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Mid-season report card

Mid-season report card Jen Phelan joins Matt Thompson to grade Richmond's first half of the season.

AFL.com.au reporter Jen Phelan evaluates Richmond’s first half of season 2018.

Highlight

“It was pretty hard to pick just one, but we’re going to go with the Round 13 win over Geelong. They won by 18 points, their pressure was back to an elite level after it fell off for a couple of weeks, and Daniel Rioli finally got back to playing. They beat a fellow heavyweight, they went to the top of the ladder for the first time since Round 8. There’s quite a few (highlights) that we could have gone with, but that’s the one I’ve picked out.”

Lowlight

“They’ve lost three games for the season, and this goes to show how much things can change in one week of football. We’ll go with Round 12’s loss to Port Adelaide, which was just one week before this big win over Geelong. It was their third loss on the road for the season. They only went down by 14 points and there was no Dusty (Dustin Martin), David Astbury hurt his ankle . . . there were a few things that went against them. Port got on this massive run in the second quarter and kicked seven goals. So, look, there wasn’t really a reason to panic, but it was probably their lowlight.”

Under the pump

“This is a bit of a different one. I’m going to go with Bachar Houli and Shaun Grigg. They’re not doing anything wrong, but they are both out of contract, they’re 30 years old, and they’re going to have to really show in the second half of the season why they’re required players for 2019 . . .”

Most impressive

“Just like the highlights, it’s pretty hard to pick just one. You can say Josh Caddy, he’s in All Australian contention. Jack Higgins has played nine games in his debut year. Shane Edwards is having a great year. But I’m going to go with Jayden Short. He’s become so important for them out of defence. He leads the Club for metres gained, he’s right up there with his effective disposals, his burst off half-back and through the middle makes him one of the competition’s most improved players, and he’s just become so important for them.” 

Grade

“I’m going to give them an A. The plus falls off because they have lost three games and they’ve all been on the road . . . Their interstate record is still a little bit questionable, so we’ll go with an A. Top of the ladder, there’s not much you can dispute there.”

Best and fairest

1. Trent Cotchin

2. Dustin Martin

3. Alex Rance

4. Josh Caddy

5. Jayden Short 

Best 21 and under: Dan Butler

Recruit of the year: Jack Higgins 

Most improved: Jayden Short 

Most courageous: Nick Vlastuin

Best team player: Shane Edwards 

Goal of the year: Jack Higgins, Round 3 v Hawthorn, MCG. The exciting young forward got his boot to a mid-air ball that came off hands to ram through a goal from point-blank range. 

Mark of the year: Jason Castagna, round 12 v Port Adelaide, Adelaide Oval. The small forward almost plants his knees on the shoulder of Tom Clurey, who is 12cm taller. 

Game milestones: Dustin Martin, 200 games; first week of finals. - Jennifer Phelan