Richmond assistant coach Justin Leppitsch is backing their mosquito fleet to make the difference in the AFL grand final.
Adelaide will start favourites on Saturday at the MCG, but Leppitsch said the Crows defenders will feel a lot more heat.
Leppitsch’s main responsibility is their attack and the relentless pressure of the Tigers’ small forwards has been a crucial feature of their success.
“If we don’t bring our pressure and speed this week, we know what the game is going to do – I think the whole footy world knows that,” he said.
“So we have to bring that.
“We feel it’s a part of our strength … Daniel Rioli doesn’t have to try to tackle, Dan Butler doesn’t have to try to tackle, it’s just what they naturally do.
“It’s easy to plan for, but it’s hard once you’re out there – when the opposition backs pick up the ball, no doubt they’d be noticing a bit of extra pressure this week than what they’ve had in the last couple of games.”
Leppitsch returned to Richmond as an assistant after three unsuccessful seasons coaching Brisbane.
He admits to surprise that the Tigers have done so well after missing the top eight last year.
“We knew last year didn’t go as well as we thought … but we probably expect to make it to grand final day,” he said.
Richmond, like Adelaide, have no players with grand final experience.
But they have plenty of experience at the business end of the season among their coaching staff.
Leppitsch was a crucial member of the Brisbane three-peat premiership teams from 2001-03 and he said they have spoken this week about what to expect.
“Most of it’s about the distractions and the things on the outside that go on, that are different,” he said.
“In fact, the week itself is the same for the players, it’s just the exterior.”
Leppitsch said it’s a good idea if the players turn off their social media for the week.
“There are more distractions than normal (and) you find about 50 new mates in grand final week who want a ticket,” he said.
“All those things are part and parcel.”
Much has been made of Damien Hardwick’s more relaxed demeanour this season, but Leppitsch said there have been lots of changes at the club.
“I would have thought there’s been as much change in Trent (Cotchin) and Dustin (Martin) and Jack (Riewoldt) as there has Dimma – probably equally,” he said
“They’ve all matured and all changed, my wife said that to me too – maybe it is a senior coaching thing that sends you crazy.
“The group is a lot more … I’m not saying accountable, but it definitely takes responsibility and it makes things so much easier when a group of 50 people are pushing together, as opposed to just a handful.
“That’s the one big noticeable thing, coming back to Richmond.”