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'Mosquito fleet' has too much bite for Crows

Rioli continues family flag tradition Tigers forward Daniel Rioli speaks to Nat Edwards about Richmond's drought breaking premiership.

THE MAIN benefit of the pressure Richmond's small forwards put on is obvious. Harass the opposition and the turnovers will come. 

But there's more to it than that. 

At training, Daniel Rioli, Daniel Butler and Jason Castagna brought more intensity than Adelaide dished up in the decider. 

"We've gone against our pressure a lot in training, so when we came up against the Crows, I had a bit more time than usual," Shane Edwards said after Richmond's historic flag win on Saturday.

Match report: Terrific Tigers end 37-year wait

Adelaide was constantly forced to rush its disposal because the Tigers were so manic – an onslaught led by their young forward trio.

The gameplan Richmond employed was adopted for two reasons. There weren't any viable tall forwards left standing to support Jack Riewoldt, after Ben Griffiths went down with concussion in round two. 

Also, coach Damien Hardwick wanted to build a strategy that suited his side's strongest traits.

Those being serious speed and a fierce desire to hunt the opposition. 

"That's probably the best strength of all (our) games. We just try to bring that every week and the main thing is the opposition can't take that away from us," Butler told AFL.com.au

"Every week we just try to bring that and defenders struggle against it." 

For he and Castagna, the road to the flag was a tough one. Butler didn't line up in the senior side for his first two seasons, while Castagna entered his third year with just five games to his name. 

"When you're on the rookie list and playing VFL last year, it's a pretty distant dream, but we've come so far as a group," Castagna said.

He made up for lost time by playing in every match this year.

A spot in the team was there for him because of the simpler game style. Everyone was asked to produce only what they were capable of, while being armed with the edict to take the game on. 

The players themselves didn't know what would happen. 

"I didn't really have too many expectations on this year but we had a great system and we knew it worked. It's held up all year," Butler said. 

 

In being asked to solely focus on defensive pressure, the Tiger trio set the standard. 

"They're always doing their job, so you don't ever want to let them down," Edwards said. 

Having a band of three 'mosquitoes' meant the constant harassment became contagious. 

"(Butler and Rioli) pressure amazingly and they help me out as well, when we're pressuring. I guess it kind of flows on and we help each other out," Castagna said. 

There were nerves for him, after a so-so display in the qualifying final win against Geelong. Shai Bolton was in outstanding VFL form and nipping at Castagna's heels.

"I was obviously pretty nervous because I had a couple of average games I guess, but 'Dimma' showed faith in me and kept backing me and letting me play, so I was really grateful to him," Castagna said. 

Rioli's story was different to those two. His family was part of football royalty and his talent has been obvious since he debuted in last year's season-opener, just months after being drafted with selection No.15. 

He suffered an injury to his left foot in the last term and couldn't play out the match, or even run to his teammates after the final siren. 

Rioli was on crutches after the game, not that he cared. 

"I don't have to worry about the foot, I can worry about the medal around my neck and celebrate with my family and my teammates," Rioli told AFL.com.au.

The medal draped around his neck looked so fitting in the aftermath of Richmond's victory. 

That's no surprise, considering Cyril Rioli has won four flags at Hawthorn while Maurice RIoli won the Norm Smith in the Tigers' side that lost to Carlton in 1982, and won a WAFL premiership with South Fremantle in 1980. 

"Maurice and Cyril did it, and now it's my turn," a beaming Rioli said.

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