Richmond's Deledio downcast over form - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Richmond's Deledio downcast over form

By Adam Cooper 14/07/2009 03:37:05 PM Comments (0)

Richmond's Brett Deledio admits he doesn't deserve plaudits for his 2009 AFL form, but won't have to look far for inspiration in turning things around.

Deledio won Richmond's best and fairest award in 2008, but ahead of his 100th game, against North Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday, said his follow-up season had not been what it had promised.

"I'm still inconsistent, I know that," he said.

"I don't expect to get any pats on the back, I haven't done anything this year.

"The side's been a bit inconsistent, or very inconsistent, so that's something we're improving on and I'm trying to improve on myself."

Deledio's frustrations this year came after the struggles he had early in his career, when trying to perform under the weight of expectation put on his shoulders since he was the No.1 pick in the 2004 national draft.

That was magnified given the early success of Hawthorn forwards Jarryd Roughead (pick two) and Lance Franklin (five).

But Deledio's teammate Richard Tambling found himself under more public pressure given the limited impact he had on games, having been selected directly before Franklin.

But judged on 2009 form, Tambling has been the best-performed player of the quintet that also includes Western Bulldogs utility Ryan Griffen and has become someone to look up to in a the Tigers' lean season.

"Richie's really turned it around he's playing some fantastic footy at the moment," Deledio said.

"He has copped it a fair bit and to be honest he's been probably our best performer over the last four or five weeks.

"Not only that, he's inspiring us with some of his acts that he's doing out there, putting his head over the footy and that sort of stuff. He's been fantastic."

Deledio is also "absolutely" keen for Ben Cousins to play on in 2010 given the veteran midfielder is starting to exert his influence on matches, and has had a huge impact on teaching the Tigers' onballers.

"Ben's been fantastic, I can't speak high enough of him," Deledio said.

"I never realised how much of a team player Ben was until you witness it first-hand.

"I haven't seen anyone drive as much to help out another teammate as he has, and to see his work rate on game day is phenomenal."

Although proud at reaching three figures, Deledio is desperate to experience team success given he and teammates Chris Newman (148 games), Kayne Pettifer (113) and Shane Tuck (106) are among the most-experienced current players who have never played in a final.

That must be galling in comparison to Geelong's Joel Selwood, who won a premiership in his first year (2007) and has only played in six losing sides in 60 games.

"Joel's been very lucky hasn't he?" Deledio said.

"He's walked into a superstar team and he's got to play in two grand finals already.

"It is disappointing, but the future's looking bright here.

"I think we've got some good kids coming through and we're always striving to better ourselves, so finals are just around the corner we hope."

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