Brook Kilpatrick reporting for AFANA from Australia
With both teams coming off first round losses, the Round 2 clash between Collingwood and Richmond was destined to be a desperate affair with the combatants striving to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start to season 2012. Collingwood was heavily favored by the bookmakers due to their impeccable regular season record of the past few years while the Tigers have rarely troubled any of the League pacesetters in recent times.
Richmond named Robin Nahas the substitute, Collingwood had Paul Seedsman undertake similar duties and the ball was bounced to commence proceedings in front of a huge crowd at the MCG. The Tigers worked hard early to match the Magpies intensity until ex-Saint Luke Ball burst clear to register the first score of the game, a point to Collingwood as the ball hit the post. A scrappy affair was on the menu as both teams fought hard at ground level. Jack Riewoldt finally got a score on the board for the Tigers, incredibly another “poster” that hit the upright to tie the score. Youngster Jackson Paine received the footy as he broke away towards an open goal and Collingwood had the first six-pointer of the night. Shane Edwards then dribbled a shot towards goal that looked the goods before turning into the post for the third time in the quarter. While Richmond kept the contested possession count close, their efficiency with the ball was not up to the standard of the Collingwood midfield. A deft tap from Darren Jolly to Jarryd Blair had another goal on the board to the Magpies, while Tiger leaders Chris Newman and Daniel Jackson were having a terrible time of it, turning the ball over on numerous occasions. Pendlebury uncharacteristically gave the ball away to Brad Miller who registered the Tigers first goal, and the game once again tightened up. At quarter time it was an even contest if not a pretty one. Poor shooting for goal cost the Tigers a chance to lead and they went into the first break trailing 2.8 to 1.6. There was bad news for Collingwood as Chris Tarrant left the field with a leg injury.
Richmond started the better in the second quarter but wasted the footy with poor disposal. Despite out-hustling the heralded Collingwood outfit, the Tigers just couldn’t convert possession into scoring, with Collingwood’s Ben Reid breaking up numerous Tiger attacks. Pendlebury was keeping things moving for the Pies in the middle while Deledio and Rance were starring for Richmond. Both teams were struggling to score goals with their entries into the 50 meter arc but the Magpies were slightly classier and more organized. In what appeared to be a quarter where the Tigers more than held their own in general play, the Magpies had increased their half time lead to 18 points. As the siren sounded for half time, a large melee broke out as players wrestled each other despite the umpires' calls to break it up. Nobody was surprised when the last man to appear from the bottom of the wrestling match was none other than Richmond antagonist Jake King.
The third quarter was all Collingwood. Whatever rookie Coach Nathan Buckley said to his players at half time had the desired effect, as Dale Thomas went on a 10 minute rampage. Within 15 seconds of the restart, Thomas burst through the center of the MCG and banged home a long goal. At the next center bounce, another Thomas clearance led to a Cloke goal and the Tigers were in trouble. A couple of minutes later it was Thomas again kicking truly for another goal before Alex Fasolo banged home a sweet drop punt from 50 meters out to silence the Richmond crowd. Fasolo then marked to goal again and the 18 point half time margin had blown out to 48 points in the blink of an eye. Reece Conca managed a late goal for Richmond to bring the margin back to 41 points at three quarter time, and it looked like another big loss was on the cards for the Tigers.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick almost popped an artery in his neck as he gave his players a serious dressing down at the three-quarter time huddle. An uncompromising backman in his playing days, Hardwick was visibly seething at the manner in which his players capitulated in the previous quarter. To their credit, Richmond did not throw in the towel, instead putting up a genuine fight in the final quarter. Melbourne discard Brad Miller popped up with a couple of final quarter goals while Brett Deledio worked tirelessly in the midfield for Richmond. Jake Batchelor was another impressive Tiger who helped set up some final quarter drive as the Tigers crept to within striking distance of Collingwood before a Jolly running goal snuffed out any chance of a miracle comeback. When the final siren sounded, the Magpies had run out comfortable 21 point winners. While the statistics show that Richmond had more possessions and only marginally lost the inside 50 meter entries, it was the ten-minute burst in the third quarter that put them to the sword.
Collingwood now look forward to a Friday night blockbuster against Top Four contenders Carlton, while Richmond, reeling from the dreaded 0-2 start, face up against the struggling Melbourne Demons. The Tigers simply must win if they are to lay claim to being an improving team in 2012.
Scoreboard Collingwood: 2.8 5.10 11.12 12.13 (85) Richmond: 1.6 2.10 4.13 8.16 (64)
Collingwood: Thomas, Pendlebury, Reid, Swan, Cloke
Richmond: Deledio, Rance, Batchelor, Cotchin
Article last changed on Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 7:15 AM EDT