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Five talking points: Richmond v St Kilda

Highlights: Richmond v St Kilda The Tigers and Saints clash in round 22
Richmond's Ben Griffiths celebrates a goal with teammate Jack Riewoldt during the 2014 AFL Round 22 match between the Richmond Tigers and the St Kilda Saints at the MCG, Melbourne on August 24, 2014. (Photo: Greg Ford/AFL Media)
Jack Riewoldt celebrates with Ben Griffiths during the first-quarter onslaught
1. Tigers' finals fate in their own hands
Richmond entered the top eight for the first time in 2014 with its win over St Kilda, but the harsh reality is that they will likely have to defeat the Sydney Swans at ANZ Stadium next Saturday to stay there and play finals. The Tigers are now equal on 11 wins with ninth-placed Collingwood but lead the Pies by a seemingly unassailable 8.4 percentage points. Like the Tigers, the Pies face a tough task next round, taking on reigning premier Hawthorn at the MCG on Friday night. But West Coast (10th) and Adelaide (11th) could still spoil the Tigers' September plans. Both have healthy percentages – the Eagles 114.7 and the Crows 110.2 compared to the Tigers' 105.8 – and would likely go past Richmond if they win and the Tigers lose to the Swans. The Crows will start prohibitive favourites to beat St Kilda at Adelaide Oval next Sunday, while the Eagles take on Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium earlier that day.
 
2. Eight in a row for first time since 1980
The Tigers' win over St Kilda was their eighth consecutive victory, eclipsing the seven straight wins they had at the start of the 1995 season. The last time the Tigers managed this feat was in their most recent flag season, 1980. That year, Richmond won 11 straight games from round four on its way to the premiership. It could be a good omen for the Tigers as they aim to seal a finals spot against the Swans next Saturday. The Tigers have not beaten the Swans in Sydney since round seven, 2004, at the SCG and have only played at their round 23 venue, ANZ Stadium, once, in round 22, 2002. But a win would secure Richmond's first consecutive finals appearance since they played five in a row from 1971-75.

 
3. Jack brings up fifth consecutive 50
Jack Riewoldt might have his detractors, but the Tiger spearhead underlined his consistency by bringing up his fifth consecutive season haul of 50 goals or more. Riewoldt entered Sunday's game on 48 goals for the season and needed only 15 minutes to reach his 'half-century'. Riewoldt added another two goals in the second term, including a 40m around-the-corner set shot reminiscent of Geelong star Steve Johnson. He added two in the second half to finish with six for the game. On a wet evening, it was an outstanding effort.
 
4. Grimes inspires coast-to-coast goal
The Tigers sprung out of the blocks on Sunday afternoon, kicking the first six goals of the game. The last came at the 21-minute mark of the first term and was an example of the Tigers' free-flowing ball movement at its best. It was sparked by defender Dylan Grimes who ran off his opponent to knoc k a loose ball onto a teammate in the middle of the ground and then ran on to mark the ball at half-forward. Grimes hit Jack Riewoldt on the lead, with the Tiger spearhead squaring the ball to Ivan Maric, who was alone in Richmond's goalsquare. Maric fumbled the mark, but got boot to ball to goal from point-blank range. It put the Tigers up 6.0 (36) to 0.2 (2).
 
5. A promising debut for great White hope
Saints fans have been salivating at the prospect of Spencer White making his AFL debut for much of the past two seasons. Taken with the No. 25 in the 2012 national draft, the 196cm forward appealed as a possible successor to all-time Saints great Nick Riewoldt. White finally got his chance on Sunday but endured a tough first half when he was held to just one possession. But the 19-year-old's evening got a lot better from the 23-minute mark of the third term, when he out-bodied veteran defender Troy Chaplin to mark 40m out from goal. White calmly converted that chance and then added another two goals in the final term to finish as the Saints' leading goalkicker. It was enough to suggest he has an AFL future.