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Tigers ruthless as Eagles unleash fresh style; anti-climax to Dusty show amid ‘disconsolate’ Yeo’s setback: 3-2-1

Tigers ruthless as Eagles unleash fresh style; anti-climax to Dusty show amid ‘disconsolate’ Yeo’s setback: 3-2-1

Richmond is back in the top eight after continuing its high-scoring love affair against an, albeit much-improved, West Coast at the MCG, booting 20 goals to claim a 35-point victory.

The Tigers set up their win with a dominant second term, booting seven goals as Dustin Martin ran amok before he was subbed out in the third term.

The Eagles, who lost by 107 points the last time they played Richmond, have the Tigers a scare in the third term and reduced the margin to 11 points. But Richmond pulled away in final quarter to win 20.8 (128) to 13.15 (93).

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Round 16

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QUARTER-BY-QUARTER MATCH REPORT

There were no late changes for either side. Kane Lambert (Richmond) and Samo Petrevski-Seton (West Coast) were the medical substitutes.

West Coast looked promising early, with good pressure inside its forward 50 helping to create several scoring opportunities.

Only one of them was converted via Willie Rioli and Richmond got on the board via Jack Riewoldt.

Dustin Martin was next to score with a classy pick-up and snap inside 50.

Both sides looked promising on transition, but inside 50 entries were far from efficient enough.

Jack Darling put through a set shot from the goalsquare after a vintage contested mark, but the Eagles paid the price for a 50 metre penalty for entering the protected area, which saw Riewoldt put Richmond up by 10 points at quarter-time.

In his first game since round four, Nic Naitanui put through a long-range snap to get the Eagles off to a great start in the second quarter.

As had been the case for much of the game, however, the Tigers hit back almost immediately, with Daniel Rioli streaming through the forward 50 and finishing cleanly.

Shai Bolton was awarded a free kick for holding the ball and snapped through another goal for the Tigers.

Some individual brilliance at the other end resulted in a great goal to Tim Kelly.

But Richmond’s “firestarter” Bolton found another gear to help lift the Tigers to four straight goals and blow the lead out to 34 points at the main change.

“The Tigers have got a taste for it now,” commentator Anthony Hudson warned.

There was injury carnage at the start of the third term, with both teams forced to activate their subs.

After an epic first half, Martin was subbed from the game with hamstring awareness and replaced by Richmond veteran Kane Lambert.

Minutes beforehand, the luckless Elliot Yeo suffered a hamstring injury that saw Sam Petrevski-Seton activated.

“It’s shocking news. He’s been so disrupted in the past few years … He’s cutting a disconsolate figure,” Hudson said.

Gerard Healy added: “He‘s had a horror run the last few years.”

Despite the Yeo blow, the Eagles gave the Tigers an almighty scare.

After Jason Castagna kicked the first goal of the term, the Eagles kicked six of the next eight goals of the game to cut Richmond’s lead to just 11 points late in the final term.

“They just won’t go away,” Lewis said.

“How about the chain of handballs? That’s what they’ve done in this quarter. They’ve chained, they’ve used either handball or kick further up the field to try and draw the Richmond defence up.”

Healy added: “It’s a different looking Eagles the way they move the ball compared to the kick-mark game of the past decade.”

Liam Baker kicked a much-needed goal just before the three quarter-time siren to give the Tigers some breathing space and an 18-point lead heading into the main break.

Riewoldt curled home the opening goal of the final term from a snap set-shot, but the Eagles remained within striking distance as Jack Petruccelle kicked a super running goal.

But the Tigers had the answers as Tom Lynch marked and goaled to extend Richmond’s lead to 30 points and put the result beyond doubt.

The Tigers finished with 20.8 — their second-highest score of the season. But in a sign the Eagles have turned the corner, they produced their second-highest score of 2022 too.

THE 3-2-1

DUSTY’S DAY OF DRAMA ENDS IN ANTI-CLIMAX

Dustin Martin dominated from the first bounce against West Coast at the MCG.

Martin was everywhere in the opening half, racking up 17 disposals, eight score involvements and a ripping goal from stoppage.

But the game took a twist in the third term when Martin made his way to the bench and immediately pulled on a jumper.

The club reported Martin’s complaint as “hamstring awareness” and said the superstar’s substitution was merely precautionary.

“It’s a bit of an anticlimax about what could have been in the second half,” commentator Anthony Hudson said.

“The timing could not be worse for Richmond after an outstanding first half from Dusty.”

