Assistant coaches Justin Leppitsch and Craig McRae speak to Richmond Media about the Preliminary Final win over Port Adelaide and preview Saturday night’s Grand Final in this week’s edition of Coaches Corner, presented by Hostplus.
Port Adelaide game
Justin Leppitsch: “It was in some ways an easy game to coach because it was a predictable game with both teams going long down the line and creating contests. A lot of it was up to the players to sort of win those (contests), and obviously stoppage was important, we got that right which was an important part of the day.”
Toby Nankervis strong performance
JL: “He was like our seventh defender down there wasn’t he? He really saved the day for us particularly in the dying five minutes of the game.”
Craig McRae: “He was brilliant, wasn’t he? Just those clutch moments (like the) snap from the boundary and the stoppage goal, he is an important player to us.
“I was really rapt with our ‘keys’ (key forwards) performance too. Just the ability to get the ball to ground. Also, the ability of us to make those critical decisions under pressure, we just played our system when it mattered most. Pleasing result.”
JL: “He doesn’t get overawed and it’s exciting, any year you can finish the season and you have created another 10-year player for your organisation, it is a great result, and I think Noah will be that now.
“Obviously with the age of our backline getting close to 30 if not over, to have someone in their early 20s to look like they can take over, it’s a really positive sign.”
Grand Final against Geelong
CM: “I know in particularly the forwards are going to have to do their best work in terms of keeping (in check Geelong’s) chipping around keepings off approach to the game. We will put some time into that in our training and make sure we drill down in that part of the game.”
JL: “His role is very different isn’t it? Not really any midfield time, just going up and playing as a high forward and using his dynamic run and good shot for goal. As you mentioned he is probably only a 13-possession player now but really damaging. We will definitely have to watch him.”
Most important thing at the start of a Grand Final
CM: “It’s great to be involved again, it’s an amazing part of our lives to have it as a player and now as a coach, we are grateful for that. We have not lost a Grand Final yet at the Gabba have we? So that’s a good sign.
“We are going in with good confidence. Grand Finals are all about contests and big moments and small margins, so just making the most of what we have and trying to hit them with our best pressure.”
JL: “They are absolutely critical, you mentioned Toby (Nankervis) before and the importance around him, but our mids have really ramped up their contested ball wins and pressure in that part of the game so it has been really helpful.”
Favourite memory at Tigerland
CM: “It’s been one of the best times of my life. One of the best memories was, and not only the premierships in the AFL, but holding the cup up with Steve Morris in the VFL was something I will cherish forever.”
JL: “Some of the best memories apart from the winning ones were in the first stint here just watching a young Dylan Grimes and Rancey and Dustin Martin and Dave Astbury come through at the times when everyone was doubting us really at the early parts of the 2010 era. That’s probably the rewarding stuff really when you can look back now and see the result of that.”