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Tigers assembling speedy AFL team: coach

By Sam Lienert 01/04/2006 02:53:24 PM Comments (0)

Richmond coach Terry Wallace says the Tigers are assembling a crack team of speedsters in the mould of the "lightning quick" Western Bulldogs side which inflicted the worst defeat of his AFL coaching career.

The super-quick, silky-skilled Bulldogs demolished Richmond by 115 points at Telstra Dome on Friday night in an awesome performance which left the Tigers devastated and humiliated.

But it also gave them a glimpse of what they hope is their future.

Wallace, who coached the Bulldogs from 1996-2002 when many of the players who ripped Richmond apart were recruited, said the Tigers were heading down the same track.

"They're lightning quick, they are the fastest side in the competition," Wallace said of the Bulldogs.

"I think if you just go on straight numbers of how many players they have that can run under three seconds for 20 metres, they're the quickest side in the competition.

"Everyone knows that's the case ... that was always what the plan was, to get a group of midfielders and run.

"I suppose what we're trying to do at Richmond is go down the same path.

"But ours are four years or five years behind them."

The Tigers' list is packed with pacy youngsters, among them Brett Deledio, Richard Tambling, and Andrew Raines, who were part of the debacle.

Richmond picked up 18-year-old Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls, rated the most agile player at last year's draft camp, with its first pick in last November's draft and has other teenage speedsters Daniel Jackson and Danny Meyer on its list.

Those three did not play, but seven players with 25 games experience or less did play, including Deledio, Tambling and Raines.

"That's where we've got to go as a side," Wallace said.

"The senior players that we had in our side over the past three or four years weren't able to do the job, so we've had to put young players in.

"And look, I think the Western Bulldogs went through exactly the same thing under (former coach) Peter Rohde.

"When those guys only had a few games under their belt, they were getting belted a few times.

"What happens is eventually they grow up and become stronger and mentally stronger about it all and when they get their opportunity they enjoy belting a few others back."

Wallace said the 'Dogs had a glut of players in the prime footballing age category of 22-26.

"That's when you really impact football, you're hungry still, you haven't got the injuries, you're fresh enough," he said.

He said that group emerged from the rebuilding program set in motion when he was at the club.

In an odd twist, two of Richmond's few positives for the night - the return of star forward Nathan Brown from a broken leg and the promising debut in Tiger colours of Patrick Bowden - involved players who started their careers under Wallace at the 'Dogs.

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