Tigers Sink Their Teeth Into Demons’ Defence

May 3, 2019 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Round 6 – Richmond Vs Melbourne – Tigers Sink Their Teeth Into Demons’ Defence

Liam Chambers

To borrow an old football adage, it was a game of two halves. Melbourne were dominant in the first quarter again and remained competitive up until midway through the third. Then Richmond showed why they are so difficult to beat. No matter how hard the Dees ran and tackled, they couldn’t get through the Tigers’ back line to put enough points on the scoreboard. Although they looked much improved from the side that succumbed to St Kilda in Round 5, Melbourne was unable to maintain the momentum.

Though the first goal went to Tom Lynch (definitely contender for the Coleman Medal), the Dees were winning more contested possessions. Tim Smith scored first for Melbourne before Jay Lockhart doubled their advantage. Max Gawn added another six points before Castagna got one back for Richmond. Then a Jayden Hunt goal was quickly countered by the Tiger’s Brandon Ellis. Melbourne led by six points at the end of the quarter mainly due to their superior tally of contested possessions.

In the second quarter, a goal from Richmond’s Liam Baker levelled the scores. Though Melbourne were defending well they were let down by their kicking efficiency. The Tigers were finding their way to the Dees inside 50 with increasing ease but not converting their advantage. Finally Dustin Martin got Richmond’s second goal of the quarter while being on the receiving end of an accurate Jack Riewoldt kick. The half ended with Melbourne trailing 34-26.

Into the second half and Alex Neal-Bullen scored the Dees’ first goal since Q1 to reduce the margin to four points. Melbourne were still struggling to regain the lead though. Then back to back goals from Riewoldt saw the Tigers in the ascendancy. The momentum was definitely with Richmond at the end of the quarter but the game was still very much within Melbourne’s reach.

The Tigers stepped up the pressure in the fourth quarter and kicked five goals to the Dees’ solitary effort from Bayley Fritsch. Richmond seem to be able to maintain a level of intensity that few teams can match. It’s often been said that they thrive on chaos. At times in the last quarter, there seemed to be three Tigers on the field for every Demon.

There was much to like about Melbourne in Round 6. Angus Brayshaw and Clayton Oliver again starred in midfield with 29 disposals apiece. Max Gawn dominated with 48 hitouts. Christian Salem was calm and collected while diffusing attacks and clearing the ball. The team spirit is there but for some reason the players don’t seem to be gelling the way they did at the end of last season.

The Soothsayers all predicted a top four spot for the Dees in 2019 and fans expectations were sky high. At 5 losses to 1 win for the season so far, our prospects for a finals berth are starting to diminish. To have any realistic chance of making the top eight, we need to win a minimum of twelve games. With sixteen matches left, we need at least eleven to go our way. Even then percentage is hugely important.

The precedent for optimism would be the Swans in 2017 who finished sixth after losing their first six games. There’s no reason Melbourne can’t replicate that result but we face some tough sides in the next four games. Then there’s the Pies, Freo and the Lions. Still, that’s what being a footy fan is all about and there’s still a chance. 47,147 members can’t be wrong!

RICHMOND 3.1 5.4 7.9 12.13 (85)
MELBOURNE 4.1 4.2 5.5 6.6 (42)
Richmond: Riewoldt 2, Ellis 2, Castagna 2, Baker 2, Lynch, Ellis, Martin, McIntosh
Melbourne: Smith, Lockhart, Gawn, Hunt, Neal-Bullen, Fritsch
Richmond: Vlastuin, Houli, Prestia, Lambert, Baker, Riewoldt
Melbourne: Gawn, Melksham, Hibberd, T.McDonald, Brayshaw, Viney


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