Richmond traveled north to Brisbane to take on the Lions in a massive game for both sides, each struggling for different reasons. Brisbane has had a horror start to the season, failing to register a win and carrying a long list of injuries into the clash with the Tigers. For Richmond, a 1-3 record - including unexpected losses to Gold Coast and the Western Bulldogs - had the Tigers in danger of losing touch with the Top Eight, with the specter of upcoming games against pacesetters Hawthorn and Geelong. This was simply a must-win game for Richmond. Brisbane had plenty to play for despite their ugly start with Lion legend Jonathon Brown playing his 250th game for the club.
Richmond jumped out of the blocks in fine fashion with Trent Cotchin winning the game’s first clearance. The ball ended up with Reece Conca who delivered a perfect pass to Jack Riewoldt, the rangy forward finishing well for the first goal of the game within a minute of the start. Cotchin was enjoying a bit more space after the mauling he endured at the hands of Collingwood in Round Four, and the Tigers were looking the goods in the early going. In contrast to the previous two games, Richmond were taking their opponents on and playing free-flowing footy. The young Lions on the other hand were sloppy in their ball use. Dustin Martin started up forward for Richmond and had an influence in the early going. However the Tigers once again struggled to convert from multiple entries inside their 50 meter arc. Despite dominating in all facets of the game in the first quarter and keeping the Lions goalless, Richmond’s multiple misses left them just 19 points ahead at quarter time.
The second quarter started well for the Tigers, Riewoldt kicking his second goal to keep the Tigers comfortably in front. It took seven minutes into the second quarter for the home team to register a goal, and it was 250 gamer Jonathon Brown who did the damage. Dayne Zorko and Tom Rockliff worked their way into the game, evening up the contest as they started to win some of the clearances that were dominated early by the Tigers. Martin kicked Richmond clear once again, but in general field play the Tigers' early domination had evaporated. Brisbane started to take the game on and despite a few ugly turnovers, their pressure had the desired effect with goals to Bewick and Paine reducing the margin to just 14 points at half time. Ricky Petterd was one of the Tigers' best while full back David Astbury was having a strong battle with stalwart Jonathon Brown.
Tiger supporters everywhere wanted just one thing – for Richmond to kick the first goal of the second half and take the pressure off. Brisbane had other ideas as they came out firing from the half time break. Ryan Lester had the first goal on the board for the Lions within three minutes, and it was "man of the moment" Brown who brought the home crowd to its feet as he put Brisbane within two points at the six minute mark. The Tigers were all of a sudden under siege, chipping the ball around and trying to retain possession rather than taking the game on as they had done with so much success early in the game. In contrast, Brisbane were running with renewed vigor and putting the Tigers under all sorts of pressure. When Lewis Taylor ran through the 50 meter arc and sent a drop punt through the big white sticks, the Lions had the lead for the first time in the match. A couple of misses to the Lions stretched the lead to five points and Brisbane had wrested control.
Incredibly, as quickly as the Lions took control, they lost it again as Richmond started to take some risks. A strong and direct Petterd handball under immense pressure followed by a Shaun Grigg pass resulted in a solid mark and goal to Riewoldt to put the Tigers back in front. A monster kick off one step by Ben Griffiths ended up once again with Riewoldt who read his teammate’s big boot better than everyone else. As the Tigers restored order, the pressure was released and they once again played with some flair. At the 26 minute mark a brilliant snap out of a congested pack by Cotchin took Richmond out to a 13 point lead, and there was no looking back. Matt Arnot and Petterd kicked two more Tiger goals before Brown once again got one back for Brisbane. At three quarter time the Tigers held a handy 19 point lead.
The final quarter was all Richmond as Shane Edwards kicked the opening two goals of the quarter, one a goal line sneak, the other a sensational finish from the boundary line on the run. Dustin Martin added two of his own and recruit Nathan Gordon came off the bench to kick three goals in an impressive effort for the Tigers. Despite some resistance from Brown and his teammates, Richmond was relentless in a solid final quarter that saw them run out 43 point winners over the inexperienced Lions.
The importance of the win to the Tigers is evidenced by a very tough schedule with Hawthorn coming up in Round 6 before they face Geelong one week later. The Lions will try and regroup before traveling across the Tasman Sea to Wellington, New Zealand, where they will seek their first win for the season against St Kilda.
Scoreboard Brisbane Lions 0.1 3.2 7.6 9.9 (63) Richmond 2.8 4.10 9.13 15.16 (106) Best Players Brisbane Lions: Brown, Rockliff, Lester, Zorko, Redden Richmond: Cotchin, Riewoldt, Martin, Petterd, Jackson
Article last changed on Friday, April 18, 2014 - 9:07 PM EDT