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AFL – Four out of six? Tigers on the hunt again

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After a poor start to 2022, they saw them slide back to 2-4, but a resurgent Richmond now looks set to be in contention for another AFL Premiership.

After four consecutive years in the top 4, in which they won the flag three times, Richmond finished the 2021 season at 12th and the end of an inheritance seemed very clear. Then, when they went 2-4 after six laps 2022, it seemed only to confirm the common belief that the Tigers’ time at the top was over. At the time, Damien Hardwick’s men were out at $31 in Palmerbet’s AFL Premiership market. Unsurprisingly, they weren’t on anyone’s radar in 2022.

However, something has clicked since then. The Tigers have dragged themselves back into the Top 8 and with three wins in their last four (their only loss after taking on Geelong in the game of the year) they are now real contenders for the $10 flag. could be there in September for a fourth flag in six years?

Turning a new leaf

From round 7, it was remarkable in which stats Richmond led the league: turnover. Hardwick built his premiership legacy on a relentless brand of territory-focused, pressure football that preyed on turnover and punished any side that gave up the ball, especially their defensive half. In the seven games following their 2-4 start, Richmond was the No. 1 in the AFL in:

  • Points of turnover
  • Point difference of turnover
  • Forward half turnovers created, and;
  • Points of forward half turnover

On the back of the form resurgence, the Tigers shortened from $15 to $5 in Palmerbet’s “Make the Grand Final” market. To make matters worse for opposition clubs, their draw is favourable. In their last seven games this season, the Tigers will play against only two clubs currently in the Top 8.

Shades of 2019?

After mid-2019, Richmond barely set the world on fire. In round 14 of that year they were even outside the top 8, but they won their last year and would secure a second Afval Prime Minister within three seasons. This year has a similar feeling. It took until lap 13 for Richmond to get back into the Top 8 but now they seem hungry to strike. A Top 4 finish, which once looked fantastic, is now a real possibility ($9.00 into $3.50) given their draw. “Damien Hardwick knows the formula. They’ve been here before,” David King said in recent weeks. “They are in danger of getting big.”

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