Terry Wallace’s Tigers leading Richmond’s premiership charge

Of course, Terry Wallace hasn’t coached Richmond in nine years since he was sacked in 2009 and replaced by the eventual premiership coach in Damien Hardwick.

But a few veteran Tigers who were crucial to Richmond’s ongoing premiership aspirations were drafted under Wallace.

Their combined accolades include a Brownlow Medal, seven All-Australian selections, two Coleman Medals as well as five Jack Dyer Medals as Richmond’s Best and Fairest.

Jack Riewoldt, Shane Edwards, Trent Cotchin and Alex Rance were all drafted during Wallace’s tenure at the Tigers, and the case could be made that they make up Richmond’s best five players, alongside Dustin Martin.

Terry-Wallace

Terry Wallace spoke to Sportdot’s ‘Don’t Argue Podcast’ about his initial impressions regarding the young players he drafted, who are now stars of the Richmond Football Club.

“Of that group, Cotchin was the standout. Clearly, as he was a pick two,” said Wallace.

Carlton infamously passed on the Brownlow Medallist in favour for a ruckman in Mathew Kreuzer.

But Wallace says even if Richmond had the number one pick, he still would have opted for Cotchin over Kreuzer.

“We might have copped a bit of flak because it would have been picking a little bloke over a big bloke, but we clearly thought Cotchin was the standout for that year.

“We had a real handle on Cotchin and thought he was going to be a star of the game.

“I’d seen a fair bit of him along his journey. My son came through the Northern Knights at a very similar time, so I had sort of seen Trent Cotchin play since he was about 15 and just knew how good he was,” Wallace said.

While he was certain about Cotchin’s potential, Wallace was initially unsure of how the other three players would develop as footballers.

“Probably the hit or miss one of that group was Alex Rance.

“A prodigious talent, backed himself in from day one as an under 18 to charge down the ground and be really bold. He was a super athlete but just his understanding and learning of the game was something that he needed to really work on,” Wallace said.

Wallace credits Rance’s development to the Richmond coaching staff after his departure as head coach.

“When Justin Leppitsch arrived at the club, playing a very similar role to him. He had the understanding of what Alex was very good at and what Alex needed to work with, and worked very closely alongside him.”

And while Rance’s work ethic and conditioning was his strength, Wallace believes that it was Riewoldt’s weakness in his early days at the club.

“We really liked his work, but were perhaps a little uncertain about his mobility in his early days. He had a fair bit of puppy fat as a youngster and his work ethic was nowhere near what it is today,” Wallace said.

Riewoldt is now one of the oldest of the current Tigers at just 29. He has had his leadership credentials scrutinised in years past, but was granted vice-captaincy at the beginning of the 2017 season.

“Shane Edwards was the interesting one.

“He was a second-round selection at the time and I never envisioned him to be the uncanny player that he’s become now.

“He had a really strong work ethic, a nice balance between speed and endurance… but his lateral vision and his sharpness in and around the contest (has improved) as he’s matured. He’s really become a standout player,” Wallace said.

Edwards is often underrated in comparison to the other three, perhaps due to their individual achievements, but he played an instrumental role in Richmond’s premiership run.

Edwards’ work around the contest, as Wallace stated played a huge role in the 2017 Grand Final, often creating space and dishing the handpass out for others. While he may go unnoticed to some, he doesn’t in his former coach’s eyes.

Wallace, who was on the voting panel for the Norm Smith Medal, judged Edwards as the second-best on ground, despite none of the other four judges handing a single vote to Edwards. Edwards finished the game ranking first for clearances, inside 50’s and score involvements, highlighting a clear influence on the game.

Wallace jokes that his tumultuous last season at Richmond led to the club being able to draft another superstar and Brownlow Medallist.

“Well that’s the four guys, but I always have a laugh about the other one.

“If I hadn’t have gone through the last 6-12 months at the footy club where I had cameras in my face the whole time and got sacked, well, the club wouldn’t have got Dustin Martin at the end of that season.

“Out of bad sometimes comes some good, and that was certainly the case for the Richmond Footy Club.”

Martin was selected at pick 3 of the 2009 draft after Richmond finished 15th on the ladder. Wallace had departed the club after a 2-9 start to the season.

The 2000’s era at Richmond is typically remembered as one where the club stumbled on particular draft picks. Most notably selecting Richard Tambling at pick four of the 2004 draft, passing up Lance Franklin at pick five. Just months after the hiring of Wallace.

