Why a “rewired” Richmond could be a “dangerous” proposition

The critics are divided when it comes to Richmond.

Some believe they are not good enough to contend, some are indifferent and some are keeping the faith.

The analysis comes on the back of two straight wins which has seen the Tigers move into the eight as the competition’s second highest scorers – a stat which may have snuck under the radar.

On the back of their 27-point win over Collingwood last weekend, former Magpies coach Nathan Buckley dissected how Damien Hardwick has been able to turn things around after a subpar beginning to the season.

The Tigers lost to Carlton (Round 1), St Kilda (Round 3), Adelaide (Round 5) and Melbourne (Round 6), while beating GWS (Round 2) and the Western Bulldogs (Round 4), prior to successive wins over West Coast and the Pies.

Buckley has been impressed by the way Hardwick and his coaching staff have been able to “rewire” things at Punt Road.

“They got to a point where (people were saying) they don’t have this, they don’t have that and there was the slows on them,” Buckley said on SEN’s Whateley.

“I just reckon they have rewired really well.”

Buckley touched on a number of individual moves that have worked well for the Tigers, particularly in recent weeks.

“Dan Rioli wasn’t having an impact as a forward (last year) so he’s been schooled as a back. I reckon he’s playing the best footy of his career as a back,” he said.

“The last two weeks, we’ve had the second ruckman come in. So (Ivan) Soldo has come in with (Toby) Nankervis which gives you an extra (tall). It’s not just about the ruck role, it gives you an extra big body in the front half, and that’s allowed (Noah) Balta to go back.

“That may have always been the plan. ‘Noah was great at times forward, but we need to make sure we’ve got that intercept defender’. He’s played really well the last couple of weeks.

“They needed more pressure. (Liam) Baker went in behind the ball to solidify that. ‘We need more pressure because that’s what we base our game on’. Maurice Rioli has got the traits, he’s got a bit of up and go. That 10-minute period he played and you saw the excitement of his teammates to see those run-down tackles, to see the selfless play and setting up the goals.

“That could be anything. You’ve got the young kid now he feels like he belongs, he believes, is valued and trusted and his natural traits are going to make them better.

“Then you’ve got Dustin Martin sliding back in, Kane Lambert has slid back in. They still haven’t got Dion Prestia, still haven’t got (Nick) Vlastuin, (Dylan) Grimes is back in, (Josh) Gibcus is standing up as a back.

“Then Tom Lynch speaks about, ‘we just decided in the last couple of weeks to try and move the ball a little bit faster through the midfield’.”

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