The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

TIGERS SLOG ON

Rich­mond do it tough to con­tinue march to fi­nals

- BRUCE MATTHEWS IN MEL­BOURNE

IT WAS a no-frills win Rich­mond would take on any wet MCG night.

A tough, hard slog that will re­quire a queue at the Punt Road Oval ice-baths to ease aching bod­ies at re­cov­ery to­day.

To beat Essendon, another tra­di­tional sub­ur­ban ri­val, by 27 points for the sec­ond time this sea­son was the bonus for keep­ing alive those top four am­bi­tions.

Pre-game showers that con­tin­ued well into the first half en­sured the nor­mally freescor­ing Tigers were never go­ing to hit the score­board hard. A measly 10 goals from 64 in­side 50 en­tries il­lus­trated the im­pos­si­ble task.

Yes, there was that Tiger trade­mark quick tran­si­tion from the back­line through the cen­tre cor­ri­dor – but those op­tions to build a big tally were fur­ther ham­pered by Jack Riewoldt be­ing held goal-less by Bomber de­fender Michael Hur­ley.

Tiger col­league Ty Vick­ery again stood tall and ef­fec­tive in his 100th game with another valu­able con­tri­bu­tion.

He kicked two goals, gave off another and gen­er­ally pro­vided a for­ward pres­ence, even find­ing space for the in­evitable spilling balls.

Essendon’s re­cent strug­gles to com­pile a com­pet­i­tive to­tal were al­ways go­ing to con­tinue, this time floun­der­ing against the or­gan­ised Rich­mond back­line so well-led by Alex Rance and his Tiger mates.

The only real con­cern for Rich­mond was a heavy head knock to Brett Dele­dio in the last few min­utes of the con­test from Courtenay Dempsey’s fright­en­ing sling tackle that will at­tract the AFL match re­view panel’s at­ten­tion.

Rich­mond was poised to break open the con­test when Kam­dyn McIn­tosh clev­erly ad­vanced the wet ball with three toe­pokes around the south­ern wing to set up a Dustin Martin goal early in the third quar­ter.

But the Tigers strug­gled for goals de­spite the weight of in­side 50 ad­vances as the per­sis­tent high balls made it tough for mark­ing tar­gets Riewoldt and Vick­ery.

Matt Thomas and Shaun Grigg added goals with kicks that slith­ered through across the rain-soaked turf, but the 16-point lead at the last change did not seem safe, even in such dif­fi­cult scor­ing con­di­tions.

To no one’s sur­prise in the Ir­ish-type weather, Essendon’s pro­moted rookie Conor McKenna joined that il­lus­tri­ous list of first kick-first goal achiev­ers.

The 19-year-old was swamped by team­mates af­ter Shaun McKer­nan drew an op­po­nent and hand­balled to the un­marked new boy who ran to the goal line just five min­utes into the game.

Essendon’s pres­sure and en­deav­our caught the Tigers by sur­prise and it de­liv­ered the first two goals to the com­mit­ted Bombers.

But Rich­mond grad­u­ally set­tled with ruck­man Ivan Maric gifted their first goal when re­tir­ing Bomber Paul Chap­man in­fringed the pro­tected area and gave away a 50m penalty in time-on of the open­ing quar­ter.

On a night not suited to the tall tar­gets, Vick­ery over­shad­owed Riewoldt by play­ing smart in the slip­pery con­di­tions to con­trib­ute three goals in the tight sec­ond quar­ter.

He regularly found space out the back to shake off op­po­nent Jake Carlisle.

Re­ally, Rich­mond should have gone into the long break with a far more sub­stan­tial score­board ad­van­tage – four goals from 37 in­side 50s was a poor re­turn.

 ??  ?? JACK IN THE BOX: Jack Riewoldt flies for the mark last night at the MCG. Pic­ture: Getty Im­ages
JACK IN THE BOX: Jack Riewoldt flies for the mark last night at the MCG. Pic­ture: Getty Im­ages

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