Richmond no longer has finals to play for, but that didn’t stop them making the Western Bulldogs seriously earn their place in the top four on Saturday night. The Tigers in fact won the contested ball against the #1 side in the competition for the said statistic, which was pleasing as was Damien Hardwick’s praise for his side’s boost in tackle effectiveness; with only one Tiger having not laid a tackle by halftime.
Whilst it was a crushing 10-point loss for the Tigers, there were a lot of positives. That sounds strange to say when you consider it was a game full of mistakes, more than a few brain fades and goals were scored at a premium. It began with Richmond’s horrendous turnovers in the first term that gave the Dogs plenty of chances, but they couldn’t convert that into scoreboard pressure. The door was ajar for the Tigers and they capitalised on that. Each time the Dogs scrapped for their goals, the Tigers were able to hit back and their forward line at times appeared to be just as potent.
The second term was a spritely start for the Tigers, as they opened a 12-point lead midway through the quarter before the Dogs harassed them all over the ground to come away with the lead by a solitary point at the main break. It was a nervous halftime for the Tiger faithful as they contemplated causing an upset or falling back into old ways. The start of the third term delighted the Tiger Army with Richmond dominating – Brandon Ellis nailed the first goal within five minutes of the resumption off the back of Anthony Miles slipping past the dangerous Dog forward in Jake Stringer at the other end of the ground. Jason Castagna then kicked the Tigers’ second and his second – suddenly the lead was out to 13-points. The Dogs ramped up the pressure and it became something of a shoot out along with some questionable decisions from the umpires. The desire from the Tigers was first rate though, signalled by five lead changes in the final term alone. The Tigers were not going to give the Dogs the game – it was hard work and pressure and perhaps a little bit of luck too that saw the Dogs come away with a victory...a much more meagre margin than what had been predicted.
Final Score: WB 12.13.85 to RICH 11.9.75.
TOP 3 TIGERS:
1. DUSTIN MARTIN: One of Richmond’s most important players. He finished with 38 disposals (13 in the first quarter, 11 in the third quarter and 10 in the last quarter), eight clearances, five tackles, nine score involvements and 18 pressure acts.
2. TRENT COTCHIN: Another of Richmond’s most important players, who kicked a team-lifting 50m goal midway through the first term. He finished with 28 disposals (10 in the last quarter), six clearances, five tackles, seven score involvements, 14 pressure acts and one goal.
3. BRETT DELEDIO: The midfielder’s class was on display throughout. He finished with 22 disposals, seven marks, five clearances, five tackles, four score involvements and 18 pressure acts.
What were your thoughts on the game?