Tuesday , May 24 2022

‘Old’ Richmond stars grilled after Blues beating

Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes says he is “concerned” by Richmond’s shock Round 1 loss to Carlton, questioning whether the Tigers’ ageing midfield can compete with the AFL’s best.

After holding a 20-point lead early on in the fourth quarter, the Tigers were overrun by Carlton in sensational fashion, with the Blues’ younger midfield brigade getting on top.

Richmond was monstered in the middle of the ground, with Carlton winning the clearance battle 40-22, which led to a whopping inside-50 disparity won by the Blues 64-40.

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The Blues had the game’s five leading possession-getters, with Dustin Martin‘s 21 touches Richmond’s highest.

While the loss has been attributed to Round 1 rust by some, Cornes says it reveals a deeper problem with the veteran side.

“I’m a bit more concerned,” Cornes told Nine’s Footy Classified.

“I didn’t quite buy into the hype of the pre-season just because of the list. While you say it’s just one game, and let’s not over react to Round 1 which we can tend to do, this is not just off the back of Round 1.”

Cornes said he was concerned by yet another soft-tissue injury to Dion Prestia, who trudged off after quarter-time after registering 10 disposals.

Prestia’s single-quarter tally almost toppled those of both Trent Cotchin and Shane Edwards, with the veteran duo managing just 14 touches apiece.

Comparatively, Carlton’s centre-bounce crew of Matthew Kennedy, Adam Cerra and Patrick Cripps all tallied 30 disposals or more.

“I’ve written them off since last year because their midfield suffers from a lack of depth, their best players get injured, they’re old, and they’ve got a B-plus ruckman,” Cornes said.

“So I just don’t think they have the depth. Unbelievable team, a lot of them are going straight to the Hall of Fame. I don’t think they’ve got a top-eight midfield in the game.”

Cornes pointed in particular to the play of Richmond’s former captain, Cotchin, whose output has noticeably diminished over the last 18 months.

“When you look at the mix of the midfield, and you look at Cotchin, yeah, great record and he’s done a lot in the game, (but) it’s not Trent Cotchin,” he said.

“That’s a 14-possession player who had five effective disposals on Thursday night.

“I thought he went on one year too long and I said that on this show last year.

“Prestia just gets injured every time, Kane Lambert has a long-term injury, Jack Graham is a good, solid, honest battler, and Dustin Martin is probably not the Dustin Martin we’ve known.

“When you compare their midfield to the rest, and you need a good midfield, a good centre-bounce team to win it, they don’t have that right now.”

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