Almanac Footy Analysis: A short history of the Richmond Castle



by Ted Hopkins (who led Carlton’s fightback in the 1970 Grand Final v Collingwood)



TedSport acknowledges the 2017 Grand Final was, from a neutral perspective, a bit of a letdown, but otherwise an amazing performance from Mrs Hardwick’s boys! They have now winched the yellow and black flag above the Richmond Castle.


The original Castle was founded in Yorkshire in the eleventh century after the Battle of Hastings. Since then this Norman Castle has been disputed over and despoiled before its restoration. How has the MCG Castle been restored to Richmond, Victoria?


Prior to and during WW2 there were five flags hoisted to the sovereign castles of the MCG and Richmond, including footy Barons, Earls, and Dukes such as Dan Minogue, ‘Checker’ Hughes, Percy Bentley, and Jack Dyer.


From 1967 to 1980 there were another five flags flying including more notables – Tom Hafey, and premiership players Royce Hart, Francis Bourke, and Kevin Bartlett.


It took 37 years of battles and despoilations before the quest of the black and yellow flag was honoured throughout the land. Their elite premiership players, Riewoldt and Houli were drafted 11 years ago, Cotchin and Rance ten, Martin and Astbury eight, and Vlastuin five years ago.


The continual strife ended with an alliance built from 2010 to 2017. The Coach and Administrator Gale together launched in 2010 and President O’Neal in 2014.


We see now it has taken Richmond somewhere between five to ten seasons of continual elite talent, backed by sound organisation, analysis, and some good luck to become a premiership team.


TedSport’s preview of the grand final was entitled VOODOO AND HOME GRAND ADVANTAGE. The reason I chose ‘VOODOO’ is because it’s meaning can turn either way, to hope or despair.


The HOME GROUND ADVANTAGE is verifiable through analytical data. At the MCG it can be quelled by either team. In this Grand Final, the volume and its intensity of the crowd greeting the team triumphed. The support for Richmond was extraordinary, and reaped both voodoo and home ground advantage.


My Grand Final preview gave the best chance of winning the flag to Rance and his defensive Richmond Castle boys. Why did Rance and his support team defenders appear to me so crucial?


During the prelim final the Giants were continually peppering their forward 50 zone. It was Rance and his defender mates who were repelling GWS goal chances and then rebounding into the Tiger’s attacking zone.


I call him the ‘Richmond Duke’. His quality and consistency is obvious. The AFL records say he has been selected in the All-Australian team four consecutive times, and is ‘undoubtedly the best defender in the game.’


From the TedSport KPIS perspective there were two essential indicators that Richmond managed to win throughout the season: the transit advantage #2 and F50m opportunities #2. The importance of these two indicators are based on TedSport’s fundamental principle; It ain’t no point winning the ball unless it is put to good effect.


The relationship of the transit advantage and the F50 entry opportunity pressure of the team can also go either way.


During the Grand Final, and especially in quarters one and two, the Crows kept pushing the ball into their attacking zone. And, yes, the Tigers kept repelling the ball.


But that’s only half the requirement. Rance and Houli and their teammates also kept rebounding to get their forwards best chances to goal, ensuring the black and yellow flag again flies high over Richmond Castle.



Visit Ted’s website. We hope to hear more from Ted next year. Find out how to receive his analysis  and weekly previews. (Footy punters please note.)




  1. I agree with you on Home Ground Advantage Ted: shut the crowd up early. Ironically, this has been Adelaide’s forte during the season. But even with two quick fire opening goals and two more to close down the quarter, there was no shutting down The Tiger Army.

    But Bachar Houli wasn’t the only Richmond player to turn on the performance of their career. Titch Edwards was another, and Butler & Graham two more. But what it really came down to was the sum of the parts. The X Factor. This Richmond Force had been gathering an inexorable momentum over August, which they were able to ramp up over September.

    That players like Astbury (now there’s a good Medieval name fro bear the Duke of Richmond’s banner Ted – David of Astbury) & Grimes sacrificed their own games to nullify their opponents , allowed Houli & Rance to become the attacking catapults was just one example of how well structured and disciplined Richmond have become.

  2. Daniel Flesch says

    At the risk of stating the obvious , which would get our Year 8 teacher remarkably annoyed … to win a GF a team needs every bloke to put in a good or very good game . You can carry a passenger or two during the season but not in the Big One.

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