Hi guys! It’s so lovely to be writing my blog this week after such a great win. It felt weird to be waiting all weekend to watch our game on Monday night, but it was worth the wait in the end. We went over to Perth and beat the Eagles in a really convincing manner, having only won 3 of our last 17 matches again the Eagles.
The most pleasing element from this game for me would have to be how well the whole team played. Of course our stars like Deledio, Cotchin, Martin and Riewoldt played well, with Jack playing an ‘unselfish’ role taking his defender away from the goals to create space, but I was also impressed with several of our other players such as White, Shane Edwards, Aaron Edwards and Vlastuin. I have been so impressed with Vlastuin’s performances since his debut. He is a strong young player who puts his body on the line and tackles hard, as well as being a good decision maker with a smart football brain. He is a beautiful kick and I am sure all Richmond fans have enjoyed seeing him improve every week. It was great to see him really firing and kicking three goals, being our top goal scorer of the night.
I look forward to seeing how he develops throughout the rest of the year as he is certainly an exciting prospect at the moment. Aaron Edwards was also good once he settled into the match. He is a strong tackler which I think is something we need to work on within our forward line so I would like to see him hold his place in the team after the bye. It’s funny that he made his debut for West Coast against Richmond, and his debut for Richmond against West Coast. Both times he came away with the win so perhaps it’s good he is playing for us now! I also would like to see White keep his place in the team; he always gives 100%, he adds speed and creativity and he looks like he is desperate to play for the team and ready to work hard for the win.
Dimma said in his press conference that this is the first victory the team has had this season that wasn’t winning ‘ugly’. I’d have to agree. I do feel that as a whole we played very well consistently throughout the match, although we could maybe have won by more in the end as I did feel we took our foot off the pedal in the last ten minutes or so and let them kick a few easy goals. Our second and third quarters were very strong, unlike our performance again Essendon. This year the two matches that I have been most disappointed by were the games against Collingwood and Essendon. All the other games I have felt that we wanted to win, but the games against those two teams it was as if we weren’t switched on. That said, all our other matches bar this one have been fought out throughout the match, except perhaps the Bulldogs game. This match I felt we played to our strengths, moving the ball quickly and spreading well and I think this is what Dimma is talking about. When we focus on playing the style of football we want, rather than the style the opposition plays, such as last week against Essendon, we are able to play a better quality of football. I was very pleased to see how well we were able to clear the football out of the middle.
The Eagles may have won the hit-outs 81-27 but Richmond won the clearances 45-41 and the centre clearances 13-10. It seemed like we knew going in that we probably could not out-ruck Naitanui and Cox, so instead adjusted our set-up and style to combat this. This proved to be a very successful way of beating the Eagles midfield. I also thought we did a great job of shutting down the Eagles forward line, although Kennedy kicked 3, as they have so many different options when going forward. We really defended well this week.
The only downside to this match is Shane Edwards being poked in the eye, hopefully with the bye next week he will have time to recover. It was strange to see both teams using their subs due to eye injuries, with Mitch Brown from the Eagles also receiving a poke in the eye. Weirdly last time we played the Eagles in round 5 2012, the Eagles were also forced to use their sub due to Mitch Brown receiving a poke in the eye! Maybe next time we meet Brown may want to wear safety goggles, as he is obviously very unlucky when it comes to his eyes when playing us.
Next week we have the bye, which will allow the boys some time to rest and recuperate. This will come in handy when we meet Adelaide the following week in what is sure to be a tough match. Adelaide is one of the teams we should be able to beat so I am excited to watch the match and see how our boys go.
Enjoy the week off and I’ll see you all at the Adelaide game,