“In this particular instance, we are expected to lay a block and if we didn’t it would come up in review and probably be an ‘RFI’ or ‘room for improvement’.”
Docherty says Blues will be ready to deliver
Former Carlton co-captain Sam Docherty says the Blues “have got a duty” to be at their best when they face arch-rival Collingwood with finals on the line on Sunday.
The Blues, clinging to eighth spot, will likely need to defeat the Magpies to rubber-stamp their first finals berth since 2013.
They appeared to have done that against Melbourne on Saturday when they led by eight points with three minutes remaining but they made mistakes and conceded two late goals, the last with 13 seconds left, to break hearts.
Docherty, desperate to play a final after 11 seasons at the elite level, said the Blues “needed to play the right way” in what will be the optimum test of their game plan, nerve and culture.
“For our group, if we can get there (finals) it would be awesome … we have got a duty to our own culture and our group that we bring it on the weekend,” Docherty said on Tuesday.
“We are in a unique position that our destiny is in our hands. We go into this week with full confidence that if we play the right way we should get the job done.
“Our whole year of working on our game plan, our culture, so that it stands up in the moments that matter. Obviously, this week is a moment that matters.”
A growing injury list meant Docherty was shifted into a new midfield role against the Demons, and he performed well.
The Blues will monitor Adam Cerra (abductor) through the week in the hope the midfielder can return and add depth, while rebounding half-back Zac Williams (calf) is pushing for a return after several months on the sidelines.
The Blues need Patrick Cripps and Sam Walsh to have a major impact, as both tired in the final term against the Demons. Walsh had 27 disposals for the night but only nine kicks at 11 per cent efficiency.
Charlie Curnow, with 62 goals, is primed to earn his maiden Coleman Medal, for star Cat Jeremy Cameron (59) is injured, while Tom Hawkins (55) and Richmond’s Tom Lynch (55) are well behind.
This shapes as the most important game between the Blues and Magpies clubs since the 1988 qualifying final. The fifth-placed Magpies have top-four aspirations on the line.
“From our point of view, the message doesn’t change. I know it’s a massive game and, don’t get me wrong, I know everyone in the world will tell you that, but … it doesn’t really matter who we are playing against,” Docherty said.
While the spotlight has been on how the Blues botched the final moments against the Demons, that they have a 3-6 win-loss record since their bright start has highlighted their recent troubles. They have lost their past three games, including to lowly Adelaide.
The Magpies prevailed by four points when the two clubs last met. Harry McKay was absent that afternoon, while Jacob Weitering was hurt early and subbed off.
Docherty, having twice overcome testicular cancer, appeared with Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre chief Shelley Dola on Tuesday. The Blues and Magpies are raising awareness and funds for the centre this week – in particular for prostate cancer – and will play for the Richard Pratt Cup.
Richmond stalwart Shane Edwards to retire
Richmond great Shane Edwards is set to retire when the Tigers’ AFL finals campaign ends.
One of just five Tigers to have played 300 VFL/AFL matches, 33-year-old Edwards signalled the looming end to his decorated career in a statement on Tuesday.
“It is time for me to step aside and move on just as players did for me when I started,” Edwards said.
“I am trying to play to the best of my ability out there but it is pretty obvious to me that I won’t be helping us move forward next year.“
Richmond hold seventh spot on the ladder ahead of their last home-and-away game on Saturday night against Essendon.
Edwards was picked by the Tigers in the 2006 national draft from South Australia and has been a mainstay as the club rose from the bottom of the ladder to win three premierships.
Edwards received votes in the Norm Smith Medal, awarded to the best player in the grand final, in two of Richmond’s three premierships in 2017, 2019 and 2020.
“I have won (three) premierships and a few wooden spoons and finished everywhere in between as well,” he said.
“The club has given me everything, it has changed my life forever.
” … When I look back on my career, what I think of is how lucky I have been. I have never really had a big injury and I got to come to a big club with really passionate supporters.”
Edwards, the first Indigenous member of Richmond’s 300-game club, has played 301 AFL games and was an All-Australian in 2018.
“The journey he came on reflects us as a club and what we have achieved … it resembles everything we have become,” Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said.
“What we have gained from Shane is incredible insight as individuals and about Indigenous culture as well.
“(And) the way he came in and impacted games when we needed a spark is the one thing I will remember from Shane as a player.
“There is nothing more comforting as a coach than having a player you know you can count on.”
Retiring Port Adelaide great Gray ‘special person’
Robbie Gray retires with some embarrassment at being hailed as Port Adelaide’s greatest AFL player.
The four-time All Australian and triple club champion will play his last AFL game on Saturday night against Adelaide.
Port coach Ken Hinkley has no doubt the brilliant game-breaker is the club’s greatest player in the AFL era.
But Gray baulks at such talk. “You know how much I love speaking about myself,” the notoriously publicity-shy Gray told reporters.
The 34-year-old will finish his decorated career as second on the club’s all-time goalkicking list behind Warren Tredrea and having played the fourth-most AFL games for the Power – he has 365 goals from 270 games.
“It (retirement) is probably something that has been on my mind for a fair while, to be honest,” Gray said.
“You get to this sort of age and the issues I have had physically with my body, I knew it was the right time – as hard as it is to make the call and admit to yourself that it is the time.
“This year has been a struggle … after I weighed everything up, I just felt like this was the right call for me personally and the footy club as well.”
Melbourne-born Gray was the 55th selection at the 2006 national draft.