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Dimmas Disciples (H/S)

Smoking Aces

Batten Down The Hatches
Sep 21, 2007
McGuane: How Dimma’s Disciples have stayed in hunt

Mick McGuane,
Herald Sun
31 May 2019

How does a club lose three leaders from three different areas of the ground — not to mention their No. 1 ruckman and a key defensive distributor — yet still remain a serious flag hope?

Answer: By sticking to their brand, and by introducing ‘Dimma’s Disciples’. What Richmond has done, minus Alex Rance, Trent Cotchin, Jack Riewoldt, as well as Toby Nankervis and Jayden Short, has been nothing short of remarkable.

Some wrote them off as premiership contenders due to these injuries, but it’s been anything but doom and gloom.

Admittedly, they haven’t yet taken a serious scalp this season — that might have to wait until Friday week against Geelong — as they have only beaten Fremantle in terms of top-eight teams as it currently sits.

Early back-to-back losses to Collingwood and GWS were concerns.

But their season transformed with a spirited on the road win over Port Adelaide in Round 4, after rediscovering their brand.

Between Rounds 1-4, the Tigers were conceding 97.8 points per game, ranked 16th.

To their credit, between Rounds 5-10, they cut it back to 67.2, which is 2nd in the competition. That’s five points less than they had scored against them last year. This has resulted in five wins and one loss in six weeks, putting them back into serious flag conversation again.


Their renowned forward half game has returned on two fronts. The territory game is back.

After conceding on average three inside 50s in the first four rounds, the past six weeks have seen it move to +10 inside 50s — almost on par with where they were last year.

Once they are in the forward half, their turnover game has been revived.

Generating scores from forward half turnovers has increased by over a goal in their last six games compared to their first four. That’s the modern game!


Who said recruiting Tom Lynch, and offloading a few players to other AFL clubs to pay for it, would cut deeply into Richmond’s depth?

Maybe, it was a wise decision on the part of the club — including list manager Blair Hartley — because they knew the sort of players they had coming through.

This week’s Rising Star nominee Liam Baker is a natural footballer. He’s kicked a goal in every game in 2019.

He is a kid who has aligned his performance to the Richmond pressure brand. Baker had zero tackles against Hawthorn; last week he had nine. That’s a response!

Sydney Stack has been a revelation, filling Short’s void. He provides energy and confidence, even if his coach wants him to stay grounded (as we witnessed on the training track last week).

Noah Balta is the athlete who will become a footballer in time. He’s got Anthony Koutoufides-type athletic attributes.

Ivan Soldo is an emerging ruckman, who will learn from his recent brain fade. Shai Bolton is taking his chances now after 15 games.

We knew Jack Higgins could play after his 2018 debut season, but now has the trust of his teammates and the match committee to push into the midfield.

Jack Ross played five games before being injured, and has enormous upside. There are others, too, but one common denominator is that no matter who comes in, they follow direction.


The injuries have forced Damien Hardwick to challenge the incumbents and to play some of them in different positions.

Shane Edwards, off half back, has complemented Bachar Houli, and is averaging 22 disposals as a rebounding defender.

Nick Vlastuin has found a new lease of life in the midfield in recent weeks, providing energy around the ball.

This has also created a more selfless Dustin Martin. Dusty has had to adapt to team needs, sometimes creating 2v1s, playing outside the contest instead of being the go-to player, and allowing Dion Prestia, Josh Caddy, Vlastuin and Higgins to develop their inside game around stoppages.

Dylan Grimes has the ‘Rance Role’. He has a competitive edge, reads the cues well, and is prepared to roll off to help a vulnerable teammate.

Prestia is fitter, well balanced, keeps his feet and is accumulating plenty of the ball.

An injection of youth generates spirit and enthusiasm. But it can also impact on more experienced players with what I call a ‘Footy Fathers’ theory.

They instantly adopt a form of parental guidance over the kids. It’s a psychological shift for the older players, the need to protect.

You want to lead; you don’t expect the kids to lead. That allows them to have the freedom to play.


All successful teams have a strong set of non-negotiables. At Richmond, that also includes allowing the players to express themselves.

The individual identity of players such as Stack and Higgins has not been lost. That’s why we are drawn to their stories.

You’ve got a kid who admitted school wasn’t his go, but footy definitely is. You’ve got another (Stack) who has had a very different pathway to the AFL system, but who is thriving.

Both look comfortable inside the white lines, and appear made for September.

A team-first approach is fundamentally important, but by allowing ‘Dimma’s Disciples’ to play on instinct, flair, reflex and intuition, it balances the team’s layers.

Hardwick and Cotchin have loosened the grip on conforming to team guidelines, and are just letting the boys play — albeit conscious of playing their roles.

This creates enthusiasm, spirit and morale, which even the senior players are feeding off.

Such a dynamic seems unbreakable and will take a power of beating when it comes to the finals.



Walks softly carries a big stick.
Jul 13, 2003
So much for sneaking along under the radar.

Perhaps #lonorf will give us a belting tonight n everyone can pay out on McGuane as a no nothing nuffer while we go back to sneaking.


Super Tiger
Apr 20, 2004
Big write up about how good we’re going
North smash us with their new coach


Tiger Legend
Oct 8, 2004
se7en said:
Big write up about how good we’re going
North smash us with their new coach
Next week Mcguane writes part 2

“How **** are Richmond away from the G?”