But infamous picks should not override the fact that the club nailed several draft selections at the back end of Wallace’s coaching career and brought in four young men who formed the spine of the team, and became leaders in the next chapter of the Richmond Football Club.

The unheralded number 44

Number 44 is not a number accustomed to football superstars. 44 is a number that is usually given to footballers who barely make it onto a football list or a young draftee, who has to earn his stripes before being given a lower number.

But at Carlton and Geelong, 44 is a number worn with great pedigree.

Footballing wise, Justin Madden and Corey Enright were extreme opposites. In his own words, Madden was a lumbering ruckman who could not run, but could use his height and footballing smarts to forge a career.

Enright is 19 centimetres shorter than Madden and forged a career playing across halfback in a Geelong side deemed one of the best to ever grace the football field.

Despite the gulf in their abilities, Madden and Enright’s careers drew similar paths. Both players played 332 games wearing number 44 and both were held in high regard internally at their clubs, but did not receive much acclaim from the wider footballing public.

Madden began his career as a tall, skinny ruckman at Essendon in 1980. Recruited from Airport West, Madden was played predominately as a forward, because his brother Simon played in the ruck.

Realising his chances of dethroning his brother in the ruck were slim, Madden transferred to Carlton at the end of the 1982 season.

At first, Madden played in the forward pocket, but soon he was moved into the ruck and retained that mantle for the remainder of his career.

Madden was a cult figure to Carlton supports, due to his bubbly personality and awkward style of play.

Speaking on Fox Footy’s Open Mike, Madden said he always wanted to have fun on the football field and didn’t take the game too seriously.

The ruckman played with some of the greats of the game, including Greg Williams, Stephen Kernahan, Stephen Silvagni and Anthony Koutoufides. Because of the superstars he played with, Madden’s own success went unnoticed.

Madden leaping for a mark.

Madden won two premierships, two John Nicholls Medals (Carlton Best and Fairest award) and was an All-Australian, as well as finishing runner-up to Brad Hardie in the 1985 Brownlow Medal,

Similarly to Madden, Corey Enright had great success at his football club, without receiving the fame of his teammates.

Enright was drafted with pick 47 in the 1999 draft by the Geelong Football Club. Originally from Adelaide, Enright moved to the Cats with Joel Corey, Paul Chapman and Cameron Ling, who were all recruited in the same draft,

An extremely hard worker, who used his leg speed and strong pair of hands to his advantage, Enright won Geelong’s best first year player award in 2001.

2001 would be a pivotal year in the future of the Geelong Football Club, as they recruited Jimmy Bartel, James Kelly, Steve Johnson and Garry Ablett in the draft.

The names Bartel, Kelly, Johnson, Chapman, Corey and Ling all featured alongside Enright in the Cats best in the 2007 Grand Final. Enright finished the with 29 disposals and four marks, outstanding numbers for a Cats defender in the game they won by 119 points.

Enright always possessed dashing speed.

Enright would reach the pinnacle of his career in the following years, claiming six All-Australians (2008-11, 13, 16) and three premierships (2007, 09, 11).

Enright’s biggest achievement was winning two Carji Greeves Medals (Geelong Best and Fairest award) in premiership years.

On the night he claimed the 2011 Carji Greeves Medal, Geelong coach Chris Scott introduced Enright as “still the most underrated player in the competition”.

Enright finally started to receive recognition from the wider public later in his career. This was largely due to the departures of his more heralded teammates.

But like Madden, Enright would prefer to be an unheralded player in a successful team.

When asked by Mike Sheahan on Open Mike if there was ever the possibility of switching to a lower number, Madden said he was given the option, but preferred to remain in number 44, because it reminded him that he was not one of the best players in the team and needed to work hard to remain in the best 22.

Knowing the type of player Enright was, he too, probably preferred wearing number 44 to remind himself of all the hard work he completed to forge a successful career.

 

 

 

AFL Championship

Imagine if AFL clubs played for a title that could be won weekly.

A title similar to the one’s seen in the world of Boxing, UFC and the WWE.

The AFL Championship is a title that is up for grabs during every round of the home and away season.

Teams defeating the previous holder of the title win the belt.

The championship first began in 1898, a year after the inaugural season of the VFL.

The 1897 season was a year played out to determine the championship holder, which ended up being Essendon, who defeated Melbourne in the Grand Final.

The Bombers entered 1898 as the inaugural champions and started the campaign strongly, winning their first five games.

In round six the Bombers were defeated by Geelong, who became the new titleholders.

