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Top Clubs Get Needed Breather Ahead of Run Home

Premiership hangovers are not symptomatic in Richmond, as the Tigers have shown every indication that they do not intend to take the sort of plunge the Western Bulldogs experienced after surprising the league in 2016.

Richmond has lost just two games in the Toyota 2018 AFL Premiership competition. The first was an ambush rematch of the 2017 Grand Final when the Tigers saw the Adelaide Crows extract no small measure of revenge for the loss at MCG in the last game of 2017.

The other loss was to the West Coast Eagles.

If there is a disturbing aspect to those two losses, it is that the games were runaways wins for the Tigers’ opponents. The Crows beat them by 36 and the Eagles outscored them by 47.

The Tigers get their bye in Round 14, but not until they deal with road games with Port and Geelong.

Immediately after, they face the Swans and the Crows, followed by the GWS Giants.

Save a Round 20 match with Geelong, the Tigers’ fixture following the bye looks benign by comparison, so long as no complacency or major injuries rear their ugly heads.

They need the sort of dependability from their senior list that David Astbury is supplying. When the Tigers play Port this weekend at the Adelaide Oval, Astbury will be playing his 50th consecutive game.

That streak is significant in and of itself; more so because prior, Astbury made it into senior games just 24 times from 2011 – 2015.

The sort of consistency he has displayed since then has seen him reap the benefits every club needs from a tall defender. He is ranked 13th in the competition for intercepts and 17th for marks.

Neither the Tigers nor the Eagles can afford to rest on their laurels.

The Melbourne Demons are on the rise in 2018 and basically have been since 2014, although in 2014 and 2015, they had hardly any direction other than up to take.