AFL Club Awards: Dyer for Deledio, maybe not so dire for Richmond

Jack Dyer Medallist

By Josh Barnstable

Bleak. That one word describes the Richmond season. It started out with some optimism. Ben Cousins had been recruited after a one year ban for drug use, Matthew Richardson was coming off a career-best season, Chris Newman was handed the captaincy and most of the Tigers players were set to improve, like Trent Cotchin, Richard Tambling and Brett Deledio. They did improve, but what happened on that Thursday night in the opening game of the season is still an open wound for the Tigers and their supporters. The effect it had on the rest of the season is paramount. Despite putting up a brave fight against Geelong the next week, the Tigers had to wait until Round 5 for their first victory, and by then the rest of the competition was bounding ahead. Richmond were resigned to 15th spot on the ladder. Everyone wants to see them improve, and wouldn’t it be nice if they could make the finals in what will be Richo’s last year. I can’t see him winning the Brownlow like he almost did in 2008 and I can’t see him having a premiership medallion at the end of his time, but I can just see a glimmer of hope that may see Richmond bow out in a final next year in front of a big crowd, something Richo loves and hates. But they need improvement from some of players that have gotten away with not performing. With a new coach at the helm, expect a whole different Tiger outfit next season.

1. Brett Deledio

The young star became the first “back-to-back Jack” since Joel Bowden, winning his second Jack Dyer Medal in a row. The midfielder averaged 24.2 disposals, 5.4 marks, 3.6 tackles, 4.5 inside 50’s and kicked 20.15. He ranked 15th for total number of inside 50’s in the league, and his best game came against Hawthorn in Round 21. Deledio gathered 36 possessions, took five marks, laid seven tackles and kicked two goals.

2. Daniel Jackson

The fiery tagger put in a career-best season, playing every match and averaging 23 disposals, 4.9 marks and 4.9 tackles. He kicked 4.7, and one of the highlights of his season came in Round 7 loss to Brisbane, where Jackson had his head split open and came from the field with the most amount of blood streaming from his face that I’ve ever seen, I was reminded of Tiger tough man Francis Bourke. Jackson’s most prolific game came in Round 14 against Adelaide at the Gold Coast Stadium, where he picked up 26 touches, took five marks and booted two goals.

3. Chris Newman

The skipper of the side had an underrated year, and was off the radar for most games of the season. He played 21 games for the year, averaged 20.8 disposals, 4.2 marks, 3.2 tackles and kicked 3.5. His best game came in Round 16 against North Melbourne. Despite the game ending in a draw, Newman was a big factor in why the Tigers led by seven goals in the second half, collecting 25 disposals, seven marks and seven tackles. Was talked about throughout the season because he told Terry Wallace that the team didn’t want him as coach.

4. Richard Tambling

Tambling had the breakout season we were all waiting for. After a terrible start to the year, Tambling picked up his form and his season got stronger and stronger. He played 20 games, averaged 21.5 touches, 6.4 marks, 3.2 tackles, and 3.4 inside 50’s and kicked 8.11. His best game came in Round 14 against Adelaide, where he picked up a career-high 31 possessions, took five marks and booted a goal.

5. Ben Cousins

The recruit of the year. There was doubt over whether he would be able to perform after a year out of the game because of a ban over drug use. Cousins kicked his habit though, but twanged his hammy in the Round 1 match against Carlton. He made a return in Round 7 against the Lions where he picked up 22 disposals and kicked a goal. He averaged 23.9 touches, three tackles and 2.5 inside 50’s in his 15 games. He kicked 5.3, and his best game was against Carlton in Round 15. He collected 35 possessions, took three marks and laid four tackles in the loss. Two years maximum left in him.

6. Nathan Foley

Foley had a brilliant season despite only playing 14 matches, he averaged 25.8 possessions, 2.9 marks and 3.9 tackles. He kicked 4.2, and his best game was in Round 3 against the Western Bulldogs where he gathered 29 disposals, took seven marks, laid four tackles and kicked a goal. His season ended in the Round 14 game against Adelaide due to a torn hamstring.

7. Shane Tuck

Tuck had a difficult season, with the departure of Terry Wallace and Jade Rawlings taking the reigns, Tuck was squeezed out of the side and could only get in a handful games for the year after the mid-season break, which was surprising seeing as he was in the form of his career. He played 19 out of 22 games, averaged 27.5 touches, took 4.7 marks and 3.3 tackles. He kicked 8.3, with a best of two against Hawthorn in Round 21 and against the Bulldogs in Round 11, along with 32 disposals and eight marks. Declared he wanted to leave Tigerland, but is staying put for now.

