Mitchell has been the only fully functioning part of a midfield that has been misfiring and to be frank, pure toiletry all season. With him out, Tiger midfield ascendancy was a virtual given and with it a chance to mute our attack and victimise our undermanned defence.
Fork in road time
Rather than highlighting how overreliant we are on Mitchell by suffering a gut-wrenching loss instead, a few stood up and made decisive contributions.
Jordan Lewis and Liam Shiels led the charge with both showing why they are touted as future Captains of the team. Lewis, willing himself into the contest with his desperation and finally showing glimpses of the high calibre inside midfielder he has been in the past. Shiels, who has been slumbering most of the season, finally reminding us of the complete midfielder he is. Acting as a contested bull throughout as well as extinguishing Dustin Martin in the second half after the Tiger midfield had dominated the first.
Similarly, Will Langford, who might be like an unmade bed with his haphazard foot skills but gives comfort with his smashing style allowing us to have a foothold in the contested footy stakes.
After we broke even in the inside battles of the midfield our outside jets exposed Richmond's lack of pace by ripping them to shreds. The trio of Hill/Smith and Hartung fractured Richmond lines, creating so many pockets of space for our game plan to thrive. They ran the Tigers into the ground allowing us to run amok in the last quarter.
Away from the midfield battles, Ben Stratton continues to show how improved he is. In his career to date, he is without doubt, the best man-marking defender on dangerous small and mid-sized forward. Last night he showed how versatile he is by taking Jack Riedwoldt and collaring his effect in a big way.
Equally effective as Stratton was Jack Gunston forward. He has been exceptional most of the year with him taking on greater responsibility in Jarryd Roughead's absence as well as dealing with a higher calibre defender but still finding a way to shine.
Lastly, Paul Puopolo must be a chance for All Australian on his form so far this season. With him showing he is arguably the most improved player in the AFL in the last few years.
The reality of this win is there was much promise shown in the improvements of individuals but as a team, we are still stalling and spluttering. To be frank, we beat a Richmond team that played as a bottom four team with us performing as a 6-10 ranked side.
Looking to next week and Fremantle in Tassie, logically Sam Mitchell will come back probably at the expense of Kieran Lovell as well as James Frawley coming in for Kaiden Brand.
The other poser if Ryan Shoenmakers is fit is whether he will be preferred to Tim O'Brien. The youngster made things happen when he got the ball but he did not get the ball often enough to merit his spot.
Over to you Clarko
Round 7- Shots of Jameson
3 Shots- Jordan Lewis- In my opinion one of his best games for the club with him entering it under real pressure due to his form as well as burdened with the added responsibility of Captaincy. He excelled in all regards
2 Shots- Ben Stratton- Great job on Jack Riedwoldt showing how exceptional he is as a marking backman on any type of forward.
1 Shot- Isaac Smith- When Smith turns up we look so good. His running ability creates so many opportunities for his teammates with the space his creates