Richmond is rolling and 4-0 for the first time since 1995, creating an ideal platform to qualify for finals after a horror 2016. A new attacking game style is working and personnel and role changes over the off-season have proved inspired. But how long will it last? And is this a false dawn for the Tigers, who it must be said have beaten three bottom eight teams from 2016 in their four wins? The Anzac Day eve clash against Melbourne will provide some answers, and we will have a good idea of Richmond's credentials in the two weeks that follow, with clashes against Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs. Melbourne is similarly trying to establish itself as a top-eight team, but the two-point loss to Fremantle was a poor slip-up, with a seven-goals-to-none third quarter exposing their weaknesses. The 2-2 Demons will be out to produce four quarters of their best football – something they haven't been able to do in the past fortnight – and they will push Richmond if they can do that.
WHERE AND WHEN: MCG, Monday, April 24, 7.25pm AEST
TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide
LAST FIVE TIMES
R5, 2016, Melbourne 20.9 (129) d Richmond 14.12 (96) at the MCG
R4, 2015, Melbourne 12.11 (83) d Richmond 6.15 (51) at the MCG
R9, 2014, Melbourne 14.7 (91) d Richmond 9.20 (74) at the MCG
R8, 2013, Richmond 15.16 (106) d Melbourne 11.6 (72) at the MCG
R15, 2012, Richmond 13.23 (101) d Melbourne 11.12 (78) at the MCG
THE SIX POINTS
1. Melbourne star Max Gawn, who will be missing on Monday night with a hamstring injury, was the difference the last time these sides met, collecting three Brownlow votes and dominating the ruck with 47 hit-outs and four clearances.
2. There is a big contrast in how these teams have played this season. The Demons are ranked second for disposals (averaging 418.5 a game), compared to the Tigers, who rank 16th (356 a game).
3. There is also a big difference between how the Tigers of 2017 and the Tigers of 2016 play. Richmond leads the AFL for long kicks (it ranked 10th last year), and it ranks 18th for kicks backwards (it ranked seventh last year).
4. Richmond will be looking for five consecutive wins to start the season for the first time since 1995. Melbourne will be hoping to be 3-2 after five games for the first time since 2010.
5. Melbourne has won the past three clashes between these sides, ending Richmond’s run of four consecutive wins. The Demons haven’t won four in a row over the Tigers since 2004-06.
6. After two years in decline in the Schick AFL Player Ratings, Richmond defender Reece Conca is fit and climbing back up. He started the season at No.589 overall and has moved 72 places to No.517.
IT'S A BIG WEEK FOR … Jesse Hogan.
The young Melbourne star let his team down by striking Carlton's Sam Rowe off the ball in round two, earning himself a two-match suspension. He then travelled to Perth for time off and was filmed smoking a cigarette at a music festival, which the club said was not a good look. He is available for the Anzac Eve game and the Demons need to see a response from him, not only to get him back on track but to give themselves the best chance of knocking off the favoured Tigers.
PREDICTION: Richmond by six points