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AFL's Tigers no longer reliant on stars
Sam Lienert
10:35 AEST Sun Jun 23 2013

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick is relishing the depth that enabled his side to thrash the Western Bulldogs without any Tiger winning a heap of the ball or kicking a bag of goals.

While Bulldogs Ryan Griffen and Matthew Boyd amassed 72 touches between them and were clear stand-outs for their side, the Tigers' best players were much harder to pick in Saturday night's 17.19 (121) to 8.13 (61) win.

No Richmond player gathered more than 25 possessions and of their dozen goal-kickers, none managed more than Jack Riewoldt's three.

"That's what we've sort of enjoyed at the moment," Hardwick said of his sixth-placed side.

"People often say Trent Cotchin's disposals and (Brett) Deledio's disposals have gone down.

"But that's what good sides do.

"We're not reliant on those guys any more."

Deledio was still excellent, shrugging the close attention of Liam Picken to pick up 25 touches, the Tigers' equal-highest along with fellow halfback Bachar Houli, who was also damaging.

But there were good signs for Richmond across the field.

Recruit Troy Chaplin's steadying influence in defence was again apparent.

Youngsters Reece Conca and Brandon Ellis continue to impress and add midfield depth.

Ex-North Melbourne forward Aaron Edwards is slotting in nicely in attack, while another of Richmond's tall forwards Ty Vickery played what Hardwick labelled a break-out game, including two valuable third-term goals.

A late knee injury to Chaplin and a hamstring injury to fellow tall backman David Astbury removed some gloss.

But Hardwick was confident neither injury was serious and backed the Tigers' depth if they do miss any football.

Another key defender Dylan Grimes (foot) is at least a month from returning, but Hardwick listed Ben Griffiths, Todd Elton, Jake Batchelor and Matt Dea as potential replacements.

Bulldogs coach Brendan McCartney acknowledged his side was outclassed by a better side.

But there were glimpses of a brighter future in the performances of first-year quartet Jake Stringer (two goals), Jack Macrae (27 disposals), debutant Lachie Hunter (19 disposals, one goal) and Nathan Hrovat.

"The four youngsters out there all showed signs that they're happy to have the ball in their hands and they know how to play and the first-gamer was terrific," McCartney said.


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