Replacing The Irreplaceable

There will be something a little unfamiliar about Richmond when they run out onto the MCG to open their 2024 season.

It is something similar to the way Geelong seemed at the start of the 2023 season. There were 23 players in hoops out there, just like normal. Many people thought the Cats had just got a bit better after a trade period where they not only picked up Jack Bowes, Ollie Henry, and Tanner Bruhn, but added a top ten draft pick (Jhye Clark) for next to nothing. There was speculation that the reigning premiers would be even better than they were in 2022 with their added youth.

Of course, we know now that this was not the case.

The one thing that was missing left a gaping hole in the team, and perhaps took a bit of the soul of the club with him when he walked off the MCG following the 2022 premiership.

Losing the leadership of Joel Selwood hurt the Cats more than they’ll admit. They replaced him with Patrick Dangerfield – really, he was the only bloke that could have followed a leader like Selwood, but even a Brownlow Medallist doesn’t exude the same leadership qualities as the retired Selwood.

Very few ever have.

One of those very few hung up the boots at the end of the 2023 season, and what void in leadership he leaves behind at Punt Road will be something to keep an eye on as the 2024 season approaches and unfolds.


Oh, what the hell? A Mongrel paywall? Yep, the remainder of this article is for our valued members. I believe my work is worth twenty five cents per day. If you don’t, that’s fine. Standalone articles, off-season news, into season previews and pre-season game reviews, before we hit the 2024 season are all part of Mongrel Membership. You’re welcome to join/rejoin