Tim Taranto and teammates celebrate a goal during the round 13 Fremantle and Richmond clash at Optus Stadium on June 10, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

RICHMOND has launched a revival under new coach Andrew McQualter, travelling to Optus Stadium and knocking over a red-hot Fremantle by 15 points to breathe new life into its season.

The Tigers built an early lead and then saw off a spirited fightback from the Dockers, thriving in the slippery conditions to win 12.13 (85) to 10.10 (70) and secure back-to-back wins on the road.

They were made to fight their way right to the end, with brilliant midfielder Shai Bolton kicking the Tigers' only goal of the final term with nine seconds to play after the Dockers cut the margin to seven points early in the quarter.

DOCKERS v TIGERS Full match coverage and stats

The home team could not get the crucial goal it needed to move within final striking distance, however, with Ethan Hughes' long bomb late in the quarter shaving the post before a tense goal review. 

Trailing by 36 points late in the third quarter, the Dockers had all the momentum late in the game and kicked six of the last eight goals after being ignited by veterans Michael Walters and Nat Fyfe.


It was fitting, however, that Bolton closed the match with his goal after a masterful performance in the conditions, using his skill and speed to surge the Tigers forward all night with 33 disposals and 11 inside 50s.

The West Australian didn't come to the bench at all in the final quarter as he amassed 14 disposals and six inside 50s, showing a knack to repeatedly get free on the outside and use his pace.

Midfield recruit Tim Taranto was also excellent, doing his best work in the first half to set up the Tigers' early lead and giving them a crucial edge at the coalface with 35 disposals, seven clearances and two goals.


Overall, the Tigers were defensively organised, executed the basics consistently under pressure, and then attacked with speed when they had the opportunity.

Fremantle will rue its inability to handle the wet conditions when rain set in, overusing the ball at times and making some poor decisions coming out of the backline.

A chance to move into the top eight was lost, with the Dockers' four-game winning run now over, having lost the contested ball (150-138) and clearances (47-40) for the first time in weeks.


Richmond gave Fremantle an early lesson in taking your chances, weathering the Dockers' early momentum – which yielded just one goal from nine inside 50s – before pouncing.

The Tigers kicked four unanswered goals when they had their turn on top, with long-kicking defender Jayden Short's back-to-back bombs from outside 50m the highlight.

After Taranto snapped accurately out of congestion – adding a goal to his 12 first-quarter disposals – the Tigers had an 18-point lead at the first break and a blueprint to victory.


Executing the basics and being too cute with the ball had let Fremantle down in the first quarter and they adjusted to an extent in the second, looking to surge the ball forward when there were opportunities.

Back-to-back goals from Jye Amiss, including one after a brilliant contested mark, cut the margin to 11 points as heavy rain started to fall, but the Tigers were still enjoying an edge in the groundball battle.


Taranto has a habit of thriving in the wet and he showed what was required late in the quarter when he kept his feet as others tumbled, kicking his second goal off the ground.

A 15-point half-time lead looked like only growing as they booted four unanswered goals to launch the third term.

But Fremantle then made its move, with Fyfe kicking a magical goal from the pocket on his right foot and substitute Walters adding back-to-back goals either side of three-quarter time.


The early failings were too much to overcome, however, as Richmond secured a significant win that will do plenty for the team's belief under a new coach.

A Tiger great
It was fitting that triple-premiership teammate Dustin Martin was the one to launch the ball inside 50 for Jack Riewoldt's 778th goal, which moved the veteran equal with VFL/AFL legend Kevin Bartlett on the Tigers' all-time goalkicking list. A three-time Coleman medallist and 11-time leading goalkicker at his club, Riewoldt now sits behind Jack Titus (970 goals) and Matthew Richardson (800), with the 34-year-old a chance to catch the latter by the end of the season. Riewoldt had a close battle with Alex Pearce on Saturday night, finishing with two goals that were both delivered by Martin.

Jack Riewoldt celebrates a goal during the round 13 clash between Fremantle and Richmond at Optus Stadium on June 10, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Short goes long 
In a game of fine margins, Jayden Short's long-range efforts were critical. One of the best kicks in the AFL, the defender pressed up to kick his first goal from a 55m set shot and then his second off a couple of steps from outside the arc as Bailey Banfield applied pressure three minutes later. It was a brilliant cameo, but the 27-year-old wasn't done. Early in the third quarter, he marked Luke Jackson's clearing kick and converted from close to 60m out. A small forward early in his career, his return on Saturday night equalled his career-best. 

Rucks go their own way
With No.1 big man Sean Darcy watching on with a hamstring injury, the stage was set for Luke Jackson to make the role his own for a night against Toby Nankervis. Two different ruckmen, they each found a way to have a big impact. Nankervis controlled around-the-ground stoppages while Jackson got dangerous in general play with 23 disposals. The young Docker made a habit of getting free inside 50 but wasted a golden opportunity in the third quarter from close range. Inaccuracy and Nankervis' weight of numbers meant the big Tiger took the points in an entertaining battle.

Toby Nankervis in action during the round 13 clash between Fremantle and Richmond at Optus Stadium on June 10, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos


FREMANTLE    1.3    4.4      8.9     10.10 (70)
RICHMOND     4.3    6.7    11.10    12.13 (85)

Fremantle: Amiss 4, Walters 2, Treacy, Sturt, Fyfe, Brayshaw
Richmond: Short 3, Taranto 2, Riewoldt 2, Ross, Nankervis, Mansell, Clarke

Fremantle: Serong, Amiss, Brayshaw, Aish, Johnson, Jackson
Richmond: Bolton, Taranto, Nankervis, Martin, Short, Cotchin, Prestia

Fremantle: Aish (concussion)
Richmond: Nil

Fremantle: Michael Walters (replaced Bailey Banfield in the third quarter) 
Richmond: Hugo Ralphsmith (replaced Tylar Young in the fourth quarter) 

Crowd: 46,843 at Optus Stadium