A crowd of 62,000 filtered into the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the all-important Round 4 clash between the Collingwood Magpies and the Richmond Tigers. Both teams were desperate for a win after sluggish starts to the season. Richmond had more on the line given they had already dropped two games they were expected to win. Collingwood has had the ascendancy in recent head-to-head battles between these two proud teams, having not lowered its colors to the Tigers since 2007. With Brett Deledio still unavailable for the Tigers due to an achilles injury, the bookmakers had instilled the Magpies as favorites in what was expected to be a spirited contest.
Richmond Captain Trent Cotchin won the toss prior to the center bounce, but that would be the last slice of joy for the black and gold as Collingwood stormed into the lead from the get go, registering goals through Dayne Beams, Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury within the first nine minutes. Richmond had their chances after the initial Collingwood onslaught but poor disposal inside the 50 meter arc cost the Tigers dearly. At the 20 minute mark Jesse White put the fourth Collingwood goal on the board as Richmond continued to squander chances going forward. It was left to first-gamer Sam Lloyd to break the drought for the Tigers with an opportunist goal late in the first quarter. At the first break it was all Magpies with a 17 point lead.
If the state of play was concerning at quarter time for the Tigers it was positively dire just five minutes into the second quarter, as Steele Sidebottom and Beams put the Magpies further ahead with two quick goals. Incredibly for Richmond, it was once again debutant Lloyd who kept the Tigers' faint hopes alive, showing poise to calmly kick his second goal of the day. The endeavor was there for Richmond but the skill level was not, so despite leading center clearances 8-3 and breaking even in contested possession and forward 50 entries, the Tigers trailed the much slicker Magpies by 28 points at half time.
Richmond's best midfielder Cotchin was failing to have any influence on the game as Magpie tagger Brent Macaffer wore him like a second skin, grabbing and holding the Tiger on-baller at every opportunity. Whether the tactics were questionable or not, they were certainly effective and Pies' Coach Nathan Buckley would have been ebullient with the outcome. The Magpies were sharing the midfield load with excellent work from Beams, Swan and Pendlebury, excellent with the ball as usual. Richmond on the other hand produced turnover after shocking turnover, allowing their Collingwood opponents to score on the rebound, seemingly at will.
The third quarter failed to bring about any major change to proceedings, a fired up Collingwood continuing to dominate the match. Despite a couple of early misses, Pendlebury stretched the Magpie lead with a classy finish and goal at the eight minute mark. Dustin Martin clawed one back for the beleaguered Tigers, but Collingwood put its foot on the throat of the wounded Tiger with the next two goals to Beams and Jarryd Blair. As Richmond fans searched for answers as to where their team’s 2013 form had gone, the Magpie Army was in full voice as their team held sway by seven goals at three quarter time.
The final stanza was played in a much more open fashion. Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt – almost unsighted for three quarters - showed some of his rare skill to add a few token goals to the cause, but the game was never in danger of being anything other than a comprehensive victory to the Magpies. At the final siren it was a 38 point drubbing for a Richmond team that held so much hope just a few weeks ago. For the Magpies, an unheralded defense led by young Jack Frost and stalwart Nick Maxwell was impressive, while the usual suspects in Pendlebury, Beams and Sidebottom were outstanding in their skill level in tricky conditions. Sydney recruit Jesse White also added three goals to steal the forward spotlight from 200 gamer Travis Cloke, who was well held by Richmond’s David Astbury. The only shining light for the Tigers was the form of first game mature-age recruit Sam Lloyd who showed poise in kicking three goals in an otherwise dysfunctional forward line – a major problem that needs addressing by coach Damien Hardwick if there is to be any real chance of his team seeing action in the Finals in 2014.
Collingwood will look to continue its charge up the Ladder with a tough contest against North Melbourne at the MCG on Friday night while the Tigers will have no time to lick their wounds, heading north to take on Brisbane in a rare Thursday night fixture.
Scoreboard Richmond: 1.4 2.7 3.10 10.12 (72) Colongwood: 4.3 7.5 10.10 16.14 (110) Best Players Richmond: Lloyd, Astbury, Martin Collingwood: Beams, Pendlebury, Macaffer, Sidebottom, White, Fasolo
Article last changed on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 1:47 AM EDT