Main content

Axed Tiger shines in heartbreaking VFL loss

Brandon Ellis (right) walks off the field after Richmond's VFL loss to Essendon - AFL,Richmond Tigers,Brandon Ellis
Brandon Ellis (right) walks off the field after Richmond's VFL loss to Essendon

BRANDON Ellis was in Richmond's best in the Tigers' heartbreaking five-point semi-final loss to Essendon in the VFL.

The running defender, who was omitted from the Tigers' senior side for Thursday night's qualifying final win, put his name up for a preliminary final recall with 24 disposals and three marks.

He also spent time on the wing but wouldn't want to watch back the final minute of the match, failing to nail a tackle on VFL Bomber Nick Hind in the middle of the ground. It saw Hind break away and kick to James Stewart, who won the game with the resultant set shot. 

 

"I thought he was really important, particularly late in the game when the pressure was at its highest, he was the one standing up," Richmond's VFL coach Craig McRae said. 

"He was stiff to miss out on an AFL opportunity. If something presents, he'll be ready for it, I'm sure." 

Classy small forward Dan Butler didn't play after pulling up sore from his first match back from ankle syndesmosis surgery last week.

"They thought just an extra week's rest to get rid of any soreness, then he can build up again. He would have been available to play next week, but we don't have a game," McRae said.

Richmond's AFL side didn't record any major injuries after its win over Hawthorn, and as it stands two weeks out from the match, will only make changes based on form, rather than injury.

Pacy midfielder Connor Menadue could come under consideration if needed, topping the combined stats sheet with 26 touches, eight marks and two goals. 

 

Sam Lloyd (18 disposals and eight tackles) had a quieter day by his VFL standards, while Corey Ellis (23) played predominantly in the middle. 

Forward Callum Moore (two goals and five marks) worked hard, presenting well up the ground, while Oleg Markov (15 touches) was quick off half-back. 

Key back Ryan Garthwaite, who will be first in line for a game if there's any injury to Richmond's defenders, battled hard, finishing the match in tears after the last-gasp loss.

The Bombers, who finished eighth at the end of the home and away season, had been the better side for most of the see-sawing affair at North Port Oval.

Richmond was the minor premier but has crashed out in straight sets after last week's qualifying loss to Williamstown. 

"We've had a really good year, but just probably the last two or three weeks, we've lost our way a little bit compared to what we were doing at the start of the year," McRae said. 

"We've got a lot of young players who were looking a little bit towards the end line. Credit to the opposition, I thought they were terrific. For a team who hasn't had their AFL guys available or training with them, they've done a good job, they played really well."