I don't think your theory is quite right DS. If the opposition have the ball, and you tackle them badly they get a free. Tackle them well and you give yourself a chance to get a free.Maybe the umpires are finally awarding free kicks to Richmond, or maybe the opposition teams have suddenly stopped being angels when they play us.
The average free kicks we give away to the end of round 13 (12 games) was 25 per game. Notwithstanding last night where we only gave away 17 (in a game with very few free kicks, a total of 37 as opposed to an average of 44 per game up to the end of round 13) we have conceded 30, 21 and 17 over the last 3 games, which is an average of 22.3 per game. So a drop of 2.7 frees given away per game.
But the average we have received for the year to the end of Round 13 was 19.83, but in the last 3 games we received 31, 24 and 20 - an average of 25 and an increase of 5.1 frees awarded per game.
A truly astounding turnaround by our opponents, they really need to clean up their acts and return to their angelic ways when playing Richmond.
Note, if the above stats are a bit confusing it is because up to Round 13 includes 2 of the last 3 games, trying to work out the averages before Round 11 and after Round 11 would involve too much time.
So, the biggest impact over the last 3 weeks is the free kicks they have given to Richmond. This is not something we control, it is the opposition who give away free kicks, they no longer play like angels against us for some reason apparently, and the umpire who adjudicate the rules, again something we do not control.
A forward who plays in front gives themselves a better chance to get a free than one who tries to take speckies from behind.
There are numerous other ways you can increase your chance of getting a free, without resorting to ducking and diving.