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Troy Thompson for AFANA from the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne.

It was a cool night in Melbourne for this clash of traditional rivals. At ground level there was a noticeable breeze that is not necessarily consistent in any direction due to the stadium configuration.  It is hard to know how much credit to give the breeze and how much contempt to throw on the players for poor kicking execution, but at any rate poor kicking dominated the night.

Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury won the toss and kicked to the city end. Being a school night only about half the eventual crowd of 58,236 were at their seats for the first bounce.In what would turn out to be a terrible kicking quarter Cotchin’s kick from 30m out in the pocket for the first goal of the night would almost be an anomaly, the ball just slipped inside the goal post to get the scoring underway. Collingwood pushed hard but poor kicking to their forwards allowed the Tigers to rush two behinds before Broomhead found space and kicked Collingwood’s first with a checkside kick on the run 30 straight in front. 

At the other end, Richmond’s delivery was not much better as both teams tried to get the ball inside 50 quickly. Sidebottom roved a hurried kick into the Collingwood forward line but hit the post. And even when the delivery was good as Hoskin-Elliot sat a nice pass up for Darcy Moore, poor kicking let him down. Shane Edwards missed two for the Tigers within a minute from each pocket to continue the lack of conversion before he finally made amends, from the ball up he roved Grundy’s tap from the ground and snapped truly on his right foot.

Jeremy Howe provided the high marking highlight of the quarter which set up an end to end chain of running for the Magpies, with Jesse White tumbling the ball through from 45m out on the run. Both sides continued to miss marks and miss shots at goal. Ben Griffiths tried to match Howe’s earlier mark and flew early and gave away sloppy free kick. Richmond dominated the quarter and the inside 50’s but just could not convert that into a lead. In key clashes, Nankervis had the better of Grundy and had good influence around the ground, Tyson Goldsack kept Jack Riewoldt without a stat to quarter time.  Each side had kicked 2.4 in an uninspiring contest.

It was well into the second quarter before the first goal was registered after more poor kicking. It came from a bad turnover by Will Hoskin-Elliot to Caddy at center half back. That led to a chain of handballs that finished with the Richmond captain Trent Cotchin running inside the 50m arc and sending the ball long for a goal. The comedy of errors continued throughout the quarter until just before half time Collingwood kicked two quick goals through Moore and then Mayne to take a 10-point lead into the break and tempt spectators that this game might have better to offer in the second half.

Collingwood looked to press on in the third quarter and Jesse White received a dubious free kick in the goal square, presumably for over the shoulder and converted the opportunity for six points from close range. Richmond maintained touch with a goal to Ellis who roved the long kick to the pack in the pocket and snapped it from a tight angle. They again drew closer when Jack Riewoldt finally marked at the top of the square almost uncontested as Houli kicked the ball high to the hot spot. His goal brought the margin back to 5 points. Grundy responded to the back to back goals with a great run out of the middle receiving the handball and kicking a long goal for Collingwood.

The game tightened and both sides missed more goals they desperately needed, it seemed to be Richmond pushing the hardest. Rioli marked a quick kick from Nankervis 35m out on the 45-degree angle and this time his kick was straight. Goal for goal continued as Aish marked 40m out in the pocket, and kicked a long straight drop punt for goal. Ben Griffiths flew on wing over the pack for the third time tonight, but this time he missed the mark and landed heavily and had to be helped to the bench by the Richmond trainers. Next it was Richmond’s turn again as Rioli gave the ball to Martin, he tried to get around a defender and then his high kick found Riewoldt who held position to mark in the square (with a shepherd assist from Caddy). He kicked truly from straight in front.

