The SportingJournal

Tiger Army finals bound?

The Tiger Army is roaring and for good reason – at just past the halfway point of the season, the Richmond Football Club is sitting with a win-loss record of 8-4.

The finals starved football club can sense September within its reach for what would be the first time in over a decade and only the third time in 30 years.

A number of players are having career best seasons at Tigerland.

Brett Deledio would be close to leading the best and fairest at this stage of the year and Dustin Martin looks to have matured as a footballer under the guidance of former Port Adelaide coach Mark Williams.

Shane Edwards has been playing through the midfield more this season and Brandon Ellis has come on in leaps and bounds after an impressive debut season last year.

The return of Nathan Foley bolsters their midfield depth while young star Nick Vlastuin has been a revelation in the early stages of his football career.

Jack Riewoldt could be on his way to claiming a third Coleman Medal and the recruitment of Troy Chaplin adds stability to the backline.

One of the negatives so far this season has been the form of newly appointed captain Trent Cotchin.

The reigning Jack Dyer medallist started the season with terrific performances in the opening three wins against Carlton, St Kilda and Western Bulldogs.

However, he appears to be struggling with a knee injury he sustained in the Tigers’ one-point loss to Fremantle in round five.

His statistics have been down on last season’s form which saw him emerge as one of the best young players in the competition and finish equal second in the Brownlow.

Richmond will be hoping for their star player to recapture his form sometime during the second half of the season.

Most of the betting agencies agree on the likelihood of Richmond making the top eight.

Although they are far from certainties, the Tigers should head in as favourites in their following three matches against St Kilda, North Melbourne and Gold Coast.

Wins in these matches will place them at 11-4 before a tough three weeks against Fremantle, Sydney and Hawthorn.

The Tigers have an interesting last month of football as they will go in as hot favourites against Brisbane and Greater Western Sydney, but have important matches against Carlton and Essendon.

In what is a competitive season, it is looking as though 13 wins will be the benchmark in order to qualify for the finals.

Time and time again frustrated Richmond supporters have been let down by false hope from their club.

But there is a different feel to the Tigers this year.

As long as the team wins the games they should win, the Tigers should experience finals football in 2013. And one thing is for sure, the Tigers fans will sure let everyone know about it.

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21

Aug

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