Jack Riewoldt hit the scoreboard early and often for the Tigers
A SEVEN-GOAL haul from Jack Riewoldt has seen Richmond outlast St Kilda by 17 points at the MCG on Friday night.
Richmond's 14.15 (99) to 12.10 (82) victory saw the club win its opening two games of the season for the first time since 1997, with the Saints falling to 0-2 with the loss.
Five talking points: St Kilda v Richmond
Richmond did not relinquish the lead after Riewoldt goaled to put the Tigers a point up at the five-minute mark of the first quarter, but try as they might, they could never quite put the Saints away.
Several times Richmond got out to leads of up to four goals in the first three quarters only for the Saints to hit back.
When St Kilda small forward Ahmed Saad coolly slotted a set shot from the boundary at the five-minute mark of the last quarter, the Saints were back within four points.
Riewoldt then stepped up to settle the Tigers six minutes later when he kicked his seventh goal to give the Tigers a 10-point advantage, and despite continuing to mount attack after attack the Saints were never able to get closer than that.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said his on-field leaders had helped swing the game the Tigers' way in the final term.
"I thought (Trent) Cotchin, (Brett) Deledio, Riewoldt, all our leaders were huge in the last quarter and got the game back on our terms a little bit," Hardwick said.
Tigers can get better: Hardwick
After a goalless game against Carlton last week, Riewoldt was outstanding. The spearhead had an able sidekick, especially in the first half, in defender-turned-forward Luke McGuane, who kicked two goals.
The Saints largely relied on small forwards Terry Milera and Saad to give them a spark in the first half.
However, St Kilda skipper Nick Riewoldt (four goals), who did a lot of his work up the field early in the game, eventually started to stay closer to goal, kicking three majors in the third quarter to drag the Saints back to within 11 points at three-quarter time.
Dustin Martin was superb through the middle for the Tigers, especially in the first half, often working back to drive Richmond out of defence.
After being held to nine possessions by Clint Jones in the first half, Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin was prolific in the second half and finished with 31 touches, while defender Steven Morris kept Stephen Milne on a short leash while cutting off several Saints' attacks in the frantic final quarter.
Ben McEvoy was tireless for the Saints, outpointing 100-gamer Ivan Maric in the ruck, and working back hard to support the Saints' undersized defence.
Leigh Montagna was good in his first game for the Saints this season and with Nick Dal Santo and Lenny Hayes in particular helped St Kilda dominate the centre clearances 19-9, a stat not lost on Hardwick after the game.
"You lose [the centre clearances] by that amount, that's 10 inside 50s against you straight away," Hardwick said.
"It wasn't one of our better nights in there, we've certainly got some things to work on in that regard."
Saints coach Scott Watters was proud of his teams' effort after the match, which he said was typified by Sean Dempster's effort to play with a broken wrist from midway through the second quarter.
Saints need new blood
However, Watters said his team lacked polish and indicated he would look to blood new players who could improve the Saints' skill level.
"I think we've got to rejuvenate certain areas of our side," Watters said.
"We can't accept the same mistakes whether they be skill errors or efficiency.
"So ultimately every player needs to be held accountable for your performance.
"And if you fail to deliver – and it's not a threat, it's just selection – someone will get an opportunity and they'll get a chance to actually come in and fulfil the role."
Remarkably, it was back in Robert Walls' last season as coach 16 years ago that the Tigers last won their first two games of the season, but the Richmond of 2013 should better the 13th-place finish of that 1997 side.
After losing to Gold Coast last Saturday night, the Saints' 0-2 start to the season is their worst since 2000, when they finished as wooden-spooners.
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Tiger debutant Ricky Petterd cops a spray after Richmond started a season with back-to-back wins for the first time since 1997. Picture: AFL Media
RICHMOND 4.5 8.10 12.12 14.15 (99)
ST KILDA 3.1 6.6 11.7 12.10 (82)
Riewoldt 7, McGuane 2, Conca, Newman, Maric, King, Vickery
Riewoldt 4, Maister 2, Saad 2, Gilbert, McEvoy, Stanley, Milne
Riewoldt, Morris, Cotchin, Deledio, McGuane, Martin, Grimes
McEvoy, Riewoldt, Dal Santo, Montagna, Hayes, Saad
Dempster (broken wrist)
Brandon Ellis replaced Tyrone Vickery in the fourth quarter
Adam Schneider replaced Arryn Siposs in the third quarter
Donlon, Foot, Mollison
56,783 at the MCG