Richmond will have to thread a mathematical needle to claim a historic premiership three-peat.
The Tigers recovered from slow starts to reach the Grand Final in 2019 and 2020, but they face a much bigger challenge this year according to dual North Melbourne premiership player David King and Champion Data analyst Daniel Hoyne.
King and Hoyne lift the lid on the trends, tactics and statistics that really matter in Pure Footy, exclusive to heraldsun.com.au every Tuesday.
WATCH THIS WEEK’S EPISODE OF PURE FOOTY ABOVE
Hoyne said there were some worrying statistics that showed some of Richmond’s strengths in its premiership years have become weaknesses, and King said the path ahead to make the top for — where 19 of the past 20 premiers have finished the home-and-away rounds — came down to simple maths.
“The critical numbers are two and 30, or four and 40,” he said.
“They’re two wins and 30 percentage points behind third and fourth right now, and they’re four wins and 40 percentage points off the top two — so I think top two is gone.
“In the next 12 weeks they play eight teams that are outside the eight at the moment … then they’ve got four crunch games — West Coast, Brisbane, Geelong and GWS.
“Can they make up the two wins and 30 percentage points in 12 rounds of football?
“Given their percentage, the Tigers are going to have to either beat Geelong and Brisbane to get themselves into the top four, or they’re going to have to nearly go 11 from 12 to jump them. It’s a big ask — and a gamble I’m prepared to take on given what we’re seeing.”
Hoyne revealed Richmond had conceded the fifth-most points from turnovers this year, behind St Kilda, North Melbourne, Collingwood and Hawthorn — a stat in which the Tigers ranked top-three in the competition in each of the past four seasons.
“We haven’t seen that happen in five years, so that is a significant concern for Richmond, just the howlers that are gifting the ball to the opposition and going back over their head.
“I’m not strong enough to say they can’t win it … but they have a lot of areas of their game that need to improve.”
Also on this week’s show King and Hoyne revealed the player on track to record the best intercepting season ever recorded, the two whipping boys being played out of position, Joe Daniher’s new role and some positive signs for Collingwood.
Originally published asThe four numbers that will decide Tigers’ finals fate
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