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Clubs Cull Before Draft

by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

As their seasons come to a close, clubs have quickly turned their attention to their lists and began culling ahead of the trade period and national draft. The following clubs have already announced list changes.

BRISBANE
Senior players Jordan Lisle, Patrick Wearden, Andrew Raines and James Polkinghorne have all been delisted, along with rookies rookies Nicholas Hayes, Sam Michael and Isaac Conway.

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Young Bulldogs Come Of Age

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

The Round Three clash between Richmond and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium was expected by most to be one-way traffic with the Tigers having won the last three encounters by an average margin of 66 points. Despite their recent domination, the enthusiasm of the Tigers was dampened somewhat by the news that stellar midfielder Brett Deledio would miss his first game in over five seasons, an incredible record in modern Australian Rules Football. An Achilles injury suffered in the Tigers' tight win over Carlton was the culprit. Shaun Hampson would also miss for Richmond, meaning third string ruckman Orren Stephenson would be required to take the bulk of the ruck duties against the Bulldogs' Will Minson, one of the best ruckmen in the business. The Western Bulldogs went into the clash unchanged from the team that showed plenty of spirit against North Melbourne in Round Two, before being run over in the final quarter by a fast finishing Kangaroo outfit.

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Tigers Surprise Dockers

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Fremantle flew in to Melbourne determined to continue the excellent form that had seen them win ten of their last 11 contests. Richmond was looking to beat a team above them on the Ladder for the first time this season. When the same two teams met on Fremantle’s turf earlier in the season, only one point separated them as the Dockers snatched victory in the dying seconds. The battle of fifth versus sixth certainly shaped up to be a defining game in the context of the remainder of the home and away season. A Dockers' win would have them knocking on the door of a Top Four finish and the prospect of an all important home Final. A Tigers' win would cement them well and truly in the Top Eight with only a tough run home standing between them and their first Finals appearance since 2001.

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Tigers Solve Suns In Cairns

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Richmond headed north to Cairns in preparation for their third - and surely final - attempt to defeat the Gold Coast Suns at Cazaly Stadium. The ill-fated deal by Richmond CEO Brendan Gale to sell three home games to play in Cairns had backfired on the club which had lost both previous encounters in the tropical climes and incurred the wrath of the supporter group in the process. The stakes were even higher for the Round 16 clash with an improved Suns lining up against a chastened Richmond group, coming off a big loss to the Kangaroos the previous round. A win would not only get “Benny” Gale off the hook for his unpopular decision to pad the club coffers, it would also solidify the Tigers’ position in the Top Eight. For the Gold Coast, a win would give them a realistic chance of challenging for their first Finals appearance in just their third season in the AFL competition. Gold Coast received a boost in the lead up to the game with the magnificent Gary Ablett Jr. being declared fit after missing a week with a calf injury. Richmond was also boosted by the return of number one ruckman Ivan Maric who had missed time due to a nagging groin complaint.

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Brilliant Roos Trounce Tigers

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

Richmond came into the Round 15 match against the Kangaroos aiming for a fifth successive win for the first time in 13 years. The Kangaroos were hell bent on turning around the frustrating form that had seen them lose six games by a margin of 16 points or less. For Brad Scott and his boys it was a must win game if North Melbourne were to stay in the hunt for a Finals berth. Missing from the Tiger line up was the injured Ivan Maric, while Kangaroo Lindsay Thomas had been given a self-imposed holiday for his mini head b*tt against the Giants in Round 14.

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Tigers Roar for Four

Brook "Boris" Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA

The Sunday special this week belonged to Richmond and St Kilda, two clubs with differing fortunes and vastly different short term futures. The Saints, only a couple of years removed from a Grand Final appearance, seem to have bypassed their potential Premiership window as their older players move away from their prime. The Tigers on the other hand, have put a dark recent past behind them, forging a bright future on the back of 60,000 plus members and a three game winning streak that should help them build towards their first Finals appearance since 2001. The sideshow to every St Kilda versus Richmond clash is the match up of gun forward cousins in Nick (St Kilda) and Jack (Richmond) Riewoldt, with Jack having the better of the spoils over the last few contests including a seven goal haul the last time these two teams met. Tiger young gun Nick Vlastuin was a late withdrawal prior to game time, while St Kilda were without feisty goal sneak Stephen Milne after off field issues that could potentially end a tumultuous but effective career.

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Tigers Add To Bombers Woes

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia

Round 22's “Clash of the Sash” was also shaping up as Essendon’s last chance to take a stand and show the football world they were worthy of playing Finals footy. For Richmond, it was once again about rebuilding a franchise and taking it back to the glory days of the 70s, when the Tigers and playing Finals were synonymous.

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Tigers Raid Lions Den

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia

Fresh from a hellish three week stint that netted three narrow losses, Richmond took their 7-10 record north to face the Brisbane Lions - also holders of a 7-10 record. Both teams have displayed enough during the season to suggest there are better times ahead, but with a view to further improvement in the future, a win here for either team would provide a great fillip as their seasons wind down.

As the Tigers and Lions prepared for battle, the unfamiliar sight of Brisbane veteran Simon Black in the fluoro green sub vest had the crowd and the pundits speculating on what Lions' coach Michael Voss was concocting. Opposition coach Damien Hardwick would have been delighted to see the gutsy ball magnet in Black sitting on the sidelines for the start of the contest.

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Like Tigers Of Old

Brook "Boris" Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia

The Round 9 match between Hawthorn and Richmond was billed as a clash between the newly anointed Premiership favorites and the up and coming Finals hopefuls. The recent demise of Carlton and the continuing struggles of Geelong had the bookmakers talking up the Hawks as the team to beat in 2012. With young gun defender Dylan Grimes out of the Richmond team through injury, all signs pointed to a comfortable Hawthorn victory. The late withdrawal of another solid defender in Jake Batchelor left the Tigers' defense ripe for the picking for the Hawks' prize forwards in Lance “Buddy” Franklin and the dynamic Cyril Rioli.

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Tigers Earn Their Stripes

Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia

A solid crowd of 40,000 plus pushed through the turnstiles of the MCG to witness the Round 7 twilight clash between the Richmond Tigers and the Sydney Swans. The Richmond faithful, feeling good after a win against Port Adelaide, were once again pinning their hopes on victory against a Top Four contender, this time in the guise of the ultra-consistent Sydney. The Swans on the other hand were looking to rebound after a shock home loss to the Adelaide Crows after previously being undefeated.

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