Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia
Despite having only the slimmest of mathematical chances of making the Finals, Richmond Coach Damien Hardwick insists that his team will be going all out to win every remaining game of the 2012 season. On the other side of the coin, the Western Bulldogs are doing their best to stay positive in the face of multiple injuries and poor performance. Past match history was in the Bulldogs favor in Round 20 as the Tigers had not registered a win against the Doggies since Round 3 in 2005. The Tigers received a pre-game boost when Bulldog midfield gun Ryan Griffen was ruled out with an injury.
The game was just 30 seconds old when Richmond spearhead Jack Riewoldt marked and goaled for the Tigers. A couple of minutes later it was Luke McGuane’s turn to goal and boost the lead to 11 points. Both teams were throwing themselves at the contest but Richmond showed a little more class under pressure. At the 10 minute mark Shane Edwards goaled before the red hot Trent Cotchin repeated the dosage for a rampaging Richmond. The Bulldogs were overwhelmed as Riewoldt kicked his second to extend the lead to 31 points. The Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, a keen Bulldogs supporter, was resplendent in her Bulldog scarf but was not looking too happy as the Tigers banged on another goal through McGuane. It took until the 20 minute mark of the quarter for the Bulldogs to finally register their first goal through Andrew Hooper. Brian Lake had started in the forward line for the Bulldogs but was sent back to stem the flow of Tiger goals. The plan seemed to be working as Daniel Giansiracusa finished some nice forward work to have the Bulldogs back to just a 24 point deficit at quarter time. Matthew Boyd was working his way into the game for the Western Bulldogs while Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin were the chief ball winners for Richmond.
The second quarter started as a carbon copy of the first, with Riewoldt goaling after a slick hand off from Cotchin. Mitch Wallis replied for the Bulldogs before Clay Smith marked and goaled for another Bulldog six-pointer. The game went up a notch with the Bulldogs starting to string some solid play together. A scramble in the Bulldogs' forward line resulted in a Tory Dickson goal and the Tiger lead was pegged back to 16 points. Momentum switched again when Jake King snuck a goal for the Tigers then a trademark running goal from Shaun Grigg gave Richmond some much needed breathing space. Every time the Tigers threatened to run away, the Bulldogs fought back. Giansiracusa nailed a sweet set shot at the 22 minute mark for the Western Bulldogs as the see-sawing battle continued. Cotchin was everywhere for Richmond and he had solid support from live wire Shane Edwards who kicked the next Tiger goal. In a much more competitive quarter of footy, the Bulldogs edged their way back into the contest and at half time the scoreboard showed Richmond leading 10.10 to 6.4.
In keeping with the theme of the day, it was the Bulldogs' turn to notch up a goal within the first minute of the quarter as Dylan Addison marked and goaled. Lake had made his way back into attack after spending time as a loose man in defense, and the results were immediate. His mark and goal reduced the Tiger lead to 18 points before Jake King popped up once again for Richmond to restore their four goal lead. The Bulldogs were working hard but struggling to bridge the scoring gap, until a bizarre ruck infringement free kick was paid to young Bulldog Zepheniah Skinner. Strange because Skinner wasn’t even competing in the ruck contest. Amid the cacophony of boos from the Richmond crowd, Skinner calmly goaled to keep the Bulldogs' hopes alive. Lake continued to be a thorn in the Tiger defense as he marked and goaled yet again to edge the Doggies closer with just a 12 point deficit. The standard Tiger panic was beginning to creep into players and fans alike as Giansiracusa snapped a beauty for the Bulldogs to have them within just one goal of the Tigers. History was not to be repeated today however as Grigg goaled before a beautiful long bomb by Tiger Captain Chris Newman relieved the pressure even further and had the Richmond lead out to 21 points. The rest of the quarter was pretty much the Trent Cotchin show as he put on a classy football display, racking up possessions and kicking a couple of goals. Martin and Riewoldt also added goals for Richmond and at three-quarter time the Tigers held a very handy 41 point lead.
Although the Bulldogs worked hard to shutdown the Tiger midfield in the final quarter, the game lost a bit of zing. It took twelve minutes for Richmond to break the stalemate as McGuane converted his third goal of the match. Robbie Nahas followed a couple of minutes later then Ivan Maric and the impressive Edwards added two more. When Riewoldt put the icing on the Tiger cake after a handball from Nahas, Richmond had completed a 70 point drubbing of the struggling Bulldogs. Cotchin was outstanding for the Tigers and has entered the talk around the Brownlow medal after his recent scintillating form. He was ably supported by Edwards with four goals and Riewoldt with five. Boyd and Picken worked hard for the undermanned Bulldogs.
In Round 21, the Tigers have to travel to Perth to face the Fremantle Dockers in yet another must win game, while the Bulldogs face a tough task, taking on the Sydney Swans on the back of a tough loss to Collingwood.
Scoreboard Richmond 6.4 10.10 17.16 22.18 (150) Western Bulldogs 2.3 6.4 12.5 12.8 (80) Best Players Richmond: Cotchin, Edwards, King, Martin, Deledio, Riewoldt Western Bulldogs: Boyd, Picken, Dickson, Wallis, Lake
Article last changed on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - 9:15 PM EDT