Jack Graham celebrates a goal during the R17 match between Richmond and Sydney at the MCG on July 6, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

TWO STUNNING fourth-quarter goals from Jack Graham has dragged an inaccurate Richmond to a 13-point win over a gallant Sydney at a wet and wild MCG.

The hard-nosed half-forward kicked a bomb from the centre square to draw the Tigers level, before pouncing on a front-and-centre to take the margin out to seven with a minute remaining.

TIGERS v SWANS Full match coverage and stats

It's a crucial bounce-back win for Richmond after a highly disappointing thumping at the hands of Brisbane, the 12.16 (88) to 11.9 (75) victory pushing the Tigers to just two points shy of the top eight.

Conversely, it could be a shattering blow for the Swans, who had a 26-point lead halfway through the second term and were in front until 10 minutes into the fourth quarter, and remain six points adrift of the top half of the ladder.


After an incredibly inaccurate draw against Geelong last week, Sydney kicked three straight goals to open its account. The Swans looked dangerous, linking up through the middle of the ground with ease and recording 55 more disposals in the first quarter as Luke Parker and Ollie Florent ran riot.

In-form Errol Gulden relished the wide wings of the MCG, particularly in the drier and faster conditions early in the game, while lively small forward Tom Papley threated throughout the game.


Shai Bolton and Dustin Martin sprang to life in the second quarter, causing havoc across half-forward with their speed and pressure around the footy.

But while the Tigers' general play was of a much higher standard, Toby Nankervis and Ben Miller both missed straightforward shots late in the quarter, and the Swans maintained an 18-point lead at half-time and looked a class above across the first two quarters.

Liam Baker – the ever-versatile Tiger playing forward – put in his nomination for goal of the year with a fluky soccer major on the goal-line to open the third term, throwing his body parallel with the goal face in order to get a boot to the ball.


It kickstarted a mini-Tiger resurgence as the rain began to tumble, lasting until Isaac Heeney's third sharp goal halfway through the quarter, the star Swan having found plenty of space in attack throughout the game and capitalising on his opportunities.

Despite Richmond's third-term dominance, the Tigers struggled to take their shots, kicking 3.6 in the soggy conditions as the Swans hung tough and capitalised on their few opportunities, with Lewis Melican and Dane Rampe settling things in defence. 

Suspension looming for captain 'Nank'
Co-skipper Toby Nankervis is staring down the barrel of a suspension after being reported for a late and high bump in the second term, which caught Jake Lloyd in the head. A stretcher was called, but Lloyd left the field under his own steam, and he was subsequently subbed off. Lloyd had well and truly handballed the footy by the time Nankervis bumped the Swan, with his shoulder hitting Lloyd's head. Ivan Soldo is in the ruck wings with two VFL games under his belt after a foot injury.


So long, farewell from the 'G (possibly), Bud
The match against Richmond marked Sydney's last scheduled match at the MCG for the year. Outside of a possible finals game, it was likely to be Lance Franklin's final game at the football colosseum where he played so many outstanding games, particularly with former club Hawthorn. Matched up against the inexperienced but impressive Tylar Young for most of the game, Franklin threw his weight around. It didn't all go to plan, but he kicked 2.1 and handed one off to Will Hayward, and he provided a key target throughout.

Lance Franklin celebrates a goal during the R17 clash between Sydney and Richmond at the MCG on July 6, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Debutant dream to nightmare for Bauer
Jacob Bauer had a lovely second kick at AFL level, hitting up Dion Prestia inside 50. Unfortunately, he also injured his hamstring in the same kicking motion, instantly grabbing the back of his leg. He headed down the race for some treatment, but Richmond pulled the sub lever fairly quickly, inserting Jack Ross into the game, leaving Bauer with just three per cent game time on debut. Ross – who was unlucky to be pushed to sub in the first place – had an outstanding game on the wing.

Jacob Bauer looks on after being subbed off during the R17 match between Richmond and Sydney at the MCG on July 6, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos


RICHMOND     2.1     5.6     8.12     12.16     (88)
           4.4     8.6     10.8     11.9     (75)

Richmond: Ross 2, Graham 2, Miller, Pickett, Cotchin, Baker, Nankervis, Vlastuin, Riewoldt, Martin
Sydney: Heeney 3, McInerney 2, Hayward 2, Franklin 2, Gulden, Papley

Richmond: Bolton, Taranto, Martin, Young, Ross, Nankervis
Sydney: Florent, Gulden, Parker, Rowbottom, Heeney, Rampe 

Richmond: Bauer (hamstring)
Sydney: Lloyd (concussion)

Richmond: Jack Ross (replaced Bauer in the first quarter)
Sydney: Aaron Francis (replaced Lloyd in the second quarter)

Crowd: 48,443 at the MCG