8. Jack Riewoldt

The younger cousin of the superstar Nick Riewoldt, Jack has found it tough to try and live up to expectations but he showed signs of the future in 2009, booting 32.27 from 20 matches. He averaged 12.9 touches, 6.4 marks and 2.4 tackles in a game, and his best haul for the year was six goals against Essendon in Round 17, also a career-best. Booted three goals against North Melbourne on two occasions.

9. Dean Polo

One of the worst things any young player can do is to burst onto the scene with a breathtaking performance, and then struggle. This is what Dale Thomas did, likewise Mark McGough. Dean Polo had this problem as well. But his year in 2009 showed what potential this kid has; he played 21 matches, averaged 17.3 disposals and five marks. Booted 4.2, his best game was against Brisbane in Round 7 where he picked up 27 touches, one off his best of 28 which he reached in his first game in 2007, he also took six marks and laid four tackles in the loss to the Lions.

10. Mitch Morton

A year to remember for Morton. Blamed by Terry Wallace for losing the game against Port Adelaide, Morton flirted with danger everytime he marked inside 50 by playing on, wheeling around and trying to snap a goal around the body. I liken myself to Morton, because I also wear number 20 and I’d much rather snap a goal instead of taking a set-shot. This is because Dad built goalposts in our frontyard and I’m always practicing the freakish snaps from the “boundary”. Back to Morton, in Wallace’s second last game against Fremantle at Subiaco, Morton marked deep in the forward pocket deep in red time, last quarter. He played on, snapped, and goaled. The Tigers hit the front, they won. Wallace left a week after, and Morton continued with his antics that returned 41.26 for the year, 17th in the league. He averaged 14.8 touches, 5.7 marks and 2.7 tackles, his best haul was against West Coast in Round 12 where he snapped five goals and picked up 18 disposals and five marks.

The enigma that is wrapped in a black jumper with a yellow sash is strong, yet weak. The youngster cubs coming through are playing a role. Robin Nahas showed a lot of promise; he looks set to fill the hole left by Nathan Brown, while the two goalsneaks Danny Connors and Andrew Collins are dangerous targets. Richo will return, Troy Simmonds has been given another year, and Foley will be looking to play a full season. Things don’t look so bad for the Yellow and Black when you read that but, like they have done many times before, I’m sure they’ll find a way to screw things up.


  1. So can I start calling you “Mitch” now Josh?

  2. Yeah sure Gigs, just don’t blame me for a loss next year

  3. Damian Watson says

    Poor old Graham Polak has been delisted from the Tigers list.

    Do you think he will ever play again? with his tram injury obviously a factor.

  4. Hmmm i can see a club like Melbourne or Port Adelaide picking him up for a few years and i think he has a lot of quality left in him. All the best Polly

  5. Michael Allan says

    I think Richmond will be picking him up as a rookie and I can’t see anybody else wanting him.

    Good wrap up Josh although there’s one thing I didn’t agree with.

    Tambling and Jackson had better games than the Adelaide one.

    Bling’s best was Round 12 against West Coast. He had something like 12 touches in the first quarter and was always the on e kicking it into Morton.

    As fr Jackson, how could you forget Round 5 against your Roos? If it wasn’t for him injuring Boomer. We probably wouldv’e lost.

  6. Michael, Tambling’s game against West Coast was great, but they were playing West Coast. His game against Adelaide was against a quality team with a quality midfield and he was very influential. The same goes for Jackson, we do not talk about Boomer’s injury while i am here lol

  7. Michael Allan says

    I don’t think you should rate players game’s based on opposition.

    The fact is that Tambling’s first quarter against West Coast set the team up for the win. After quarter time both teams struggled to kick consecutive goals.

    Anyway, I’m rapt with Richmond’s spring cleaning. 13 players off the senior list only 3 players added. Great start Hardwick.

  8. Oh yeah i found something cool on the AFL website last night. Its a draft game, hard to explain but yeah check it out its pretty good

  9. Cya people later. Going camping

  10. Steve Healy says

    cya Josh. Don’t eat too much bush tucker.

    Jeez, even Caroline Wilson thinks Melb’s fixture is good, she wrote about it in THE AGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leave a Comment