Why “scary” Richmond is well equipped to deny a rapid fall

Historically, after four or so years at the very top, AFL teams begin to fall away.

With three premierships in four seasons, it is largely the opinion that Richmond is towards the back-end of a dynasty that may see them begin to drop off sooner than later.

Many have questioned whether the Tigers will have the hunger to go again, but Glen Jakovich is confident they will once more be a genuine flag threat.

The West Coast great feels that Damien Hardwick’s side will have plenty of challengers this year but believes the playing group is perfectly placed to see that off and play quality football again.

“Don’t bet against them,” he said on Sportsday WA.

“That’s what I’ve learnt with looking at Richmond’s side. It’s amazing.

“Much to be respected for this football club both on and off the field.

“I don’t want to hear the Tigers’ song too much this year. It is a great song but we’ve heard a fair bit of it in the last four years.

“Sides like Collingwood, Port (Adelaide), Brisbane, Geelong, the Saints and West Coast, they’ll be at their feet and they’ll be pushing them. ”

The Tigers start the 2021 season with games against Carlton (MCG), Hawthorn (MCG), Sydney (MCG), Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval), St Kilda (Marvel) and Melbourne (MCG) in the opening six rounds which suggests to Jakovich that they will be in a very strong position early in the campaign.

He knows that it will be difficult for the yellow and black to consistently perform at their peak but says their best is “scary” and good enough to withstand the pressure.

“I expect them to be four and two at worst after that start, which tells me straight away they are going to finish top four,” he added.

“My theme for the Tigers is: Their hunger will get challenged this year.”

He continued: “Our system is designed for Richmond to fall and to fall rapidly, but they’re going to deny that.

“In the core group there’s a lot of hunger still there. There’s still some years left, they’re not 32, 33 or 34. Some of them are in their prime.

“Can they handle the pressure? There’s no doubting they can but they will get challenged.

“It’s all mental for them. Physically, if their game is on, it’s scary.”

Jakovich also identified the key players at Tigerland who will again be at the fore as they chase a 14th premiership.

“If you look at their list, their core group that I’ve identified is dynamite,” he said of the personnel.

“I don’t say this in a disrespectful way, they’re not really household names, but they’d be the first ones I’d love to play alongside.

“That’s Nick Vlastuin, Dylan Grimes, Dion Prestia.

“Dustin Martin is an out and out superstar and he’s going to be a legend one day.

“Jack Riewoldt, is he coming towards the end? He just started to fade a little bit, but he’s got great support in Tom Lynch.

“Trent Cotchin, soft tissue injuries, but Shane Edwards, Jason Castagna, David Astbury, Bachar Houli, Josh Caddy, Liam Baker, Jayden Short, Kamdyn McIntosh and Nathan Broad. That’s their core, they rarely get injured.

“They’ve been able to hold their list, and it’s very, very strong.

“For them to win it they need to have a very healthy list again.”

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Annie Palmer / CNBC:

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