Richmond match up well against Hawthorn, the Tigers have in fact won three of their past four meetings with the Hawks. It should serve as something of a confidence boost, with the Tigers looking to turn around their sluggish start to the season. It’s a daunting task to take on the reigning Premiers, but with many writing off the Tigers, it gives them a chance to roll the dice in a match few would expect them to win.
Many of the Tiger faithful remember the way the boys in the Yellow and Black beat an undermanned Hawthorn side during the NAB Challenge in February, but this counts for little during the Home and Away season. Hawthorn are looking to turn things around as well, after they were comprehensively beaten by Greater Western Sydney in the previous round. The rebound Hawks are an even scarier proposition for the Tigers...but they are confident of causing an upset on Friday night. It will be only the fourth time the Tigers and Hawks have met on a Friday night at the MCG whereby Richmond remains undefeated.
Speaking as part of this week’s edition of Roar Vision’s ‘Opposition Analysis’, Richmond Forwards Coach Greg Mellor believes that if the Tigers come and play their way, be strong and tough at the contest and use the ball well, there is no reason why they can’t win the game. Mellor says “...it’s about controlling the footy...if we use the ball, move it on quickly; they’ve shown that they can be scored against (in 2016)”.
A focus for Richmond will be curtailing the significant influence of Hawthorn’s prolific ball-winning midfield champion Sam Mitchell, who is averaging 34 disposals per game after the first six rounds this season. He’s not the only one though with the trio of small forwards – Luke Bruest, Paul Puopolo and Cyril Rioli also key players the Tigers will need to nullify on Friday night. Given they were the difference in the last Home and Away meeting, Anthony Miles and Dustin Martin may be the ones again. Miles was best on ground with 30 disposals, while Martin racked up 27. Ivan Maric too dominated in the ruck with 31 hit-outs, but he will be missing from the team this time around.
Any which way you slice it, Hawthorn have been off their game so far this season and only sits 4-2 and in eighth spot because of their experience and ability to get over the line in tight games – prior to the humbling loss to the Giants, the Hawks had one three games straight by three points. They might consider this Friday night the perfect opportunity to play themselves back into premiership-winning form. Equally Richmond may have the confidence to finally notch up win number two of the season and get the ball rolling on a so far lacklustre season 2016.
What are your thoughts on the game ahead?