Richmond put on a very unprofessional performance against Sydney on Saturday afternoon. It was like the Greater Western Sydney debacle in Canberra all over again, but somehow seemingly worse than that. Even with Damien Hardwick lamenting that they had all but given up two months ago does not make the pain and frustration the Tiger faithful feel towards their beloved Club any easier to take. So often, Clubs that are out of finals contention want to finish off the season strongly to give their supporters something to look forward to in the following season, but Richmond looked all at sea yesterday. It is hard not to think that Hardwick’s viewpoint somehow impacted on his team; not that is an excuse for the performance at the SCG.
The Swans were as good as the Tigers were bad, dominating every aspect of the game. The fact that the commentary team on Fox Footy repeatedly referred to Richmond as witches’ hats at practice for Sydney was unfortunately not far off the mark – no pressure, no want or desire. Lots of – what has happened to Richmond? – permeated social media, often from those who were supporters of rival Clubs. You could say that the Greater Western Sydney game was commendable in comparison. The goals for the Tigers were few and far between, whilst the Swans penetrated again and again with absolute ease. It was concerning, frustrating, disappointing and hard to watch for even the staunchest of Richmond supporters.
The same Fox Footy team were particularly critical of the Richmond defence. However, Richmond was poor all over the ground. In the past, the Tigers have managed to match it with the Swans in the midfield – on Saturday afternoon though, no less than six midfielders finished with more than 30 possessions, a damning and telling statistic. Much of the Tigers’ pain stemmed from the ease with which the Swans moved the ball as they generated 57 points alone from chains starting in the defensive 50. It is hard to believe that the Tigers once had a good recent record against the Swans – winning their previous three clashes and six of the past nine. The humiliating loss to Sydney this time around marked the Club 14th of the season that leaves them sitting in 13th place on the ladder – the lowest placing since it finished 15th way back in 2010. The 113-point loss was also its biggest since Round 6, 2007 and it’s highest under Hardwick. It is therefore not surprising that it’s also their biggest loss interstate.
Sydney thus wrapped up the minor premiership for just the third time in the Club’s history; it was all theirs by the first break really, as they set about demolishing Richmond. There will no doubt be changes afoot in the long off-season for the Tigers now – on-field and off-field. One hopes that Richmond fulfil the words of Hardwick from Fox Footy’s On The Couch only a few weeks ago – that Richmond will be playing finals again in 2017 – many would think this is a highly unlikely possibility as it stands right now.
Final Score: SYD 25.14.164 to RICH 7.9.51.
TOP 3 TIGERS:
1. ALEX RANCE: Pick of the Tigers, yet again. He finished with 22 disposals, 13intercepts and nine marks (five of which were intercept marks).
2. TRENT COTCHIN: The Captain came to life in the second half, doing his best to make the margin somewhat respectable. He finished with 23 disposals, eight clearances, 19 pressure acts and three goals.
3. TAYLOR HUNT: The maligned defender had a solid game on a dark day for the Club. He finished with 28 disposals, five intercepts, eight marks and seven pressure acts.
What were your thoughts on the game?