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Opposition Watch: Richmond

June 17, 2017 9:29 AM

AFL 2016 Rd 08 - Richmond v Sydney

Shaun Grigg tackles Dan Hannebery in the clubs' last encounter at the MCG, back in Round 8, 2016.

Richmond will go into Saturday's clash at the MCG unchanged, backing the same side which recorded a 35-point win against North Melbourne in Round 11.

The mid-season bye has served Richmond well, with coach Damien Hardwick having a relatively healthy list to choose from.

He's decided to stick to his guns and not make any moves at the selection table while at the same time the Swans made one change - speedster Gary Rohan in for key defender Lewis Melican.

The Tigers are playing a brand of football which has helped them turn a run of three consecutive losses into back-to-back wins (against Essendon and North Melbourne) prior to the bye last weekend.

Led by midfielders Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin, the Tigers’ midfield has been rock solid while their forward line has contributed strongly.

It's ranked second in the league for marks inside 50 with Jack Reiwoldt and co causing headaches for opposition defences.

But Saturday's clash will be the tale of two halves, particularly the backlines which are ranked first (Swans) and second (Tigers) for least points conceded over the past five weeks.

While Alex Rance is the superstar in the Tigers’ back half, there's more to their structure than Rance with David Astbury and Dylan Grimes also in great touch.

Rance and Lance Franklin's one-on-one battles have been great entertainment of late but expect Astbury and Grimes to help out their full-back throughout the match.

Richmond has had the wood over Sydney in recent times, winning three of the past four, the last at the MCG ending in heartbreaking fashion for the visitors after Tigers' forward Sam Lloyd kicked the winning goal after the siren.