Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Hopes were high that after last week’s spirited performance against Geelong, Richmond could break their winless streak and take the game up to an in-form Western Bulldogs. However there were ominous signs when Richmond players failed to break through the supporters’ club banner when running onto the ground.
In front of a crowd of over 46,000 the Tigers started well. Jack Riewoldt kicked the first goal and for the first ten minutes of the game the ball was kept in the Richmond half of the ground. On two occasions Richmond players ran too far with the ball, an unforgivable error in modern football. In spite of these simple skill errors, the Bulldogs could not capitalize on the resulting free kicks and peppered the point post in reply.
Matt White was on the receiving end of a quick and decisive series of handballs and kicked Richmond’s second goal at the 15 minute mark. The Bulldogs wasted chances late in the quarter and Richmond fans came to life when Nathan Foley kicked their third goal. With the Western Bulldogs held goal-less for the quarter, Tiger supporters had every reason to think their team was on target for an improved performance.
Richmond came out strongly and kicked their fourth goal early in the second quarter but it was only a matter of time before the Bulldogs woke up and took control. Two goals in two minutes had the Tigers on the back foot as the Bulldogs quickly closed the gap. Tempers became frayed when Brett Deledio received a solid punch to the head in an attempted spoil by defender Liam Picken who was reported for striking. Richmond drew the groans of the crowd when they could only score a behind from the resulting free kick and fifty meter penalty. When Dale Morris goaled half way through the quarter, the Bulldogs hit the front for the first time in the game. Minutes later Brad Johnson goaled from a difficult angle and when Shaun Higgins followed with another six pointer, the crank of the opening floodgates could be heard.
While the Richmond crowd screamed for Richard Tambling, having a horror match, to be taken off the ground, other Tigers mishandled the ball and were punished severely by the Bulldogs. Defender Jake King turned the ball over for a Brad Johnson goal. The die was cast when Tambling surrendered a golden opportunity in attack and Jason Akermanis scored a goal from his mistake.
In the final quarter it all went the Western Bulldog’s way. Matthew Richardson played a lone hand in trying to lift his team but in the end the Western Bulldogs ran out easy 47 point winners. While the Bullies look set to challenge top teams Geelong and St Kilda for a position in the Finals, Richmond continue to flounder at the bottom of the ladder and have their character and coaching staff questioned. If Richmond fail to win against Melbourne next week at the MCG, their credibility and 2009 Finals aspirations will be in tatters. The Western Bulldogs travel to Perth to play the out of form Eagles and should maintain their unbeaten record.
Scoreboard Western Bulldogs 0.6 6.11 10.13 16.14 (110) Richmond 3.4 4.8 7.10 8.15 (63) Best Western Bulldogs J Akermanis, B Johnson, L Gilbee, S Higgins, D Cross Richmond M White, N Foley, M Richardson, S Tuck Reports L Picken (WB) striking
Article last changed on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 9:30 PM EDT