Consistency key as Tigers’ Yze plots Sydney’s downfall

Shayne Hope |

Adem Yze (L) needs an upset over Sydney to avoid being the first Tigers coach since 2010 to be 0-4.
Adem Yze (L) needs an upset over Sydney to avoid being the first Tigers coach since 2010 to be 0-4.

Richmond coach Adem Yze has implored his troops to “maintain the rage” as they seek to become the first AFL team this season to take down high-flying Sydney.

Yze’s reign at Punt Road has begun with three consecutive losses and it will take a massive upset for the Tigers to avoid their first 0-4 start to a campaign since 2010.

The task against the unbeaten Swans (3-0) grew even harder when superstar Dustin Martin (calf) and veteran defender Dylan Grimes (wrist) were ruled out of Sunday’s MCG clash.

Also without injured ball-winners Jacob Hopper (knee) and Dion Prestia (hamstring), undermanned Richmond will take on a high-powered Sydney engine room led by ruck star Brodie Grundy and red-hot midfielders Isaac Heeney, Chad Warner and Errol Gulden.

“The Swans’ clearance game and their contest is very strong, and they’ve got some terrific midfielders that are in really good form,” Yze said.

“The midfield battle is always important to give our forwards opportunity and territory, and in most games when we’ve had it we’ve been really potent.

“So we’ve just got to maintain that rage for four quarters. Our mids are looking forward to it.”

Richmond leave the field after losing to Carlton on March 14.
Richmond have shown glimpses of form but are still winless in 2024. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS)

Finding that consistency over four quarters is far easier said than done, as Richmond have seen first-hand this season.

The Tigers have shown glimpses in losses to Gold Coast, Carlton and Port Adelaide without controlling games for long enough.

“We’re really happy when we get the game looking like a Richmond game,” Yze said.

“We feel like we can be really competitive and we’ve just had some lapses. That’s OK.

“We’ve played some quality opposition in Port and Carlton, and now we’re coming up against probably one of the best teams in the competition.

“They’re going to be consistent, so that’s going to test us.”

Sydney’s tall forwards present further challenges, with Hayden McLean (197cm), Joel Amartey (197cm) and Logan McDonald (196cm) posing marking threats close to goal in expected fine weather.

Nathan Broad (calf) and Tyler Young (concussion) are back to bolster Richmond’s undermanned defence.

“Getting our back six together and some continuity within that group will be important,” Yze said.

“We’re coming up against one of the best teams in the competition and we’re going to put some young players under finals-like intensity.

“Our players are really excited to put on a really good performance.”

Maurice Rioli (back) is also back from injury, while Tyler Sonsie will make his first senior appearance since serving a three-match ban for an ugly off-the-ball strike in a VFL game last year.

Caleb Mitchell will debut for the Swans, with Robbie Fox recalled and Harry Cunningham (concussion) unavailable after the bump from Peter Wright that landed the Essendon forward a four-match suspension.