Richmond bounced back from last week’s disappointing loss to the Western Bulldogs with a scrappy 79-point victory over a struggling Brisbane Lions at the Gabba on Saturday night. Brisbane was looking to fire after a demoralizing 82 point loss at the hands of North Melbourne in round two, but despite a solid start could not match the rampaging Tigers who took control of the game late in the second quarter. Both teams were missing gun midfielders through injury, Brisbane without clearance machine Tom Rockliff while Brett Deledio failed to pass a mid-week fitness test for the Tigers.
The first quarter saw Richmond dominate possession, with captain Trent Cotchin leading the way as the Tigers took the lead through a Ben Griffith goal. Taylor Hunt and Kamdyn McIntosh were also racking up plenty of touches early as Richmond held a massive 10-3 advantage on possessions inside 50 meters, but the Tiger forwards failed to turn the advantage into a big lead. At quarter time, Richmond led by just nine points.
Marco Paparone struck first for the Lions in the second quarter, reducing the margin to just two points after a Brent Staker behind. The next five minutes of the game became an arm wrestle as neither team managed to gain clean possession in their own forward half. It was left to the classy Chris Knights, in his first game back in over a year, to goal for the Tigers and give them a small buffer over a Lions outfit that was working hard but making plenty of mistakes. Knights unfortunately left the field just minutes later after injuring his hamstring as his tough run with injury continues. After a scrappy 20 minutes of the second term, the Tigers gained the ascendancy with goals to Dustin Martin, Chris Newman and Jack Riewoldt, all within the space of three minutes playing time. At half time, Richmond held a handy 24 point lead and appeared to have the measure of the home town Lions.
The floodgates opened after half-time with Brisbane struggling to take marks inside their forward 50 meter arc, the Tiger backs in Alex Rance and Bachar Houli repelling the Brisbane attacks at will. Richmond on the other hand, were starting to find space in their forward line, and with Riewoldt and Griffith providing strong marking targets, the Tigers piled on three more unanswered goals before Brisbane’s Dane Zorko returned fire with one of his four goals for the game. First game player Harris Andrews added another to give Brisbane fans some hope of a revival, but Richmond’s Shaun Grigg had other ideas as he added two Tiger goals in succession before the three-quarter time siren. At the final break, the Tigers led by 42 points and looked to have the game in their control.
Dustin Martin continued to provide highlights for the Tigers with the opening goal of the final term, and despite consecutive goals to the Lions through James Aish and josh Green, Richmond ran the game out in style, dominating the final quarter with superior use of the ball by hand and foot. When the final siren sounded, the visiting Tigers had handed the Lions another thrashing, running out winners by 79 points. The victory would be the Tigers eighth straight victory over the Lions, sending Brisbane to the bottom of the standings while Richmond catapulted themselves back into the top eight.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick would be delighted with the form of Trent Cotchin and forwards Jack Riewoldt and Ben Griffiths, though any excitement would have been tempered by what looks to be yet another extended spell on the injury list for the talented Chris Knights. For Lions head coach Justin Leppitsch, a promising pre-season has been wiped out with a couple of insipid performances from his team. He will be hoping the return of Rockliff can inspire his players to play at a much higher level in the coming weeks. Round four will see the Tigers take on a much-improved Melbourne Demons on Friday night at the MCG while Brisbane has a home date with the West Coast Eagles.
Scoreboard: BRISBANE LIONS 3.1 4.5 6.7 8.10 (58) RICHMOND 4.4 8.5 13.7 21.11 (137) Best Players: Brisbane Lions: D.Beams, Zorko, Rich, Martin, Redden Richmond: Cotchin, Houli, Riewoldt, Miles, Griffiths, Gordon
Article last changed on Monday, April 20, 2015 - 3:09 PM EDT