RICHMOND has come from behind to secure its third fightback win this season, defeating Carlton by just seven points at Ikon Park.
But the 7.5 (47) to 6.4 (40) win may have come at a cost, with number one ruck Gab Seymour limping off in the final seconds of the game.
Coach Ryan Ferguson said Seymour had received a knock to her leg in a similar position as an incident earlier this season, and the hope was it would settle just as quickly.
Caitlin Greiser pounced on a scrappy contest to snap truly eight minutes into the fourth term to take the lead, and Stella Reid followed two minutes later, the Tigers finally capitalising on some momentum.
After a lively start, Richmond was held scoreless in the second quarter, and to four points in a very scrappy third term as Carlton dialled up the pressure.
The Tigers pressed hard in that quarter, but looked unsettled in attack, struggling to find a clear path to goal and over-possessing the footy in an attempt to force a mark closer to the big sticks.
Carlton had its own period of over-handling the ball in the first half, but its tackling in the contest was first class, coughing up turnovers and capitalising on the scoreboard.
BLUES v TIGERS Full match coverage and stats
Richmond defensive general Bec Miller was a late withdrawal due to a finger injury, and Carlton took full advantage, keeping ruck Breann Moody (two goals) deep for large portions of the game.
It's been a hit and miss strategy this year, but with the Blues winning plenty of the footy across the middle of the game – Keeley Sherar (27 disposals), Mimi Hill (24) and Keeley Skepper (20) – it was one that paid off against the Tigers.
She was the beneficiary of a confused downfield free kick that took some time for the umpires to decide upon, but there were no questions about the resultant set shot goal, kicked from 45m on a sharp angle.
Theoretically, Richmond should have had too much speed and class on the outside, but were sucked into a contested footy game for the middle two quarters, a style which Carlton has proven to be its main strength this year.
The Blues had managed to overhaul a 16-point Tigers lead, jumping out to a seven-point advantage after Moody's second halfway in the third quarter, but were overrun as the game progressed.
Returning Carlton skipper Kerryn Peterson immediately added a layer of stability to Carlton's backline after missing the first three rounds with a knee injury, her pace proving too much at ground level for Tigers forwards Poppy Kelly and Caitlin Greiser in the first term.
Play was stopped after Amelia Velardo suffered a heavy knock in the second term, clashing heads with Jemima Woods, a lump immediately swelling up on her forehead.
She passed a concussion test and returned in the third term with a heavily bandaged head.
Mon Conti racked up another 30 touches, while Grace Egan provided plenty of grunt around the contest in a best-afield performance.
Skipper v skipper
Katie Brennan's first goal just bounced over the goal-line before returning into play, but those few millimetres were all that was needed, and her second sent alarm bells through the Carlton coach's box. Peterson was swung on to Brennan in a tighter defensive role, meaning a rare skipper v skipper battle. Brennan found life much harder, having to push high up the ground, a win for the intercepting Peterson. The Tiger got the early goals, but the Blue came away with the chocolates in their one-on-one battle.
Richmond tough it out, again
With fresh AFL men's coach Adem Yze in attendance, the Tigers showed they shouldn't be written off when down in matches this year, coming from behind in the second half to secure a win for the third time this season. Richmond overran Brisbane in the final quarter of round one, the Giants in the third term of round three and now Carlton in the last quarter of round four. They were truly outclassed by Adelaide in round two, but at 3-1, are in a good spot to push for finals again.
These two sides will be part of a double-header at Ikon Park on Friday as part of the Victorian public holiday on the AFL Grand Final eve. Richmond will host Fremantle at 1.05pm AEST, followed by Carlton playing Sydney at 4.05pm AEST.
CARLTON 2.2 4.3 5.3 6.4 (40)
RICHMOND 4.1 4.1 4.5 7.5 (47)
Carlton: Moody 2, Austin 2, McKay, McWilliams
Richmond: Brennan 2, Macdonald, Yassir, Greiser, Reid, Jones
Carlton: Sherar, Peterson, McKay, Moody, Hill, Skepper
Richmond: Egan, Conti, Dempsey, Sheerin, Seymour
Richmond: Seymour (lower leg)
Richmond: Bec Miller (finger), replaced in selected side by Jemima Woods
Crowd: 2,304 at IKON Park