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‘Richo’ supports ‘Sheds’ shift

Richo praises Edwards Matthew Richardson speaks about the important role Shane Edwards plays both up forward and in the midfield.
BEACONSFIELD, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27: Shane Edwards (left) and Trent Cotchin of the Tigers celebrate during the 2016 NAB Challenge match between Richmond Tigers and the Hawthorn Hawks at Holm Park Recreation Reserve, Beaconsfield on February 27, 2016. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Shane Edwards celebrates his fourth goal against Hawthorn with Trent Cotchin at Beaconsfield

Richmond great Matthew Richardson has strongly endorsed the Tigers’ plan to use talented playmaker Shane Edwards in a more permanent forward role this season.

Edwards produced an eye-catching, four-goal performance up forward in Richmond’s decisive victory over Hawthorn in a second-round NAB Challenge match at Beaconsfield late last month.

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‘Richo’ believes the 27-year-old veteran of 168 league games, is more than capable of providing the Tigers’ attack with a significant boost.

“We need small forwards, and we’ve addressed that area at the draft with (Daniel) Rioli.  But you can’t expect too much of a first-year player, so I think it’s a great move if Shane can play predominantly forward,” Richardson said on the latest episode of the Club’s official podcast ‘Talking Tigers’.

“If he played there for the whole year, I think you could get 35-40 goals out of him, absolutely. 

“I think he’ll still go into the middle and pinch-hit at the centre bounce, because we know he’s a great clearance player.  But I think he needs to play forward 75 percent of the time. 

“A good clearance player normally means you’re reading the play pretty well.  So he can be a great crumbing player.

 “Shane puts on good forward pressure as well.  And, if you’re a small forward now, it’s not just about goals.  You need to be able to lay tackles.   

“We’ll still need him in the middle at times . . . It probably depends on how guys like (Jacob) Townsend and Andrew Moore go in the middle. 

“If they can spend more time in there, it means Shane can play forward a little bit more . . .”  

Edwards’ best goal return in a season during his decade-long league career at Richmond is 29 in 2012.

He kicked 13 goals in 16 games last season.