The Giants and Tigers have met five times and Richmond has won all of them, with two of the victories coming by more the 100 points. It is unlikely the Tigers will notch up a sixth straight victory over the Giants this Saturday afternoon in Canberra though, especially when you consider that the last time these two sides played the Giants led by five points at half time and 15 at three-quarter time; before the Tigers overran them. When you add in the fact that GWS is the number one clearance side after 17 games averaging 41 per game and that the Giants have overtaken Adelaide as the highest scoring side in 2016, kicking 109 points per game...it doesn’t look good for the Tigers. However, as Damien Hardwick has stated in recent weeks, for Richmond now, it’s all about finishing the season off as strongly as possible; meaning they could cause an upset at StarTrack Oval.
It will be a formidable challenge for Richmond to come away with the victory over the Giants – they have a potent combination of bold run, crafty ‘keepings-off’ and heavy scoring. Perhaps they can take something from what Collingwood managed to do against them in Round 16 and beat the Giants at their own game. GWS currently sits second on the ladder with a 12-5 win-loss ratio and they also currently have the best percentage at 136.3. Their statistics in other areas are also impressive – ranked number one for kick-to-handball ratio and number three for uncontested marks.
Perhaps stating the obvious, Richmond Assistant Coach Ross Smith said as part of this week’s edition of Roar Vision’s Opposition Analysis, that “...we’re going to have to have really good structures against them . . . our structures need to be spot on”. It’s also about denying the Giants the ability to get the uncontested marks. To combat the run that GWS has in their side, the Tigers have brought some run into their side in the hopes they can hopefully compete with the opposition.
One player that Richmond will be wary of is veteran rebounding defender Heath Shaw, who has played a significant role in his side’s success so far this season. However, the Tigers are unlikely to start with a tight tag on him. Smith says of Shaw “we haven’t really tagged that much this year, certainly from a tagging forward’s perspective, either, but we have done it in the past with ‘Shawy’ ...I guess we’ll just see. If he’s really cutting us to pieces, we might go down that road.” The Tigers will also resist the urge to nullify the Giants’ group of top-notch midfielders, the likes of Callan Ward, Dylan Shiel, Tom Scully and Stephen Coniglio....at least not initially. It will no doubt be a midfield battle between the two sides and according to Smith, “if we can get our midfielders to compete with these blokes, it’s just about who can get the more ball on the outside. I think on the inside, we’ll compete really well.” The Giants will need to have their wits about them to stop Dustin Martin, yet they will need to keep a close eye on Trent Cotchin – the Captain was the difference last time the two teams met, racking up 33 disposals, two goals and seven tackles.
The neutral territory of Canberra’s StarTrack Oval might be an advantage for the Tigers; they might also catch the Giants on a lacklustre day. One thing is for sure Richmond needs to seriously atone for a horrendous performance against the Hawks last Sunday afternoon. The opportunity is there for the taking, it’s whether or not the Tigers are willing to take it and bring down the Giants’ percentage a few notches in the process.
What do you think will happen on Saturday afternoon?