Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia
Fresh from a hellish three week stint that netted three narrow losses, Richmond took their 7-10 record north to face the Brisbane Lions - also holders of a 7-10 record. Both teams have displayed enough during the season to suggest there are better times ahead, but with a view to further improvement in the future, a win here for either team would provide a great fillip as their seasons wind down.
As the Tigers and Lions prepared for battle, the unfamiliar sight of Brisbane veteran Simon Black in the fluoro green sub vest had the crowd and the pundits speculating on what Lions coach Michael Voss was concocting. Opposition coach Damien Hardwick would have been delighted to see the gutsy ball magnet in Black sitting on the sidelines for the start of the contest.
The game was just a few minutes old when Richmond’s Luke McGuane - in his new role as a forward - marked inside 50 meters for the first shot of the game. McGuane steered the ball through and the Tigers were out to an early lead. The Richmond midfield was looking sharp early with big Ivan Maric providing plenty of ball to the hungry Tigers. Not to be outdone, Brisbane midfielder Josh Green evened the scores with the first goal for the Lions. Both teams were full of run and in-form Tiger gun Brett Deledio was getting plenty of it. Deledio launched a long shot towards goal before Tiger barometer Jack Riewoldt took a strong mark inside 50. His wayward attempt at goal unfortunately didn’t do the mark justice, and when opposite number Jonathon Brown pumped one through for the home team a couple of minutes later, the Lions had the lead. Jumping Jack bobbed up again for the Tigers and this time his aim was true to regain the lead for Richmond. Green goaled again for Brisbane just before the quarter time siren to peg the margin back to one point, with Richmond holding a 21-10 advantage. Shaun Grigg must have had a bad case of swamp fever as no Lions' player had seemed prepared to get within 15 meters of him in the first quarter, allowing him a dangerous and easy ten possessions. Zorko and Rich were winning plenty of the footy for the Lions.
Richmond took control of the game at the start of the second quarter with Shane Tuck and Reece Conca getting plenty of great service from ruckman Maric. Shane Edwards kicked the first goal, swooping on a loose ball and slotting it through soccer style. Dustin Martin followed up at the 10 minute mark with a 50 meter bomb before McGuane bobbed up again for yet another soccer goal. Richmond had their lead out to a handy 16 points when a Brisbane turnover led to a Daniel Jackson goal on the run. With Riewoldt starved of opportunities, it was McGuane again for the Tigers booting his third goal as the visitors completely gained the ascendancy over the Lions. Jonathon Brown had seen enough and muscled his way in for a strong mark and goal to stem the flow of Tiger goals. At half time it was Richmond with a 20 point lead. Brett Deledio was the standout player in the first half racking up an impressive 18 possessions and a goal. For Brisbane, the most influential players were the Reservoir Dogs themselves, Mr Brown and Mr Green, with two goals each.
Richmond jumped out of the blocks early in the third quarter, using excellent forward pressure to keep the ball inside the 50 meter arc. Jackson marked at around 40 meters out and delivered his second goal of the game to extend the Tiger lead. James Polkinghorne snuck out from behind the goalpost padding to take the Richmond defense by surprise, marking uncontested and converting a swift reply for the Lions. From then on the Tigers threw the hammer down. Trent Cotchin, well held by ex-Tiger Andrew Raines early, broke free and started to have a marked influence on the game. Nahas goaled for Richmond before Cotchin cut through the Lion defense for his first. Substitute Simon Black was summoned from the bench by Coach Michael Voss and the Brisbane midfielder immediately began to rack up possessions. The Tigers however were relentless as the Maric and company show continued, with goals to Riewoldt and Nahas in quick succession. With eight minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Richmond lead had ballooned to 46 points. A monster goal to rising star Dayne Zorko helped to stem the onslaught briefly before Cotchin delivered to the most popular mullet in footy since Warwick Capper in Ivan Maric. The big man finished the job to put the Tigers back out to a 46 point lead before Jonathan Brown snatched a late one for the Lions. At the final break Richmond led 14.8 to 7.12, with Conca, Cotchin and Deledio doing it all for the visitors. Rich and Rockliff had plenty of touches but were not as damaging as the Tiger onballers.
Most at the ground would have expected the game to fizzle out into a comfortable Tiger victory but the next ten minutes would bring back plenty of bad memories for the Tiger army. Rockliff started the final quarter with a beautiful snapped goal from the pocket. Just a minute later Jack Redden added a long goal from outside 50 meters to peg the Tiger lead back to 26 points. Jonathon Brown then stamped himself on the contest with a strong mark and goal from just on 50 that had Richmond fans reaching for the heartburn medication with the margin back to 20 points and plenty of time left. Another minute passed before Zorko bombed a check side punt from the outside of his boot that sailed right between the big sticks for another Brisbane goal. The crowd was pumping now as what had seemed impossible at three quarter time now looked more than probable with just a 14 point deficit and a head full of steam! Midway through the quarter the Tigers looked to peg a goal back but three consecutive desperate smothers in the Lion back line denied each attempt. A cool head was needed for the Tigers and it was Nahas who provided just that. A snap from 30 meters out interrupted the flow of Brisbane scoring and gave Richmond a 20 point buffer. As quickly as Richmond lost the momentum, they grabbed it right back with a crumbing goal to Tuck, followed by consecutive carbon copy mark and goal efforts from the ubiquitous Shaun Grigg. White and Houli added a couple more for the rampaging Tigers while Rockliff managed the game's final goal to reduce the final margin to 48 points.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick and Tiger supporters alike would have been pleased to see the team respond when put under pressure in the final quarter. In weeks past the Tigers have lost composure when threatened but it was a different story this week. The Lions showed flashes of brilliance but could not compete with the class of the Richmond midfield led by the damaging Deledio.
Next round the Tigers take on the Western Bulldogs at the MCG while the Lions travel to Melbourne to take on Carlton at Etihad Stadium.
Scoreboard Richmond 3.3 8.5 14.8 20.12 (132) Brisbane 3.2 4.9 7.12 12.12 (84) Best Players Richmond: Deledio, Conca, Maric, Grigg, Tuck, Cotchin Brisbane: Rich, Brown, Adcock, Merrett, Zorko, Rockliff
Article last changed on Friday, August 10, 2012 - 6:47 AM EDT