From there, the championship was shared between all the VFL/AFL clubs for 120 years, including University, who held the crown on two separate occasions for a total of four weeks.

During the 2018 season, regular updates on the title holder will be posted on the Sportdot Twitter and Facebook page.

For more information on the AFL Championship, click on the link below.

https://create.piktochart.com/embed/29083499-new-piktochart

The Collingwood and Richmond trade war

It was a war that should never have happened. A war that saw one club bankrupt and the other on the brink of extinction.

Collingwood and Richmond have never gotten along.The cross-town rivals have shared a history that dates back to the 1920s, when the Tigers claimed their first premiership in the 1920 grand final.

Collingwood sought their revenge by trouncing the Tigers in three successive grand finals between1927 to 1929.

Tensions between the clubs were so fierce that Richmond immortal Jack Dyer confessed he could not watch black and white television because of his hatred for the Magpies.

But for all of their history, nothing would prepare the clubs for the bitter trade wars of the early 1980’s.

Richmond and Collingwood began the decade by squaring off in the 1980 Grand Final. In front of 113,461 fans, the Tigers defeated the Magpies by 81 points to win their 10th VFL premiership.

With a side full of youth, the Tigers were expected to dominate the decade and be become one of the most successful teams in VFL history.

However, the Tigers failed to make the finals in 1981 and sacked coach Tony Jewell.

Former player Francis Bourke was appointed coach in 1982 and guided the Tigers to the Grand Final. But in wet conditions the Tigers were no match for Carlton, who ran away with an 18-point victory.

While Richmond was mourning the Grand Final defeat, Collingwood were in the midst of an evolution.

For the first time in six years the Magpies failed to make the finals. The Collingwood board were criticised for being conservative and the lack of improvement saw rebel groups challenge the board for power of the club.

One of these rebel groups was the ‘New Magpies’, who were led by well know media identity and businessman Ranald McDonald.

McDonald and the‘New Magpies’ promised fans if elected onto the board they would embark on one of the biggest recruiting campaigns ever seen in VFL history.

Ranald McDonald

An election was called and the ‘New Magpies’ gained power of the club.

Collingwood historian Michael Roberts recalls the ‘New Magpies’ early promises.

“They [the ‘New Magpies’] went out to spend big money and buy a premiership. It was a charged environment under that regime and that mean’t they were spending big money and that mean’t clubs who were poached by Collingwood got a bit more pissed off.”

Richmond was one of the clubs annoyed by the Collingwood recruiting strategy.

In the wake of the grand final defeat, club legends David Cloke and Geoff Raines asked for pay increases to compliment their service to the Tigers.

According to former player Dale Weigtman in his book ‘Saving our skins and other tiger tales’, the duo had requested pay increases after discovering 20-year-old forward Brian Taylor was on a larger salary.

Livid by the perceived lack of respect shown towards the club, Richmond secretary Graeme Richmond did not accept the request.

“Graeme Richmond had this attitude that you don’t tell us what you are worth, we tell you,” Richmond historian Bill Meaklim said.

Graeme Richmond

News of the player unrest reached Collingwood and the Magpies offered the pair the money they were seeking.

Losing the well-loved players to their fiercest rival infuriated Richmond, who began plotting their revenge.

“Guys like Cloke and Raines were royalty at Richmond and Richmond were understandably pissed off,” said Roberts.

David Cloke and Geoff Raines

The Tigers tried signing Collingwood icon Peter Daicos, but a conversation with his father persuaded Daicos to stay at the Magpies.

With Daicos rejecting a move, the Tigers set their sights on Phil Walsh and John Annear.

Walsh was named Collingwood’s best first year player in 1983 and the move hurt Magpie fans.

“He [Walsh] was a very popular player,” Roberts said.

“The fans loved him and from that moment it was a realisation that this was a war.”

Collingwood hit back by securing Brian Taylor in 1985, while Richmond poached Wally Lovett, Neil Peart and Craig Stewart.

But the effects of the war were beginning to take its toll. While Collingwood were getting the best out of their recruits, Richmond’s signings failed to impress.

“What we did was dopey,” Meaklim said.

“While Collingwood were get- ting hundreds of games from Cloke, Raines and Taylor, we got ordinary players who played under 50 games.”

“The money we spent on transfers would have been enough to pay Cloke and Raines what they wanted.”

Collingwood returned to the finals in 1984, while Richmond struggled in the lower half of the ladder.

Over a four-year period, the ‘New Magpies’ spent $1.8 million on player acquisitions.

