Star key defender Alex Rance has spoken in glowing terms about the good, old-fashioned value of mateship that he believes is underpinning Richmond’s quest for sustained success.

Rance regards the closeness of Tigers’ playing group as a huge positive for the reigning premiers in dealing with the challenges they’ll confront throughout this season.

“The word connection can get bandied around, and culture and all that kind of stuff, but we’ve actually, legitimately, got a good bunch of blokes,” Rance told ‘Fox Footy’ following Richmond’s 87-point victory over Essendon in last Saturday’s JLT Community Series match at Wangaratta.

“We just want to hang out with each other, work for each other, and when times get tough in games, that’s when it really shows out.

“If you want to bust your backside for your mates you will because it’s legitimate, it’s authentic.”