IF YOU needed any convincing Richmond is primed for back-to-back premierships, this was it.
The Tigers entered Thursday night's clash with the red-hot West Coast with a point to prove and it was emphatic: a 27-point win in a high-scoring show of strength.
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In doing so the Tigers ended the Eagles' eight-game winning streak and picked up an edge ahead of a potential finals match-up later this season.
The 14.3 (87) to 9.7 (61) win was built in the third term when the Tigers piled on six goals to extend their lead from six points at half-time to 14 at the final change.
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The Eagles continued to challenge, but without injured star Josh Kennedy (concussion) from early in the game, West Coast was unable to ever take control. In a heavyweight battle, the Eagles hung on but never landed any punches of their own.
Richmond's depth was again on show as the Tigers continue to revitalise their group on the run ahead of another finals series.
Without premiership stars Dion Prestia, Shane Edwards and David Astbury, and then losing Dylan Grimes to a hamstring strain, the Tigers were lifted by the likes of Jack Graham (16 disposals and a goal), Jason Castagna (16) and first-gamer Thomson Dow (12) also impressed.
Trent Cotchin (26 disposals) was excellent in the midfield battle, while Ivan Soldo and Toby Nankervis won the ruck battle against Nic Naitanui.
West Coast, perhaps due a down game after a brilliant run of form, will be hoping it can quickly recapture its mojo having now lost four of its six games in Queensland this year.
Kennedy's nasty blow
Josh Kennedy was on the receiving end of Noah Balta's youthful exuberance and athleticism when Balta's knee cannoned into Kennedy's head in the first quarter in a wild marking attempt. Kennedy took his free kick and played on, but shortly after left the field groggily with the help of trainers with concussion symptoms. The champion goalkicker was ruled out of the rest of the game. The Eagles remained in touching distance without their star forward, with Jack Darling booting three goals, including the 400th of his career, and Liam Ryan also kicking three. First-gamer Bailey Williams competed well and showed his exciting traits at stages.
Martin's moment of magic
There aren't many better kicks for goal from the boundary line than Dustin Martin and he proved that again on Thursday night. After a messy kick inside 50 in the third term that was spoiled by the Eagles, the Tigers kept on pressing and pushed forward until West Coast defender Jarrod Brander kicked out on the full. Pinned up against the fence, Martin never looked fussed, calmly and comfortably slotting a clever checkside goal without any sense of fuss or trouble. Martin was busy again against the Eagles as he fires up for another tilt at a big finals series.
The Lynch mob
West Coast fans have obviously been paying close attention to Tom Lynch's recent run-ins with the AFL rules. After his two striking fines in round 12, Lynch this week was sent to the AFL Tribunal for a strike against Michael Hurley, but was cleared to face the Eagles. Their fans at Metricon Stadium made it clear they weren't pleased with that decision. Lynch had the first set shot at goal in the opening minutes and was greeted by loud boos around the ground. His long kick sailed through in an impressive start, and he kicked another in the second term. Lynch finished with three goals in an efficient outing spearheading Richmond's attack.
RICHMOND 1.1 5.2 11.2 14.4 (88)
WEST COAST 1.0 4.2 8.6 9.7 (61)
Richmond: Lynch 3, Martin 2, Aarts, Balta, Bolton, Castagna, Graham, Nankervis, Riewoldt, Rioli, Soldo
West Coast: Darling 3, Ryan 3, Cripps, Kelly, Naitanui
Richmond: Cotchin, Houli, Balta, Martin, Castagna, Bolton
West Coast: Kelly, Gaff, Ryan, Darling, Shuey, Sheed
Richmond: Grimes (hamstring)
West Coast: Kennedy (concussion)