Reece Conca and Nathan Foley celebrate a goal against Richmond
RICHMOND has moved to sixth on the ladder with a comprehensive win over the Western Bulldogs, claiming the 60-point victory with few troubles at Etihad Stadium.
The Tigers leapfrogged Port Adelaide and Collingwood to plant themselves firmly in the top eight with the 17.19 (121) to 8.13 (61) win on Saturday night.
Encouragingly, it was a win built on good foundations. As was evident in last week's win over Adelaide, the Tigers showed they no longer rely on brilliant individual performances to get them over the line.
Dustin Martin was consistent against the Bulldogs, Jack Riewoldt kicked three goals and Brett Deledio worked his way into the game but it was an even effort, the type of win good sides produce against teams they are expected to beat.
Five talking points: Western Bulldogs v Richmond
The signs were there early that Richmond was intent to do everything right from the start.
Nick Vlastuin smothered and tackled to keep the ball inside his attacking 50. Brandon Ellis linked up from defence. Alex Rance got back to spoil.
Even so, when the Tigers went on a four-goal burst through the second quarter and led by as much as 35 points, the Dogs tried to turn the tide and didn't stop trying.
Liam Jones offered a target in attack and grabbed some marks, Ryan Griffen was running and trying to give some creative spark to the midfield while skipper Matthew Boyd ran with and negated his Tiger counterpart Trent Cotchin.
The Bulldogs kept at it – at least until half-time.
That resistance slowed after the main break and their skills broke down. Richmond had too many contributors and rammed home the advantage in a five-goal-to-none third term and four-to-three last quarter.
"I thought the second half was a lot better than the first. The first we were a little bit disappointed with and we probably wasted some opportunities going forward."
"There were just a few things the Bulldogs did that caught us, not off guard, but we just didn't handle them as well as we would've liked."
"By the end of the game it was a good result. If you came in to the game and said you'd win by 10 goals, you'd certainly take it."
Martin finished with 23 disposals and a goal, while Bachar Houli (25 disposals), Reece Conca (21) and Shaun Grigg (21) all had an impact.
Click here to vote for the three best Richmond players from the game
Defender Troy Chaplin's night was soured by what appeared to be a left knee injury late in the game.
Chaplin arrived at Richmond after having issues with his knee at his former club Port Adelaide, but the club hopes he has escaped structural damage.
"Structurally we think he's fine. We've just got to work our way through, whether he twisted his knee or not we're not too sure," Hardwick said.
"He seems to think he'll be fine, but we'll need to get some tests during the week."
The Bulldogs lost their ninth game of the year but offered a glimpse into where they might be headed.
For the first time at AFL level, the club's first four draft picks last year – Jake Stringer, Jack Macrae, Nathan Hrovat and Lachie Hunter – all played together.
Click here to vote for the three best Western Bulldogs players from the game
On debut, Hunter kicked a goal with his second kick, and looked at home across half-forward.
Macrae yelled for the ball and received it through the midfield, Hrovat was assured when he got it and Stringer snapped a brilliant goal in the second quarter after weaving in and out of traffic and making space for himself.
Richmond has built its revival on the back of early draft picks and good development, and although the Bulldogs will be disappointed with the defeat, in many ways they faced a more advanced version of themselves.
"They're not all progressing at the same speed but the four youngsters out there tonight all showed signs they are happy to have the ball in their hand, they know how to play and the first-gamer was terrific."
Jack Riewoldt gets better acquainted with the Etihad Stadium turf. The star forward finished with three goals. Picture: AFL Media
WESTERN BULLDOGS 3.3 5.9 5.11 8.13 (61)
RICHMOND 4.8 8.13 13.16 17.19 (121)
Western Bulldogs: Stringer 2, Cooney, Jones, Hunter, Giansiracusa, Murphy, Boyd
Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Conca 2, Vickery 2, A Edwards, Foley, Houli, Grigg, Martin, White, Jackson, Vlastuin, Cotchin
Western Bulldogs: Griffen, Boyd, Murphy, Macrae, Hunter, Roughead
Richmond: Martin, Conca, Houli, Jackson, Grigg, Riewoldt, Deledio
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Richmond: Troy Chaplin (left knee), David Astbury (hamstring), Nick Vlastuin (shin)
Western Bulldogs: Nathan Hrovat replaced by Daniel Giansiracusa in the third quarter
Richmond: David Astbury replaced by Matt White in the third quarter
Umpires: Margetts, Stewart, Kamolins
Crowd: 29,788 at Etihad Stadium
Follow AFL website reporter Callum Twomey on Twitter at @AFL_CalTwomey