Versatile defender Dylan Grimes has declared Richmond ready to handle the huge task of subduing Adelaide’s star-studded forward line in the AFL grand final.
The Tigers are gearing up for their first premiership decider since 1982 after claiming a 36-point victory over Greater Western Sydney in Saturday’s preliminary final.
They will face an imposing opponent in the Crows, who were clinical in their 61-point preliminary final win over Geelong.
The minor premiers boast the best forward line in the competition, with talls Taylor Walker, Josh Jenkins, Tom Lynch and Mitch McGovern complemented by brilliant smalls Eddie Betts and Charlie Cameron.
While McGovern is no certainty to play after missing Friday night’s game with a sore hamstring, the Crows have nonetheless proved to be scoring machines regardless of injuries.
Adelaide were the only team in the AFL to average 100 points or more per game during the regular season, a feat they also achieved last year when they bowed out in the semi-finals.
Richmond have been among the AFL’s best defensive sides this year, led by All-Australian fullback Alex Rance.
With Rance and lockdown defender David Astbury likely to handle Walker and Jenkins, the Tigers will put plenty of thought into how best to deploy Grimes and Nathan Broad.
“We’re really lucky that we’ve got two really solid key backs in Dave and Rancey, and two hybrids in Broady and myself that can give the back line a bit of flexibility,” Grimes said.
“The look that we’ve gone with all year hasn’t really changed in the back line.
“We’ve had minimal changes, and there’s a lot of faith in the back line within our playing group.”
Grimes had his first taste of September action when the Tigers were knocked out in the first week of the finals in 2013 – a pattern that would repeat in 2014 and 2015.
Emotions were running high in the Richmond rooms after their 15.13 (103) to 9.13 (67) victory over the Giants, but Grimes said the Tigers would waste little time in getting to work ahead of the grand final.
“Adelaide are in amazing form,” he said.
“They had a really consistent year and they finished top of the ladder, which says a lot.
“No doubt we’ll do a lot of prep this week, get our bodies right and pretty much straight away start working on what we’re going to do.”