Earlier in the match, Martin was back to his brilliant best with an early goal.

“You said it from the opening bounce that he looks sharp today,” commentator Jordan Lewis said.

“He gets it done around the contest.

“Once he gets the ball into open spaces, he’s really hard to predict where he goes.

“Just a reminder he’s possibly still the best player in the comp

“He’s been everywhere.”

“The champion is at his finest when he’s at a stoppage around goals. He can do it all himself,” Gerard Healy said.

Ben Dixon was full of praise for Martin’s defensive efforts too.

“We’ve seen how good offensively he is and his brilliance, but I’ve just loved his work off the ball as well,” he said.

“Every time he plays well through the middle of the ground, they dominate.

“It was ominous signs for West Coast.”

Martin wasn’t the only big casualty on Sunday with Eagle Elliot Yeo subbed out in the third term with another soft tissue injury.

Since his battle with osteitis pubis back in 2020, Yeo has been restricted to just 17 games in two seasons after repeat issued with his hamstrings and calves.

Chasing Maurice Rioli Junior in the third, Yeo pulled up after overstretching his right hamstring in a massive blow for the Eagles.

“It’s a body blow with Elliot Yeo being taken from the ground,” Hudson said.

“Maximum effort with the chase and done the hamstring.

“His move to the backline has been brilliant (in 2022). He’s had a horror run the last few years.”

Jordan Lewis said it was just an “unfortunate” injury for Yeo.

“You don’t test yourself until you’re in game situations and you make those efforts,” Lewis said.

DEFENDERS’ DAY OUT AT THE ‘G

Both Richmond and West Coast were determined to play free-flowing footy at the MCG on Sunday.

With both sides going from defensive 50 into their attack end at more than 40% of attempts in the first half – with the competition average sits in the 20’s – the backlines were stretched.

Robbie Tarrant shared the tough role on 250-game milestone man Jack Darling with young Josh Gibcus, and excelled.

“A number of times I thought Robbie Tarrant showed why they have recruited him,” commentator Gerard Healy praised.

“Defensively spoils, just running to cover; he’s going to end up becoming a really valuable pick up.”

Anthony Hudson said Richmond’s decision to recruit Tarrant from North Melbourne was paying off.

“What a story it would be if Robbie Tarrant could get there in September as well for the Tigers,” he said.

Down the other end of the ground, it was a baptism of fire for young Rhett Bazzo, who was given the job on Jack Riewoldt.

“It’s a great learning role for him,” Hudson said.

Gerard Healy backed coach Adam Simpson’s call to go with the youngster in the absence of injured star Jeremy McGovern.

“(Defence) always loomed as a problem coming in, a really inexperienced key defender coming up against one of the greats of the Tigers,” he said.

Bazzo was then given the tough task against resting ruck Ivan Soldo when he came forward, clearly giving up a height and weight advantage.

“That’s the match up they need to target – that Bazzo match up in forward 50,” Jordan Lewis added.

But Bazzo was a good contributor for the Eagles while veteran Shannon Hurn continued to show he’s still one of the best defenders in the game.

“Adam Simpson needs to start talking to him about going on as he’s played a hell of a game,” Healy praised.

EAGLES CHANGE IT UP AND SHOW SOME FIGHT

West Coast’s woes in 2022 have been well documented, from injury issues to Covid chaos.

But with a fairly healthy squad to choose from, and not being restricted to top up players from the WAFL as they had earlier in the year, West Coast has shown some fight in recent weeks.

After the Round 15 win over Essendon, the Eagles showed they could kick a winning score.

Against the Tigers at the MCG, West Coast opted for a handball game in a bid to draw Richmond’s spare man forward.

“It’s been a different looking Eagles the way they’ve moved the ball,” Gerard Healy said.

Despite being down by 39 points early in the third term, West Coast found their fight to kick six of the next eight goals.

By taking the game on and shifting the Richmond defence, the Eagles found some joy.

“They‘ve certainly got their spark West Coast,” Ben Dixon praised.

West Coast finished with +20 contested possessions, +4 inside 50s and +14 clearances to win the battle through the middle

“They won’t be an easy side to come up against for the remainder of the year,” Anthony Hudson praised.

While the scoreline did blow out late in the fourth term, West Coast showed glimpses of their best in the Round 16 loss.

This match gets underway at 2:10pm from the MCG.

Watch it on Fox Footy (channel 504) from 2pm AEST.

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