The opening game of the 2017 Afl season sees Richmond vs. Carlton take place on Thursday the 23rd of March at the MCG. Both clubs will be looking to get off to a good start and to put the horrors of last year to behind them. The opening fixture of the season has gone Richmond’s way the last 3 years. Carlton’s record against Richmond has been poor in general, with their last win coming way back in the Elimination final in 2013.
Patrick Cripps (Carlton)
There’s no denying that Patrick Cripps could be of footy's best players in years to come. The young 22-year-old midfielder adds critical speed in the middle. Cripps holds up as one the keys in the Carlton side in linking the ball from end to end .After suffering a back injury in the pre-season, he is expected to be back to full fitness and ready to go for round 1
Dion Prestia (Richmond)
Dion Prestia looms as one the biggest and most promising trades after moving across from Gold Coast. Prestia was called in to replace the outgoing Brett Deledio. Prestia looks to be the key player in the midfield and not only will all eyes be on him as he makes his debut in the yellow and Black but to see how he has transitioned from club. Dion will be one of the key players if Richmond are looking to get a win here first up
Bryce Gibbs (Carlton)
Arguably one of the best players for Carlton when he is firing, Gibbs will look to make an impact after being asked to be traded in the post season, After talks broke down Gibbs stayed and left a sour taste in blues fan mouths. Gibbs will be crucial in holding down Richmond forward Jack Riewoldt. Gibbs will be looking to make his mark in this Carlton side.
Trent Cotchin (Richmond)
Trent Cotchin holds on to captaincy for another year after talks that he should give it up and focus on his own game a bit more. Trent’s ball use has really risen in the past year, but his role as captain and commander needs to see him step up and be more of a leader - rising when his team is down and needs lifting.
Levi Casboult (Carlton)
Levi Casboult's kicking has been dreadful, seeing him kick 18.18 in season 2016. Casboult has been seen as one of Carlton’s go-to men in the forward 50, but his kicking has let himself and the team down on numerous occasions. Casboult will need to improve his kicking if Carlton have any chance of winning or even challenging the Tigers for the game.
Round 1 - Best 22
B: Kade Simpson, Sam Rowe, Simon White
HB: Sam Docherty, Caleb Marchbank, Dale Thomas
C: Billie Smedts, Bryce Gibbs, Ed Curnow
HF: Matthew Wright, Jacob Weitering, Dennis Armfield
F: Rhys Palmer, Levi Casboult, Jarrod Pickett
Foll: Matthew Kreuzer, Patrick Cripps, Marc Murphy
I/C: Charlie Curnow, Sam Kerridge, Lachie Plowman, Jack Silvagni
B: Dylan Grimes, David Astbury, Reece Conca
HB: Bachar Houli, Alex Rance, Brandon Ellis
C: Shane Edwards, Dustin Martin, Shaun Grigg
HF: Josh Caddy, Ben Griffiths, Nick Vlastuin
F: Daniel Rioli, Jack Riewoldt, Sam Lloyd
Foll: Toby Nankervis, Trent Cotchin, Dion Prestia
I/C: Anthony Miles, Kamdyn McIntosh, Jason Castagna, Dan Butler
Prediction: Richmond by 28 points