The MCG continued to be a happy hunting ground for the Tigers, as they dismissed the challenge of Fremantle.
The Tigers played for three quarters, with the Dockers finding some spirit in the third, but that was enough to see the reigning premiers win by 77 points.
Here’s the Mongrel’s good, bad and ugly.
We lead off with Fyfe, because I wonder where Freo would’ve been without him today? It’s not often that someone from the losing team, especially on a team that gets beaten by so much, gets three votes, but if it happens, today would be the day.
Matched up with Dusty Martin at many stoppages throughout the game, Fyfe more than held his own, and stayed in many contests by sheer will.
He was supreme in the air (6 contested marks) and battled manfully to amass 33 disposals, with an unbelievable 26 of them being contested. Martin had a fourth quarter renaissance, but Fyfe had the runs on the board early. If we’re looking at their games side by side, both had poor kicking efficiency but Fyfe did a bit more, for mine.
That said, Dusty got 0.4 today. He converts them, and everyone is talking about what a great game Martin had.
While Alex Rance gets the plaudits, Astbury and Dylan Grimes do the grunt work. Astbury was a little more than a grunt worker today, however.
Often forced to play multiple positions to cover for teammates zoning off their opponents, Astbury compiled 14 marks across half back, and was clean all day long.
Never stop working
It happened again today. The Tigers turned the afterburners on in the fourth quarter and blew the Dockers away.
After a goalless third quarter, the Tigers banged on eight goals to none in the last. Are they fitter? Do they work harder? Do they will themselves to do what other teams are not willing to do?
We answered those questions with a resounding yes at the start of this weekend in this article, and the Tigers proved it to be true today. They clubbed the Dockers in the last and made sure memories of recent wins against Richmond in Melbourne were erased for Fremantle.
The Tigers run harder in the last ten minutes than they do in the first ten. If the margin is 3-4 goals at three quarter time, you are still a chance of seeing a ten goal win.
Freo’s third quarter fightback
Look, I know a lot of Richmond fans will read this, but you have to give Freo credit. They looked shot at half time, and they came out and showed a bit of heart. Yes, it was short-lived, but they diud manage to hold the Tigers goalless for a quarter. There is no other team that can claim that this season.
Cam McCarthy lifted his workrate against Rance, they started hitting targets, and if I am being completely honest, they got a tremendous run with the umpires.
Alas, it wasn’t enough, and the Tiger Train started rolling again in the fourth quarter.
Dusty may have led Richmond in disposals, but he did pad them a little in the last quarter. Lambert was excellent all day long. He had 25 touches, with 11 of them coming in contests. He travelled at 80% efficiency and snagged a couple of goals as well.
If Fyfe doesn’t get the three votes on Brownlow night, it should go to Lambert.
Score review gets it right
Again, sorry Tiger fans. I know that both Dusty and Josh Caddy looked to have scored goals, but this is exactly what the score review is for – to get decisions correct.
Both shots were touched and the review showed it. For the most part this season, the review system has been horrible and inconclusive. It wasn’t today – about time.
Do Pigeons barrack for Richmond?
When Brandon Matera lined up for goal in the opening moments of the third quarter, he stalled and almost stopped on his approach. He didn’t stop, but there was a genuine hesitation in his run up.
The reason – a couple of pigeons decided that despite propping themselves inside 50 all day, it was time to take flight. They flew right into the path of the concentrating Matera, throwing him off, and causing him to miss what was a regulation shot at goal.
Matera could’ve stopped, went back and recalibrated, but he didn’t, and though Freo did hit their straps in the third anyway, this would’ve been a great start.
Three quarters of Fremantle ineptitude
This was very similar to Brisbane’s capitulation to Richmond for three quarters. At least the Dockers had a crack in the third, I guess.
Credit the Richmond pressure, but add to that a few complete botches by hand and foot by the Dockers, and you have a recipe for football disaster.
At half time, Fremantle had 8 of the bottom 11 players in terms of disposals, and by the end of the game, they had nine of the bottom 11. They just didn’t get their hands on it, and they didn’t work hard enough.
Unluckily for Fremantle they were playing against the hardest working team in the game. They were outworked – severely.
How great was it to see Fyfe v Martin at stoppages. Just genuine top-echelon players going head to head. Loved it.
Unsure how Ballantyne still struggles from that 35 metre kind of range after so many years. Needed to kick the goal in the first to give Freo a bit of confidence. Didn’t.
Kane Lambert’s spoil with the flight of the ball was directly responsible for Sam Lloyd’s first quarter goal. Great desperation.
Richmond know the value of that little bit of additional pressure. When the opponent is going to get a kick away, they chase anyway, knowing that if they can just get a hand on the kicker, it may affect the direction of the kick just slightly, and allow a teammate the chance to halve the next contest. It’s such an admirable trait to have in a team.
Riewoldt emphasised the team-first mantra of Richmond, but knocking the ball on to Jack Graham, drawing two defenders in the process. Graham waltzed into an open goal. Magnificent play by Jack.
Tigers breaking tackles at half forward really showed up Freo’s lack of commitment in the second quarter. Both Caddy and Reece Conca were brushing opposition players aside like flies.
The only way Freo could get it past half forward in the second quarter was via a Fyfe contested mark. You just can’t rely on that.
Bad second quarter for Nathan Wilson. A couple of errors led directly to Richmond goals.
Castagna burning off Taylin Duman was a genuine highlight. He just took the mark, took off and knew Duman was no chance to get him. I love that confidence.
David Mundy dropping a chest mark at half forward unopposed summed up Fremantle’s first half. They were nowhere near it.
Loved the Richmond fans booing at half time. Seven goals up, the score review doing its job… and “BOOOOOOO”
Didn’t like Dusty’s lack of chase on Alex Pearce early in the third quarter. I reckon things like that set a dangerous tone, and if you look at that, then look at the way he attacked the game in the fourth quarter, there is a huge difference in both the effort, and the results.
Great protection from Cam McCarthy, just holding Rance up as Ballantyne marked 25 out.
Fyfe’s efforts in the ruck were actually pretty good. Might see more of him in there as the season goes on.
Richmond’s third was very similar to Adelaide’s second quarter against Carlton. They did not come out ready to play.
Adam Cerra really unlucky not to get a holding the ball free kick against Shane Edwards.
Bachar Houli completely owned the first goal. His run down the wing, keeping the ball in and tapping it on set the goal up. Townsend may have kicked it, but it was Houli breaking up the play and making Bailey Banfield pay for an ill-advised handball was almost the play of the game.
It didn’t take long for the wheels to fall off for the Dockers in the third. They threw it all at the Tigers in the third, but the fourth belonged to Richmond.
Martin’s forty metre short pass to Riewoldt was the sort of pass that forwards lick their lips thinking about. It could not have been a better kick.
From here it became an avalanche. Goals to Conca, Castagna and Towsend all came due to hard work.
Richmond just never stop working. Never.