“Dreamtime at the G" between Essendon and Richmond once again drew a big crowd of around 75,000 fans, with most expecting a close contest between two teams fighting to stay in contention for Finals' action. Unfortunately for Tiger fans, only one team appeared hungry and it wasn’t the boys donning the yellow sash. Essendon players appeared refreshed after their Round Ten bye and they bounced out of the blocks with the first goal to back man Dustin Fletcher within three minutes of the opening siren. Ben Howlett added a second before ex-Geelong goal sneak Paul Chapman tripled the Bombers' pleasure, giving Essendon a 19 point lead at the ten minute mark with the Tigers yet to score. Essendon’s pressure was first class, forcing Richmond into numerous turnovers. The Tigers bombed the ball forward - seemingly without system - and played right into the hands of the hard running Bombers. Howlett kicked his second goal as the Bombers did what they pleased. It wasn’t until the twenty-one minute mark that Richmond finally registered a score - and it was a rushed behind. At quarter time the Bombers held a commanding 27 point lead that should have been even greater on the balance of play.
Dustin Martin, playing somewhat of a lone hand, finally kicked the Tigers' first goal seven minutes into the second quarter. When Trent Cotchin evaded a couple of Bombers to register Richmond’s second successive goal, it looked like fans might at last have a game on their hands. However the lack of physical pressure applied by the Richmond players allowed Essendon free reign to mount numerous attacks on goal. Luckily for the Tigers the Bomber forwards struggled to convert until Dyson Heppel found the target at the 17 minute mark. Howlett bobbed up for another goal and Richmond’s resistance was broken. Despite some individual brilliance from Richmond’s lone indigenous player in Shane Edwards with a goal and a near miss, the Bombers would not be denied. Joe Daniher added two more goals and Michael Hibberd added another as Essendon cruised to a 39 point half time lead. Amazingly, Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt - who had kicked a record breaking 11 goals the previous week - had touched the football just once in the entire first half against the Bombers. Jobe Watson, David Zaharakis and Brendon Goddard were dominating possession for Essendon whilst Martin and Brandon Ellis were the best for a sloppy Richmond.
If Tiger fans were expecting a gutsy comeback after half time they were to be sadly disappointed. Essendon completely dominated the third quarter, with Richmond once again goalless in a stagnant, unimaginative display of B-grade football. Some of the turnovers would have been almost laughable if they had not been performed in such an important game for the club. Essendon on the other hand continued to run and create, and despite a few errors of their own they worked hard enough to maintain possession and create shots on goal. Howlett and Daniher were proving an excellent tandem up forward while the Tigers had no winners forward of center. At three-quarter time the Bombers held a massive 51 point lead.
The final quarter was a more even affair but the damage was already done. When the final siren sounded to put Tiger fans out of their misery, the Bombers had a 50 point victory in the books in emphatic fashion. Damningly, Essendon had delivered the ball inside the 50 meter arc 67 times to Richmond’s 40 - a massive difference in what had been predicted to be a tight contest. The tackle count of 65 to 49 in the Bombers favor was almost unbelievable given the fact Essendon had possession of the ball almost all night.
Essendon’s emphatic victory keeps their hopes of Finals' football alive, and they will look to continue their climb up the Ladder with an away contest against bottom-placed Greater Western Sydney next week. Richmond, surely the season’s biggest disappointment even for non-Tiger fans, will endure yet another week of soul searching as they try to find a way to compete with a classy North Melbourne squad - coming off a fine victory against the West Coast Eagles on the road - in Round 12 at Etihad Stadium.
Scoreboard Essendon 4.4 9.8 11.11 15.14 (104) Richmond 0.1 3.5 3.8 7.12 (54) Best Players Essendon: Howlett, Fletcher, Watson, Goddard, Zaharakis, Carlisle, Myers Richmond: Martin, Jackson, Ellis
Article last changed on Sunday, June 01, 2014 - 10:45 AM EDT