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Opposing Threat: Richmond

Despite key injuries to some of its best players, Richmond continues to remain a dominant force in the competition, sitting fourth on the ladder with seven wins to its name.

Without the likes of Alex Rance (knee), Trent Cotchin (hamstring), Jack Riewoldt (PCL), Toby Nankervis (adductor) and Jayden Short (elbow), all who’ve missed the majority of the season, the Tigers’ depth has been tested and responded well to the challenge after ten rounds.

They’ve won six of their past seven matches, thanks greatly to their trademark offence.

Richmond ranks fifth amongst the competition in points per game, averaging 84.3 points, with star recruit Tom Lynch doing much of the heavy lifting in front of goals.

The former Sun has kicked 24 majors this season, placing him fourth in the Coleman Medal race, highlighted by a bag of 6 back in Round 4.

Standing at 199 centimetres, Lynch ranks fifth in total marks inside 50 and 14th in contested marks, which is an area of Richmond’s game that’s lacked in recent years.

At the other end of the ground, Dylan Grimes has stood tall in the absence of Rance, filling the void left by the five-time All-Australian.

Grimes leads the Tigers in spoils and contested defensive one-on-ones, and ranks fourth in contested marks, an area of the game that his teammate has previously excelled in.

While the experienced players have risen to the occasion, it’s been the young Tigers that have been the most impressive, with the likes of Sydney Stack, Liam Baker, Shai Bolton and Noah Balta making names for themselves.

Stack has been an added spark for Richmond due to his hardness, athleticism and natural football ability.

Averaging just under 17 disposals in his eight matches this season, the 19-year-old ranks ninth amongst the league in effective disposal percentage per game.

Balta has rapidly improved since debuting in Round 1, and has been rewarded by his club with a contract extension.

In Rounds 1 to 6, he averaged 7 disposals, which has dramatically improved in the past month, going at 14 touches per game.

With Toby Nankervis sidelined with injury, Balta has been required to do the majority of the ruck work, and has played his role.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs