The Richmond Tigers came away 18.13(121)-16.17(113) winners against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Friday night in one of the best games of the AFL season.
Richmond went ahead early in the fourth only to see the Saints storm back and take the lead. After a number of lead changes the Tigers managed to break away thanks some goal kicking brillance by Jack Riewoldt and collect a valuable win that sees them move closer to the top-eight.
Riewoldt starred up forward by booting 8 goals to go along with 20 disposals while the Tigers elite midfield helped them to victory. Trent Cotchin and Brett Deledio each amassed 29 possessions.
The first half was maybe the best all year with a total of five points separating both sides at the combined breaks. Jack Riewoldt goaled amidst three other early Richmond misses before St Kilda’s Nick Riewoldt dropped an inside 50 mark onlt to have his crumbing forwards pounced on it with Saad finishing the goal. Saad then added a second before Jack Reiwoldt and Tuck kicked a couple for the Tigers. Nick Dal Santo had done nothing all quarter but atoned for that with a nice goal, but Justin Koschitzke’s weak effort right in front of goal sprayed right allowing the Tigers a slight lead at quarter-time.
Both teams traded goals in the second but Nick Riewoldt’s kicking on goal was looking worrisome. One poor shot from 50 fell short but Koschitzke was able to mark on the line and banana through one before Milne kicked a beautiful run, gathering a bouncing ball and hooking through a fine kick. Riewoldt put the Saints in front with a long bomb from 50 that just passed over a number of outstretched hands. It was followed by two midair soccer goals at either end, one by Saad and the other by Edwards. The goal exchange continued- Jack Riewoldt caught a defender holding the ball, went back and kicked his fifth only to have it negated when Goddard was cleaned up in the middle of the field. The umpire called advantage and Milera found himself with an open goal. Deledio kicked the quarter’s last after having been strangely quiet up until that point and it gave Richmond another slight lead at the major change, 62-60.
The third quarter was quiet in comparison and the Saints missed their chances, kicking just 1.8 for the term and falling behind by 9 at the end of the quarter.
An amazing fourth quarter saw Richmond kick early goals courtesy of big men Vickery and Maric giving the Tigers a 20-point lead. It looked as if Richmond had stolen momentum and possibly the game, but within five minutes the Saints had taken the lead. Armitage, Riewoldt and Gram kicked goals but Jack Riewoldt’s sixth put the Tigers back in front. They stayed there only for a moment as St Kilda went down the other way and Milera kicked a fantastic goal, dodging defenders short of the square and dribbling through a goal between two more. The Shermantor kicked goals seven and eight while 18-year-old Ellis, struggling in recent weeks to stay in the team, added a sealer.
Richmond received great games all over the field. Martin won the ball and kicked goals when he went forward, Maric was dominant in the ruck, Morris was excellent in defense and Nahas was a game winner.
St Kilda will be disappointed with the loss. They came very close to a win that would have really cemented their place in the eight but ultimately fell short despite less than pleasing games from the likes of Dal Santo and Milne. Goddard and Gilbert stood out and won a lot of the footy for the Saints.
Another tough test for ahead St Kilda, they play Geelong next Saturday Richmond gets the struggling Dockers at the MCG, not a favourite location for the Fremantle team.