DUSTIN Martin has had been a significant driver behind Richmond's improved form in the past fortnight, but who is the next most valuable Tiger after their superstar midfielder?

Powerful onballer Dion Prestia has endured more than his fair share of time on the sidelines and has an immediate effect when he returns, while defensive generals Nick Vlastuin and Dylan Grimes leave huge holes behind when injured.

But keen-eyed Richmond supporters will tell you the perennially underrated Kane Lambert has a surprisingly large impact on the Tigers' fortunes, and they'd be correct.

RICHMOND'S WIN/LOSS WITH SELECTED PLAYERS IN AND OUT

PLAYER

DIFF

GMS IN (W-L-D)

Win%

GMS OUT (W-L-D)

Win%

Kane Lambert

24.0%

103 (74-28-1)

71.8%

23 (11-11-1)

47.8%

Dylan Grimes

18.6%

118 (81-35-2)

68.6%

8 (4-4-0)

50.0%

Nick Vlastuin

16.0%

97 (69-26-2)

71.1%

29 (16-13-0)

55.2%

Toby Nankervis

12.5%

95 (67-28-0)

70.5%

31 (18-11-2)

58.1%

Dion Prestia

11.9%

84 (60-23-1)

71.4%

42 (25-16-1)

59.5%

Trent Cotchin

-2.6%

103 (69-33-1)

67.0%

23 (16-6-1)

69.6%

The importance of the honest half-forward flanker – more so than his other injury-prone teammates – can be illustrated by a simple win/loss count.

Richmond wins almost 72 per cent of its games when Lambert plays; when he doesn't, the winning percentage drops to 48. That's a swing of 24 percentage points – the biggest differential in this select group of players.

Kane Lambert kicks the ball during round 20, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

The bullocking Prestia is often highlighted as crucial to Richmond's success, and he is – to a point, but the Tigers actually have more valuable players according to their win/loss ratio.

Grimes (18.6 per cent), Vlastuin (16.0 per cent) and Toby Nankervis (12.5 per cent) all have a more positive effect on Richmond's win/loss differentials than the former Sun.

Former skipper Trent Cotchin's importance in big-game moments is well-known (remember that spinning goal against Geelong in 2017's qualifying final?), but Richmond has been able to cover his absence remarkably effectively in the 23 matches he has missed since 2017.

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Captain Cotch kicks a cracker

What a goal by the Richmond skipper

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However, Lambert's absence has always caused a knock-on effect. His running creates the space for Jack Riewoldt and Tom Lynch to thrive, and he is an important conduit between the forward line and the midfield.

Liam Baker is usually the one brought forward to cover for Lambert, but the feisty small is generally better suited to defence, and it also creates another hole to cover.

The importance of Ivan

Since Ivan Soldo's development from a Category B basketball-playing rookie to a genuine AFL ruckman, Richmond has played around with its ruck line-up.

Ivan Soldo competes with Max Lynch in the ruck during Richmond's meeting with Hawthorn in round nine, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

Given that Soldo wasn't a regular member of the side until 2019, it's not fair to couple him with the above players, as his non-selection in the first two years of the dynasty was mostly due to form/team structure, rather than injury.

Saying that, his importance in the past three and a half years has been notable.

RICHMOND'S WIN/LOSS WITH IVAN SOLDO IN AND OUT

SOLDO

DIFF

GMS IN (W-L-D)

Win%

GMS OUT (W-L-D)

Win%

2017-2022

9.5%

42 (31-10-1)

73.8%

84 (54-29-1)

64.3%

2019-2022

25.3%

34 (26-7-1)

76.5%

43 (22-20-1)

51.2%

When Soldo has been in the team since 2019, the Tigers have a 76.5 per cent winning ration. When he's out, they've won just 51.2 per cent of their games – a differential of 25.3 per cent, better even that his pivotal teammate Lambert.

The moustachioed ruck missed the entirety of 2021 due to a knee reconstruction, but was a key contributor to the 2019 and 2020 flag campaigns.