The Richmond Tigers defeated the West Coast Eagles to move to within two points of the top eight. The Tigers had moments of individual brilliance, punctuated by long spells of indifferent form as they ground out a victory against the spirited West Coast. The Eagles have been enlivened by the return of some of their best players but ultimately fell short of what was required to overcome the more talented Tigers. The struggling Eagles have now won just three of the past forty-four matches and this year sit at the bottom of the ladder, with just one win, way back in the second round against the GWS Giants. The Tigers have won three of their past four games and are within striking distance of the top eight, but would need to show much more than they did against the Eagles to get ahead of the log jam in front of them.
In the first quarter, West Coast benefitted from winning center clearances but struggled to get past the Richmond defenders. Richmond rebounded from defense well, making seven of the first nine attacks but were let down by their goal shooting. Bailey Williams booted the Eagles first goal after nine minutes of play. It took another six minutes for Richmond to reply through Marlion Pickett which was quickly followed by an opportunistic snap by Shai Bolton after brilliantly roving to a stoppage. For the rest of the quarter the Eagles got numbers to the ball and tackled with determination to stifle the Tigers.
The second quarter saw the Eagles pushing hard, with tackling again a feature of their game. The Eagles won more contested balls and clearances, even though the Tigers dominated in the ruck through Ivan Soldo. Bailey Williams may have been "out-rucked" (control of the ball at bounce-ups and throw-ins), but he worked hard to win clearances for the Eagles and at times was supported by an energetic Tim Kelly. Ryan Maric booted the first goal for the Eagles after seven minutes of unremarkable play. Despite having the edge in the center battles the Eagles still made less attacking moves than the Tigers. In the midfield, Jacob Hopper and Tim Taranto combined well to work the Tigers forward. Jack Reiwoldt booted a goal for the Tigers after taking a well-judged mark against Tom Barrass. Despite repeated attacks West Coast were unable to boot a major (goal worth six points). The Tigers rubbed salt into the wound by booting two quick goals at the end of the quarter after Noah Balta had dominated in the air for the Tigers' defense.
Four goals to Richmond in the first eight minutes of the third quarter, blew the game apart with strong work around stoppages and in the midfield. Tim Taranto and Dion Prestia both used strength to conjure two of those goals. The Eagles recovered their early loss of composure to add goals from Oscar Allen and Noah Long, before some strong body work and quick handpasses resulted in Dustin Martin extending the Tigers' lead. But the Eagles fought back again by scrambling the ball forward. Two late goals from Jack Darling and Oscar Allen kept the home team within touch at the final break. Darling now sits on 500 career goals, all for the Eagles.
Two minutes into the fourth quarter, Marlion Pickett was on the end of a chain of handpasses to put the Tigers in a strong position, with a goal from close range. The Eagles didn't give up. Five minutes later Liam Duggan kicked truly after midfield pressure caused a turnover and left the Richmond defenders exposed. Then Kamdyn McIntosh kicked a reply goal for Richmond, after he had worked down from the wing and marked a well weighted Dustin Martin kick. Oscar Allen booted his third for the Eagles, but the home team needed to do more than trade goals. The game ended with Shai Bolton and Martin both booting their second goals to extend the margin in Richmond's favor. The Eagles were soundly beaten but at least they put in a sustained effort, which is an improvement on earlier in the season. The Tigers were more effective in attack but did not produce the big score they needed to convince their supporters that the good days had returned. The Tigers rely too heavily on the brilliance of Daniel Rioli, Shai Bolton, Tim Taranto, and Dustin Martin to be a serious threat to the stronger teams in the competition.
Next week the Tigers meet the struggling Hawthorn Hawks and will be expected to win. The Eagles meet the improving Carlton Blues at Marvel Stadium. Another loss for the Eagles is on the cards unless something changes.
Scores West Coast Eagles: 1.1 2.5 6.8 8.12 (60) Richmond Tigers: 2.6 5.9 10.13 14.14 (98) Best West Coast Eagles: Kelly, Cole, Sheed, Shuey, Witherden Richmond Tigers: Taranto, D.Rioli, Bolton, Martin, Soldo
Article last changed on Sunday, July 16, 2023 - 11:45 AM EDT