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The main observations from Richmond’s loss to Collingwood


Richmond began their 2024 campaign officially with a pre-season Community Series hitout against Collingwood on Tuesday night.

The Tigers started strongly, dominating for the opening 20 minutes, but were inaccurate in kicking 2.7 in the opening term.

From about halfway through the second quarter, the Magpies got back on top and controlled the majority of the game from that point to come away with a 30-point win - 10.16 (76) to 5.16 (46).


SEN’s Garry Lyon, who called the game for Fox Footy, observed a few different points relating to Yze’s Tigers as they get ready for the 2024 season.

“The first 20 minutes they looked like they were souped up and maybe that's the coach and everyone wanted to make an impression,” Lyon said on SEN Breakfast.

“Their forward pressure was great. Collingwood couldn't exit in the manner that they liked to. The Tigers stopped them in their tracks and they were turning the ball over in the right parts of the ground and going back inside 50.

“I think it was about 12-3 inside 50s early and they kicked one goal, seven (behinds).

“So all that great work of the pressure, turning the ball over, which is what all clubs are trying to do particularly against a side like Collingwood, and they just didn't get any reward on the scoreboard.”

Richmond’s two key forwards - Noah Balta and Jacob Koschitzke - were unable to kick a goal between them with neither at their best.

“They started Balta forward, he didn't have a great night. He and Koschitzke didn't have a great night. So the big two key forwards didn't dominate by any stretch,” Lyon observed.

With that in mind, co-host Tim Watson wanted to know if that will become a problem for Richmond if Tom Lynch can’t get himself fit.

Lyon is sure there is enough quality in the form of Dustin Martin and Shai Bolton to conjure something, while suggesting a Balta-Lynch combination would work best for the Tigers.

“Well, Dustin and Bolton were both always there and thereabouts,” Lyon replied.

“‘Dusty’ started really well and you know how good Shai Bolton is, so you can manufacture something, you can make something happen.

“But we spoke to Tom Lynch last night, had a chat with him off air, and he’s really confident that he's over his foot injury and if he's not going to be there for the first game, then he reckons he'll be back early.

“So he and Balta as two big key forwards. I really like that with the others at his feet.”

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Premiership defender Balta has spent the majority of his AFL career in the backline and despite not necessarily possessing the forward nous, Lyon believes his competitive nature will hold him in good stead in attack.

“No, he's not a natural forward. So you'd hope that he can learn,” Lyon continued.

“But if you're not a natural forward, you've got to be the other thing and that is a competitive beast. He's more inclined for that.

“He'll crash a pack. He'll get to contests, he won't get out-marked, so he's going to bring all those elements and then you hope that he can learn some of those nuances as he goes through it.

“He doesn't have those natural instincts, but he is a competitive bugger, there's no doubt about that.”

Balta’s shift forward has paved the way for returning young gun Josh Gibcus to hold down a central role in defence.

The 20-year-old missed all of 2023 with a hamstring issue, however, looked comfortable back at the level, as did former Sydney ruckman Sam Naismith who was playing his first AFL game since 2000.

“They were able to play Balta forward because Gibcus came back and he was sensational,” said Lyon.

“I thought he and Naismith were the story for the Tigers. Naismith hadn't played a senior game of footy since 2020.”

Naismith’s presence is a nice fallback plan for Yze if captain Toby Nankervis takes a few weeks to recover from his plantar fascia-heel pain injury.

“They’ve got Naismith, Nankervis, Samson Ryan is a tall kid, then you’ve got Balta and Lynch as well. Balta could pinch-hit in the ruck for 10 minutes if you needed to,” Lyon said further.

“I don't know whether they play both of them to be perfectly honest, but he (Naismith) has put his hand up.”

The Tigers, who saw Jack Graham injure his quad late in the game, will now prepare for their Opening Round clash with Gold Coast at Heritage Bank Stadium on March 9.


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