Friday night at Adelaide Oval had all the makings of a mini elimination final and even before the opening bounce, it was clear there was some feeling in the contest to come.
It was a wet game and perhaps the skills suffered for it, but Richmond appeared to have all the answers early as they made scoreboard impact primarily through a lively Sam Lloyd to wrestle a six-point lead at the first break. As the rain continued to persist in the second term though, it appeared that the Power put their foot down and slowly began to suffocate the Tigers.
It took Port Adelaide a mere seven minutes into the second quarter to take a stranglehold on the game. They would put on a devastating seven-goal burst, defying the wet conditions, to take a 36-point lead into the main break. It was seemingly a quarter predominantly played in the Power’s forward 50. In fact, the Tigers did not go inside their forward 50 until 18:22 into the term – the longest it has taken any team in any quarter this year and its first score came via a rushed behind after 26 minutes, Port meanwhile had a six-goal lead.
The second half saw Richmond continually playing catch up, they would be within a sniff for the Power to only reassert their dominance and put any hope the Tigers had firmly out of their grasp. It was a strong performance from Port Adelaide who laid 106 tackles; the Tigers had 43 less than that. Key playmakers in Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin also had a reduced impact on the game as a result.
The loss means that the Tigers have now slumped to 6-8 and Damien Hardwick all but conceded in his post-match press conference that finals were no longer possible. Richmond would not only need to win all of their remaining eight games of the season, but also bank on teams around them faltering; an unlikely situation. They are now three wins and massive percentage out of the eight. On the horizon are five top eight opponents – Hawks (Round 18), GWS (Round 19), Cats (Round 21) and Swans (Round 23). Before that though is the second of three trips to Etihad Stadium to face the Dogs, that will not be an easy task for the Tigers either.
Final Score: PORT 14.10.94 to RICH 8.8.56.
TOP 3 TIGERS:
1. BRANDON ELLIS: The midfielder played more on the half-back in one of his better all-around performances. He finished with 34 disposals (10 in the third quarter and 11 in the last quarter), 12 contested possessions, seven intercepts, 10 marks, five clearances, 12 pressure acts and four score involvements.
2. DUSTIN MARTIN: The on-ball player was relentless despite constant harassment from Port’s Brad Ebert. He finished with 32 disposals (11 in the first quarter and 11 in the third quarter), 13 contested possessions, five intercepts, four marks, six clearances, 17 pressure acts and three score involvements.
3. BRETT DELEDIO: The Tigers Vice-Captain lifted from virtual anonymity in the first half to exert some influence in the third term. He finished with 30 disposals (13 in the third term and 10 in the final term), 13 contested possessions, eight intercepts, five marks, two clearances, 14 pressure acts and four score involvements.
What were your thoughts on the game?