Richmond could have taken the lead as Martin roved near the square and squeezed a kick backwards to Riewoldt marked 40m out, but it was that kind of night as he missed to the left. From the kick out Ben Lennon marked 35m out as Collingwood turned the ball over. He went back and kicked the goal and Richmond finally regained the lead with four minutes to go in the quarter. Fasolo, Grundy and Maynard all missed shots at what were desperately needed goals late in the quarter for Collingwood. But it was Richmond that were able to convert inside last minute. A turnover off half back, allowed the Tigers to work the ball through the middle. A long kick to Martin in the square and despite Goldsack’s spoiling attempt Caddy roved the spilled ball for the goal to give the Tigers a 7-point lead at three quarter time.

Richmond pressed hard early in the last quarter, two rushed behinds and a ball spoiled to the boundary by the Collingwood defenders who were desperately trying to hold back the tide. Eventually though they broke through with a vital goal to Ben Lennon whose boot just toed the ball as it rolled over the line.  There was a review mostly to see if Collingwood had touched the ball as it went over the line but the goal stood. The ball spent a long time in the Richmond forward line and their momentum was undeniable. Their next goal would come when a turnover to Lennon saw him quickly pass the ball inside 50 to Butler. Butler’s goal took the lead out to 21 points and the game looked like it might be over.

To Collingwood’s credit they had a little more in the tank though, at the other end Rance rushed a behind after high kick in to the square from the Magpies. Shortly after Fasolo squirted a short pass from the pocket to Hoskin-Elliot who kicked the set shot goal. Grundy had a good chance to put Collingwood just 8 points down with a mark outside 50 but went short and his kick was spoiled and Richmond were able to clear. The next crucial play looked likely to put the match beyond Collingwood’s grasp. A free kick was awarded against Maynard for blocking Grigg at the boundary throw in. Grigg had nominated as ruckman as the new ruck rules require, but Maynard was unaware and though he was blocking Grigg trying to rove the throw in. Grigg went back and kicked the hugely important goal from 50m out.

The highlight of the last quarter was a flying one handed contested mark by Scott Pendlebury on the half forward flank, his quick kick into the pocket to Hoskin-Elliot resulted in a goal and left the door slightly ajar with the Pies trailing by 14 points. Martin missed a snap at goal for the Tigers and the long torpedo kick out up the middle by Collingwood paid dividends as they cleared the ball from the spill and ran it to their 50, and converted to a goal with a long kick from Hoskin Elliot.

The Tigers were equal to the task though and a turnover on the wing saw Rioli run and carry, to Butler, he passed to Lennon who had great vision and a kick to back it up across to the fat side of the pack to Martin who won the contested mark in the pocket. Martin ran around and snapped the goal to put the second last nail in the coffin. Collingwood’s last hurrah came through Treloar who cleared the ball from the ball up and running out of middle of the ground and inside 50 kicked a great goal. Dustin Martin was looking unstoppable now but even his kicking was not perfect and he snapped a behind before putting the final nail in the coffin. The ball came in long and he contested the mark in square ball, the ball spilled forward and he followed up to rove himself and snapped the ball over the shoulder for a goal.

A convincing end to give the Tigers a 19-point win over Collingwood in a match that was riddled with kicking errors by both sides. Damian Hardwick’s Tigers are now 2-0 in a start that will have him breathing a little easier. Collingwood Coach Nathan Buckley has a lot of work ahead of him to make his side competitive and with Sydney at the SCG next week he could be looking down the barrel at a 0-3 start to the season.

Richmond     2.4 5.5   9.8 14.15 (99)
Collingwood  2.4 5.10 7.13 11.14 (80)

Richmond: Riewoldt 2, Cotchin 2, Martin 2, Rioli, Lennon, Houli, Ellis, Edwards, Caddy, Butler, Grigg
Collingwood: Hoskin-Elliott 3, White 2, Treloar 2, Moore, Broomhead, Mayne, Grundy

Richmond: Cotchin, Rance, Martin, Grimes, Houli, Lennon,  Nankervis
Collingwood: Grundy, Hoskin-Elliott, Pendlebury, Treloar, Adams

Richmond: Griffiths (head)
Collingwood: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: DeBoy, Schmitt, Kamolins

Article last changed on Friday, March 31, 2017 - 12:27 AM EDT

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