Deledio longs for AFL finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Deledio longs for AFL finals

Roger Vaughan 30/08/2011 03:20:25 PM Comments (0)

Richmond defender Brett Deledio longs for the AFL season where the Melbourne spring heralds a whiff of finals and not the impending grind of pre-season.

The 24-year-old will play his 150th senior game on Sunday when the Tigers end their season against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.

The 2004 No.1 draft pick and two-time Richmond best and fairest has missed only four games since his 2005 debut.

He will be the youngest Richmond player to reach the 150 milestone and also the quickest at the club to play that many games.

But the closest Deledio has come to finals so far in his AFL career has been the ninth placings in 2006 and '08.

The Tigers will most likely finish ninth again if they beat the Kangaroos.

While they are finishing this season strongly and showing plenty of strong signs, Deledio admits to frustration that they will again miss out on the top eight.

"The weather's probably the biggest bonus of playing this time of year," he said.

"I remember saying to (captain) Chris Newman last year that we're sick of training while the boys were still playing.

"It is frustrating, but we can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel. We're definitely building towards something.

"As long as we keep improving, we should hopefully be playing this time of year."

But Deledio would not be drawn on when the Tigers might return to the finals for the first time since 2001.

"I'm not going to put a cap on anything. I will leave that one alone," he said.

"The club is healthy but, in terms of ninth spot, unless you're inside the eight, you don't tend to look at the ladder too much.

"We are tracking along nicely, but there are still plenty of areas for improvement and that's something for us to take forward."

Deledio was also uninterested in speculation that it might not be worthwhile for Richmond to win this Sunday, given it will cost them slightly higher draft picks.

Three weeks ago, the Tigers set themselves the task of winning their last four games to take some momentum into their pre-season.

So far, they have broken a six-game losing streak with three straight wins.

"Tanking doesn't happen, does it? So we'll be out there to win.

"We need that momentum ... as I'm sure North Melbourne will be (keen) as well."

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