Friday nights are back at the home of football and the pressure gauge is absolutely off the charts for Richmond.
After starting the season 0-3, reigning premiers Geelong have won their past 5 matches to have them sitting nicely in 6th place on the ladder. Statistically the Cats rank 1st in points for this season, largely led by their 2 key forwards in Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins.
The Cats haven’t simply just won their past 5 games, they’ve won them by an average of 55 points, however many of those games were off the back of their skipper in Patrick Dangerfield who will miss the next 5-6 weeks with a hamstring injury.
To say Richmond need a win is a massive understatement with the Tigers only managing 2 wins and a draw from their 8 matches so far and a tough run ahead of them in the coming weeks.
The absence of key forward Tom Lynch has caused plenty of headaches with the Tigers faithful, struggling to kick a winning score, ranking 15th in points for, despite getting plenty of inside 50’s from gun GWS recruits Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto.
Jack Riewoldt has only managed 1 goal in the past two games and will need to kick a bag this weekend for the Tigers to be in with a chance.
OUT: N.Cumberland (Omitted), J.Clarke (Omitted)
OUT: B.Close (suspended), P.Dangerfield (injured)
Esava Ratugolea vs Jack Riewoldt
Ratugolea was BOG for the Cats last weekend, intercepting everything that came his way against a dangerous Adelaide forward line. Many wondered why Port Adelaide chased the out-of-favour Ratugolea so hard at the end of the season last year, it’s now easy to see why.
Jack Riewoldt needs to kick goals and the stage is set for the Tigers champion to do so. Friday night lights, big crowd, backs against the wall, both team and personally, Jack Riewoldt lives for nights like this. Expect the champion to wind back like the clock.
Riewoldt 3+ Goals
Jeremy Cameron vs Richmond
No one person can stop Cameron in the form that he is currently in, team defence is going to be the key to stopping this superstar in his tracks. His aerobic capacity to get up the ground and then out-work his direct opponent on the way back is something to sit back and admire as a fan.
Does Dylan Grimes or Noah Balta take him when inside the forward 50? Apparently. there’s another young fella who goes alright in the forward lines by the name of Tom Hawkins, probably worth keeping an eye on him just in case.
Cameron has kicked 3+ goals in his last 7 games, I don’t see it stopping tonight.
AFL Fantasy VC options
Tim Taranto – The safest Friday night VC we’ve had in a long time. Taranto has been the most consistent player in fantasy football this season along with Tim English and Clayton Oliver. The only query on the in-form Tiger is that the Geelong midfield give up the least number of points of any side this season. I’m expecting another ton from Timmy, just not expecting a monster like we got from Dunkley last week.
Shai Bolton – Hear me out… VC’s are all about risk and nothing says risk like Shai Bolton. He could put up 150 or 50 but I love this matchup. Bolton needed to get some form behind him and he did exactly that against the West Coast Training Cones. Bolton loves the big stage and Dimma Hardwick will absolutely have this Tigers side firing for tonight. 20+ and 2 goals.
Verdict – If you have Shai Bolton, give it a crack. However, if you’re one of the 91% that don’t…It’s Timmy Time.
Final Thoughts: The Tigers are one of the proudest clubs in recent memory and I’m expecting them to come out absolutely firing here. I think the Cats will runover them in the last half but a closer game than many are expecting.
Tip – Geelong by 7pts.