Adam Cooney has outlined how Richmond can return to the glory of the premiership, believing they have every chance of “continued success” in the near future.
The Tigers struggled to regain form that left them the best team in the league for the past four years in 2021 and missed the final for the first time since 2016.
Star defenders Bachar Houli and David Astbury also retired at the end of the season, adding to Richmond’s problems.
While much went wrong in 2021, including a kidney injury to Brownlow midfielder Dustin Martin, Cooney believes the Tigers need to focus on two aspects of their midfield to come back next season.
“I think the two main areas they need to improve on next year are their clearing work. They finished 18th for average clearances, the Western Bulldogs finished number one,” he said. AFL Trade Radio’s Trading Afternoons.
Also, contentious possession, they finished 17th and the Demons finished number one.
“They definitely need to improve that part of the field if they want to be competitive next year.
“They’ve been a really high inside 50 team in the past and they didn’t really rely on approvals or contested ownership, but I think when that went out of their game this year they really struggled to get those entries.”They have seven picks, all in the first 50, and Cooney says a crafty outline will be an important part of Richmond’s potential to climb the ladder. “Picks 7, 15, 26, 28, 38, 42 and 47, they have a huge draw this year, a great hand,” he said. “If they can get improvement out of some (experienced) guys, Martin will come back to his best and pick up some kids (they’ll look good). “With this trek they are looking at strong continued success even for the next five or six years, but it remains to be seen if they can hold out and go again.” Tall striker Mabior Chol has left Tigerland and team-mate Callum Coleman-Jones looks likely to follow, but Damien Hardwick’s squad will be bolstered by the signing of Roo Robbie Tarrant.