In 1986, the Magpies were on the verge bankruptcy, but found enough money to pay off their debts.

“We got a stay of execution of a couple of weeks and that gave us the time we needed to settle things down a bit,” Roberts said.

Richmond were not so lucky. Disappointing on-field results saw the club sack four coaches in a five-year period. In 1990 Richmond declared they needed to raise $1 million by October 31 or face extinction.

The Save Our Skins campaign was established and saw the club rattle tins for survival.

“Tins were taken everywhere to raise the money. A legend match was planned at Windy Hill and it got a crowd of over 23,000,” recalls Meaklim.

Amongst the many who donated to the cause was the Collingwood Football Club.

It is unclear why the Magpies donated to the Richmond fund. But what is clear is no matter how strained the relationship became, both clubs needed each other for survival.

Promising career cut short by savage assault

July 8 1972 will always be remembered as the day football lost one of its most promising careers. Aged 21, Collingwood’s John Greening was one of the best players in the VFL.

In his fourth year of senior football, Greening averaged 26 disposals a game and had an unforgettable fortnight between rounds 9 and 10, when he accumulated 91 disposals and kicked 10 goals.

Greening was a favourite for the Brownlow Medal, before his season and career was cut short by a savage incident.

Greening started the round 14 clash against St Kilda at Moorabbin in fine fashion, taking the first mark of the game.

Greening leaping above the pack.

The midfielder kicked the ball into the Magpies attack and as fans and the television cameras followed the flight of the ball, St Kilda tough man, Jim O’Dea, viciously hit Greening.

The Magpie was left unconscious and bloodied by the fleeing O’Dea, when Collingwood trainers came to his aid.

Magpie’s teammate Len Thompson recalled the incident prior to his death in 2007.

“I looked down at Johnny and it gave me a dreadful fright. It was a horrific sight, he was severely hurt.”

“Whatever happened, and I didn’t see it, I think part of what did happen is he hit the ground and his head hit the cricket pitch.”

The incident left Greening in a coma for 24 hours and in intensive care for 12 days.

Doctor’s feared Greening would not survive and considered brain damage as the best-case scenario.

As Greening lay fighting for his life, the VFL acted quickly and sanctioned O’Dea with a 10-week ban.

O’Dea escaped legal action for the incident, even though there were reports St Kilda coach Allan Jeans instructed O’Dea to ‘fix up’ Greening.

St Kilda fans taunted Greening, as he lay unconscious on the stretcher, infuriating Magpie fans and beginning a fierce rivalry between the clubs.

Following the incident, Magpie fans adorned boundary fences with a banner bearing Greening’s name, when the two sides met.

Some Magpie fans were so appalled by the incident that they never attended another game.

Spectacularly, Greening returned to football in round 9, 1974.

Against reigning premiers Richmond, Greening booted a goal with his first kick and helped the Magpies to a 69-point win.

But Greening would never again reach the heights of his comeback game.

In his own words Greening said his aim was to return for one game and prove to the doubters that he could still play at the top level.

A lack of motivation saw Greening play only eight more games before announcing his retirement in 1976.

Greening may only have played 107 games, but Magpie fans will always remember him as one of the
most prestigious talents to wear the famous black and white guernsey.

Docherty to miss 2018 AFL season

Carlton defender Sam Docherty has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and will likely miss the entire 2018 AFL season.

The 2017 All-Australian injured his left knee in a seemingly innocuous incident when running in pre season training.

The 24-year-old will undergo traditional surgery over the coming days before commencing rehabilitation.

Carlton Head of Football Andrew McKay said the club would fully support the defender throughout his recovery.

“Sam is a total professional and a resilient young man and we know he will face his rehabilitation process with the utmost dedication,” McKay said.

“As a terrific young leader at our club, Sam will continue to work with the leadership group and assist in the development of our young players both on and off the field.”

“While we are incredibly disappointed by the long-term nature of Sam’s injury, it provides an opportunity for our young defenders to continue to train hard over the pre-season to solidify their spot in the backline in Sam’s absence in 2018.”

Since crossing to Carlton in 2014, Docherty has played in 79 of a possible 88 games for the Blues.

The former Brisbane halfback won Carlton’s best and fairest last year and was selected in this years All-Australian team.

The injury will be a massive blow for the Blues who were hoping to rise up the ladder in 2018.

Carlton will enter the new season without Docherty and Bryce Gibbs, who both finished in the top four in the Blues Best and Fairest this year. Gibbs was traded to Adelaide during the trade period.