Richmond headed home to the MCG to take on the Greater Western Sydney Giants with a four game winning streak at stake. A win against the Giants would keep the Tigers’ slim Finals' chance alive, while any slip up would end their season with regard to post-season action. The Giants came into the game showing improved form, narrowly failing to beat premiership contenders Geelong in the previous round. Richmond coach Damien Hardwick would have been looking for a fast start, knowing that the wet conditions from the West Coast game may produce some weary Tigers as the game wore on. His opposite number Leon Cameron would have been looking for quick delivery into young GWS “twin towers” Jonathon Patton and Tom Boyd, hoping to use the height advantage of the young forwards.
Richmond’s Trent Cotchin had the opening goal on the board at the five minute mark with a nifty steal from a botched Giants' clearance. This would be a theme that continued throughout the match as Richmond made the best of multiple crucial turnovers by the GWS defense. Big Tom Boyd had the first for the visitors after 15 minutes in what was a turgid affair in cold conditions. Richmond looked the more threatening but their poor disposal inside the 50 meter arc was once again proving their undoing. Goals to the Tigers' Matt Thomas and Shane Edwards drew a response from the Giants as Jonathon Patton booted the final goal of the quarter. The Tigers held a five point lead at the first break, with Cotchin, Brandon Ellis and Thomas winning multiple clearances for the home side.
The second quarter was where the game was won as Brett Deledio ran amok with further support from Cotchin and Ellis as Richmond totally dominated the Giants with superior work in and around the ball-ups. Despite Phil Davis holding Tiger spearhead Jack Riewoldt to just a handful of possessions, Richmond managed five goals to zero for the quarter with two goals each from Deledio and Ricky Petterd. Ben Griffiths - replacing the suspended Ty Vickery - added a goal himself to complete the second quarter whitewash. Richmond did not seem to be upset by the fact that two light towers went out during the quarter, leaving part of the MCG in an eerie twilight that at least gave Giants' fans something to talk about. At half time, the Tigers held a comfortable 34 point lead.
GWS showed renewed vigor in the third term with skipper Callan Ward and midfielder Adam Treloar working their way into the game. A freak mark to Will Hoskin-Elliot led to the Giants' first goal of the quarter and Ward followed it up just a couple of minutes later. When Treloar kicked Greater Western Sydney’s third in a row the Tiger lead had been trimmed to less than three goals. Hardwick made the move of ex-Giant turned Tiger Anthony Miles onto Ward in an attempt to quell the captain’s influence on the game, the move having the desired effect. Just as the game appeared to be getting away from Richmond, Dustin Martin - parked at full forward due to soreness - showed his class with a couple of steadying goals before Boyd kicked his second of the game for the Giants. With the game well and truly alive, a seemingly tired Richmond held a 24 point advantage with a quarter to play.
Jonathon Patton - locked in a solid duel with Alex Rance - looked menacing for the Giants up forward but was being found out through Rance’s rebound run out of defense for the Tigers. It only took a minute for Richmond to stake their claim on victory as Brandon Ellis goaled to extend the Tiger lead to an even five goals. When a subdued Riewoldt added another within a minute, Richmond looked home. To the Giants' credit they fought the game out, goals to Patton and Rhys Palmer restoring the three quarter time status quo, but that was all she wrote for the upstart Giants who once again showed they will be a future force, but right now lack the polish and consistency to contend with more experienced outfits.
In the Round 20 Friday night clash the Tigers will attempt to keep their slim Finals' dream alive when they take on Essendon at the MCG. Last time these teams met the Bombers crushed the Tigers, so Richmond will need to dig deep into their bag of tricks to challenge the speedy Essendon outfit. The Giants will take on the schizophrenic North Melbourne Kangaroos at Startrack Oval in Canberra on Saturday afternoon.
Scoreboard Richmond: 3.2 8.5 10.10 13.11 (89) GWS: 2.3 2.7 6.10 8.14 (62) Best Players Richmond: Deledio, Ellis, Rance, Petterd, Cotchin, Edwards GWS: Ward, Greene, Davis, Treloar, Patton
Article last changed on Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - 8:18 AM EDT