Sydney’s pressure is the yardstick for Richmond as they try to turn around their AFL fortunes in a hurry.
The night after the Swans enjoyed an outstanding win in Geelong, Richmond were left rueing a missed opportunity as they lost to the Western Bulldogs by 10 points.
With Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin outstanding in the midfield, the Tigers put the Bulldogs under sustained pressure for much of the match.
It was a much-improved performance from Richmond, now out of finals contention.
“It was a good starting point,” coach Damien Hardwick said.
“Look at the intensity of Sydney last night – their ability to play that sustained pressure football throughout the course of the game, that’s something we probably have to strive towards.
“At stages it’s been there this year, but it’s probably been inconsistent more often than not.”
Richmond’s turnovers cost them dearly and Hardwick bemoaned their lack of efficiency going into attack.
The Tigers are now keen to give younger players more opportunities – Jason Castagna impressed and Oleg Markov was among their best on debut.
Hardwick said Markov, like Kamdyn McIntosh, will do better in the AFL than in the VFL.
“For his first game, (he) looked incredibly impressive off half-back – his run and dash and ability to kick the ball,” the coach said.
As the lead changed five times in the last term, Tigers onballer Reece Conca gave away a free kick and then a 50m penalty that gifted Marcus Bontempelli a goal.
Hardwick said the 50m penalty was probably there, but felt the umpire should not have waited so long to blow the whistle as Conca tried to dispose of the ball.
“The free kick against Reece was pretty stiff,” Hardwick said.
“Look, as long as it’s consistently paid, I’m happy.
“I just wish they’d be a little bit quicker on the whistle at stages.”
Tigers midfielder Anthony Miles will probably come under video scrutiny for high contact on Bontempelli earlier in the match.
Hardwick said he did not see the incident, but also was not worried.
“It’s unlike Anthony Miles to go in and do something untoward,” he said.
“If there’s been a bigger ball player, I’d love to see him.”