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14 in 14: Alex Rance

Rance's 2014 season Highlights from the 2014 season of Alex Rance.
Alex Rance of the Tigers in action during the 2014 AFL Round 19 match between the Richmond Tigers and the GWS Giants at the MCG, Melbourne on August 02, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Alex Rance of the Tigers in action during the 2014 AFL Round 19 match between the Richmond Tigers and the GWS Giants at the MCG, Melbourne on August 02, 2014. (Photo: Michael Willson/AFL Media)

In the fifth of a richmondfc.com.au special post-season series, focusing on the 14 key findings from the Tigers’ 2014 season, we appraise the ascent of Alex Rance into the upper echelon of backmen within the AFL.


No. 5:  Alex Rance became one of the competition’s elite defenders.

After missing five games early in the season with a broken foot, Alex Rance went on to produce the best form of his six-year AFL career. 

He was outstanding across Richmond’s backline, averaging 17.3 disposals, 5.8 marks and a career-high 8.5 one percenters per game.

The 24-year-old key defender (he turns 25 on October 9), picked up a season-high 29 disposals against Fremantle at the MCG in Round 13, in a performance that encapsulated his all-round ability. 

Bid on 2014 Richmond signed match-worn guernseys, including Alex Rance’s

Not only does Rance consistently negate the opposition’s most dangerous key forwards, but he also provides all-important rebound out of the backline for the Tigers due to his ball-getting ability.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick declared during the 2014 season that there wasn’t a better one-on-one player in the competition than Alex Rance.

The consistency with which Rance won the ball back for the team through strong, contested marking, and cat-like anticipation at ground level, together with his trademark bravery and desperation, made him such a major factor in Richmond’s nine-game winning streak that clinched a finals berth.

In the final home-and-away round against Sydney at ANZ Stadium, Rance produced one of the truly great defensive performances of the modern league football era.

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A dozen of the 16 disposals he picked up in that crucial clash were from intercept possessions – with a staggering six of those coming in the frenetic final term, as the Tigers desperately fought to stay in front of the surging Swans.

Rance formed an impenetrable barricade inside Richmond’s back half, repeatedly cutting off dangerous Sydney thrusts, and ensuring the Tigers secured the ninth straight win they needed to make the finals.

So awesome was Rance during that last quarter, teammate Jack Riewoldt was moved to describe it as, “probably the best quarter of footy I reckon I’ve ever seen someone play”.

Fittingly, Rance received 10 out of 10 from respective coaches Damien Hardwick and John Longmire for his tremendous Round 23 display.

Also, appropriately, he got the nod from the All-Australian selectors for the first time, being named at centre half-back in the competition’s official 2014 Team of the Year.

It’s great reward for a player that has worked so hard to become one of the best at his craft . . .