Brook “Boris” Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA
Richmond faced the undefeated Geelong in Round Six action with both teams having plenty to play for. If the Cats could get through with a win, they would carry a sensational 6-0 record into a week seven match up with a potentially 6-0 Essendon. For the Tigers, a solid 3-0 start had quickly turned sour with defeat at the hands of Collingwood then Fremantle by the barest of margins. Geelong has owned Richmond in recent years, the Tigers not having tasted victory over the Cats since Round 9 in 2006.
The first goal was registered at the four minute mark by Jimmy Bartel after he was awarded a free kick inside the 50 meter arc. Things were looking bad for Richmond early with spearhead Jack Riewoldt ushered to the rooms with an apparent ankle injury, just what the Tigers didn’t want or need. The slippery Matthew Stokes fired through his first goal a few minutes later and the Cats were purring with a handy 13 point lead. Richmond was matching Geelong for intensity but not skill, with turnovers hurting the Tigers at both ends of the ground. It took nine minutes before a Brandon Ellis goal had the Tigers on the board, but another ugly defensive turnover - this time by Troy Chaplin - gave the Cats another goal off the boot of Allen Christensen. In danger of being run over early, Richmond continued to work hard with goals to Jake King and Riewoldt, back on the ground after receiving treatment. A late goal, again to King, saw the Tigers storm back to take a four point lead into the first break. A feature of the first quarter was Richmond’s tackling, a welcome sight for Tiger fans as their team laid 18 first quarter tackles.
The second quarter began as the first had ended, with Richmond making the running. A pretty finish from Chris Knights followed by Riewoldt’s second had the Tigers out to a 16 point lead. This was the wake-up call for Geelong to get back amongst the action with Jordan Murdoch and Christensen both kicking goals for the Cats. Some great footy ensue from both teams as Richmond once again gained the ascendancy with consecutive goals to Tiger powerhouse Dustin Martin. At the 20 minute mark it was the Tigers by 19 points, but things turned ugly for the black and gold as the quarter continued. Sloppy defense from Richmond led to a steal and goal from Matty Stokes who was having a purple patch. Some more Stokes wizardry led to a Trent West goal before Billy Smedts posted the Cats third goal in six minutes. Mitch Duncan wanted more as he received from Bartel before banging through another one as the Geelong avalanche saw them take a five point lead into the main break. Steve Johnson, playing his 200th game, was a standout for Geelong in the first half, with an even spread for the Tigers, their tackling a feature. Free kicks were 10-4 in Geelong’s favor, and Tiger fans were letting the umpires know, obviously not having received the memo that it was umpire appreciation round!
Disaster struck for Richmond in the first few minutes of the second half with a Selwood goal followed by the sight of the mulleted Ivan Maric limping off the ground. Compounding the big man issues for Richmond was a head clash suffered by backup ruckman Ty Vickery within seconds of Maric leaving the ground. Clearly dazed, all of a sudden the Tigers had lost both ruckmen as forward Luke McGuane was thrown in the deep end to duel at the center bounces, a most unfamiliar role for the defender turned forward. Things completely unraveled for Richmond as an off-the-ball wrestle between Newman and Selwood cost the Tigers a shot on goal. Two minutes later another 50 meter penalty against an increasingly frustrated Tiger outfit resulted in another Geelong goal through Christensen. Riewoldt kicked his third against the run of play before another off the ball free resulted in a Selwood to Blicavs goal. Jake King kept the Tigers in it with a goal, before Duncan nailed one from 45 meters for the Cats. In a ripping ten minutes of footy, Luke McGuane had the Tigers back to within nine points at the 17 minute mark. The last five minutes of each quarter, or “red time”, has been a problem for Richmond over the last couple of years and this night would be no different. Geelong piled on the pressure and added goals to Johnson and Christensen prior to the siren. At three-quarter time the Cats led by 24 points. Maric, clearly inhibited by his injury, was back on the ground but Vickery would take no further part due to concussion, his blood covered head looking more at home in a Stephen King movie than at the MCG.
The last quarter commenced with substitute Matt White on for the Tigers in place of Vickery, while George Horlin-Smith replaced Murdoch for the Cats. Tom Hawkins, well blanketed by Troy Chaplin for most of the game, intercepted another Tiger turnover and snapped truly for the first goal of the final quarter. Another minute in it was a second Hawkins goal putting the margin out to 37 points and a rout looked likely. To their credit Richmond players fought on but were totally outclassed by a well-drilled Geelong outfit. Grigg goaled for the Tigers but Smedts and Johnson piled on two more for the Cats. In a microcosm of the game, Daniel Jackson kicked out on the full for Richmond, leading to a Corey Enright free which he banged straight through for a goal in his 250th game for the Cats. The lead was out to 50 points with time ticking down when Jake King scoring the last goal for Richmond as Geelong ran out comfortable 44 point winners.
Geelong is once again proving a formidable outfit, managing an easy win without the services of gun midfielder Paul Chapman. For Richmond, prime movers Cotchin and Deledio were well held, and while the endeavor was there, the Tigers' skill level under pressure needs a lot of work. Injury concerns to Maric, Vickery and Petterd will be a big concern for Richmond as they travel to Adelaide to take on a vastly improved Port Adelaide side. Geelong will look forward to a clash with fellow unbeaten side Essendon in what is shaping as the match of the season thus far.
Scoreboard Geelong: 3.3 9.3 15.7 20.11 (131) Richmond: 4.1 8.4 11.7 13.9 (87) Best Players Geelong: Christensen, Johnson, Duncan, Stokes, Selwood, Enright Richmond: Edwards, Jackson, Newman, Cotchin, Petterd
Article last changed on Wednesday, May 08, 2013 - 8:36 PM EDT