2010 DT Avg: 55)
Don’t get me wrong, Nason had a very good year in 2010 and has all the makings of a handy player, but Dream Team wise I would stay away this year. After starting off 2010 by playing the first 15 games of the season, Nason’s form and disposals dropped off as the season wore on. This is not uncommon for a first year player but in 2011 I’m not expecting enough improvement stats-wise to warrant what will be a higher price tag than 2010.
Rookies of note
Reece Conca (Mid) (2010 DT Avg: N/A)
One benefit of Richmond having such a young list is that many of their first year and therefore cheap players will play several games in 2011. Richmond were deeply infatuated with Reece prior to the Draft and nabbed their man a lot earlier than others had predicted. With his skills and leadership qualities, Reece Conca will definitely be the first Richmond Rookie to debut in 2011 barring an injury. In fact it is quite likely that we will see the Tiger’s first round pick play the majority of games in 2011, including the Round 1 blockbuster against Carlton. Don’t expect to see huge scores from this kid, but there is no doubt he will play enough games to warrant selection in your team as an avenue to purchasing a better midfielder later in the season.
Best of the Rest
Chris Newman (Back) (2010 DT Avg: 82)
The Richmond captain should again be a solid scorer in 2011. While it is rare for Newman to post incredibly large scores you rarely, if ever see him post incredibly low scores either. If you pick Newman it will be as a keeper and you can lock him in knowing he will score his 80 odd points every week.
Daniel Connors (Mid/Back) (2010 DT Avg: 92)
Connors is another who improved markedly in 2010, increasing his average Dream Team score from 36 in 2009 to 92 last year. While Connors isn’t quite as reliable as Deledio in terms of scoring, he has the ability to find plenty of the ball across half back and subsequently post big scores. The only question mark over Connors is his consistency in playing games as evidenced last year when he missed almost half the season due to ‘misdemeanours’. If you want an alternative option to the usual defenders the there is no doubt that Connors presents a viable option. Pick him though knowing that there is no guarantee of him playing every round despite his ‘keeper’ status.
Dustin Martin (Mid) (2010 DT Avg: 71)
Martin had a wonderful beginning to his AFL career, averaging 20.2 disposals and having an incredible impact in the guts for the Tigers. This year should see further development from the young gun even though he managed to turn up to training a little underdone after the Christmas break. Picking him however would pose a risk as he will now come with a much more expensive price-tag and a lot more attention given to him from the opposition.
Shane Edwards (Fwd/Back) (2010 DT Avg: 70)
Edwards had a solid year in 2010, managing to play all 22 games for the season. Shane found himself as somewhat of a swingman, playing both up forward and down back, as well as playing the occasional role in the midfield. If he can find himself in the midfield more often this year then Edwards may provide an option for those coaches looking for a forward or backline option.
If you are looking for a ruckman in 2011 then it’s probably best not to look at any Richmond players. All of the Tiger’s ruckmen are developing youngsters and as such struggle to have a large impact against their bigger bodied opponents. If you were to look at a player for Richmond then perhaps it would be best to look at a mature aged rookie in Derickx who could play at some stage an offer somewhat of a pathway to an upgrade.
B: M. Farmer, K. Moore, C. Newman
HB: D. Connors, D. Astbury, B. Deledio
C: T. Cotchin, D. Martin, S. Grigg
HF: M. Morton, B. Griffths, S. Edwards
F: J. King, J. Riewoldt, B. Nason
R: A. Graham, S. Tuck, N. Foley
INT: B. Houli, D. Jackson, T. Vickery
SUB: R. Conca
EMG: L. McGuane, T. Taylor, M. White