JACK COPS KNOCK­OUT HIT

Sunday Tasmanian - - Front Page - CHRIS CA­VANAGH

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.

Pic­tures: AAP

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.

Pic­ture: GETTY IM­AGES

HUNTED: Dustin Martin of the Tigers is tack­led by Jack Steele and Se­bas­tian Ross of the Saints.

Pic­ture: GETTY IM­AGES

ROLLED: Rich­mond’s Jay­den Short is tack­led by Jade Gre­sham of the Saints.

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