JACK COPS KNOCKOUT HIT
RICHMOND star Jack Riewoldt was out of the game following a heavy spoil from St Kilda’s Jake Carlisle in a marking contest in the big clash at the MCG. Carlisle made contact with the Tasmanian’s head and was reported for striking. Sydney premiership coach Paul Roos said on Fox Footy y that Riewoldt’s injuryjy in the opening six minutes showed the need for a concussion substitute to be e introduced.
SELF-BELIEF is a powerful thing and Richmond has bucket-loads of it right now.
The brakes might have been put on the Tiger Train with a humbling loss to West Coast in Perth last week, but yesterday’s win over St Kilda indicated it is full steam ahead once again for the reigning premiers.
This was not Richmond’s greatest game or biggest scalp against a St Kilda side that had just one win and a draw to its name from nine games.
However, it would have been one of the most heartening in recent times for coach Damien Hardwick, whose side delivered its 14th-straight win on the MCG despite multiple obstacles being put in their way.
On a six-day break returning from Perth, the clash with the Saints was never going to be easy.
Disaster struck, as key forward Jack Riewoldt was struck high in a marking contest by Jake Carlisle and left the ground with concussion in the opening term before he had a touch.
Bachar Houli was soon after battling groin complaints, which he tried to run out in the second quarter but couldn’t.
In the end, the pair played just 24 minutes between them, the Tigers with only two rotations on the bench for almost the entire final three quarters.
The league’s farcical score review system also hindered the Tigers’ efforts.
A Jack Higgins shot in the third quarter, which the goal umpire believed had crossed the line for a goal, was overturned despite more than questionable vision, a flabbergasted AFL great Wayne Carey labelling the decision “quite incredible”.
The Saints went on to kick the next four goals after that decision.
They broke out to a 12point lead at the 16-minutemark of the third quarter as the Tigers looked to be tiring.
But as the famous song goes, “If we’re behind then never mind, we’ll fight and fight and win.”
The leaders — none more so than captain Trent Cotchin — stepped up while defender Nick Vlastuin was flung forward with great effect.
Having kicked just two goals from his previous 32 games combined, Vlastuin bagged two majors in two minutes during the third quarter and the Tigers were rolling again.
Holding a 10-point lead at the final change, Richmond risked running out of legs.
But the competition’s best last-quarter team finished with a wet sail as it won the final term by 18 points to again stamp its authority.
Take a bow Josh Caddy who, in Riewoldt’s absence, stood up to boot a career-high six goals among 24 disposals and 12 score involvements in a three-vote game.
Caddy has 23 goals for the season, having finished with totals of 21 the previous two years.
The Saints’ effort has not been questioned for most of the season and was again strong.
Their execution — while better overall — was patchy, with too many turnovers by foot and too many half chances not taken.
The scoreboard — at 12.5 — looked better on paper, but the Saints had five other shots that either failed to make the distance or sailed out of bounds on the full.
Against a never-say-die Richmond side, you simply cannot afford such blunders.
MAN DOWN: Tasmanian Tiger Jack Riewoldt is injured in a marking contest, inset above, with St Kilda’s Jake Carlisle at the MCG. Riewoldt went off with concussion and Carlisle was reported.
HUNTED: Dustin Martin of the Tigers is tackled by Jack Steele and Sebastian Ross of the Saints.
ROLLED: Richmond’s Jayden Short is tackled by Jade Gresham of the Saints.