HOW DO you show you're not done yet? You go out and comfortably beat last year's Grand Finalists.
After a week of obituaries for Richmond's premiership era following a shaky start to the season, the Tigers got their campaign motoring with a 38-point win over the Western Bulldogs on Saturday night.
In doing so, the Tigers achieved two things: answering some of the questions on their own form and exposing more for their depleted opponents, whose first month of the season has been a shadow of their top 2021 form.
TIGERS V BULLDOGS Full match details and stats
The Dogs will again rue a woefully poor conversion rate around goal that has been as costly as it has been consistent so far this season, as Richmond ran away to its 15.8 (99) to 7.19 (61) win at the MCG.
The Tigers aren't the dominant force of their triple-flag era, but have enough weapons across the ground to always be a threat and leveled their season at 2-2 via standout performances from stars Tom Lynch (four goals) and Jayden Short (36 disposals, one goal).
While Richmond was terrific, the Dogs' defeat was also some way self-inflicted: their inefficiency in front of goal was costly and they couldn't capitalise on their dominant periods in the first half.
Bailey Smith was the Dogs' best with 36 disposals in a consistent midfield display and Marcus Bontempelli (33 and a goal) was also important, but ultimately the Dogs' lack of polish around goal hurt and they conceded eight goals to three after half-time.
The Dogs started the night with the yips in front of goal, kicking seven behinds in the opening term in a deluge of opportunities. But it was only a clever right-foot snap from Aaron Naughton in the final seconds of the quarter which handed them a five-point break at the first change.
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Although wasteful the Bulldogs were clearly the dominant team, powered by Smith's 12-disposal performance through the midfield.
But the Tigers tightened the screws in the second term. Marlion Pickett goaled early in the quarter, then Jason Castagna and Dion Prestia were beneficiaries of 50-metre penalties. When Lynch marked strongly and converted his shot close to goal, Richmond had jumped to an 18-point lead.
After missing a set shot, Naughton then curled through another snap on his non-preferred right foot to help cut the Dogs' deficit to 11 points at half-time.
Bontempelli's goal in the first two minutes of the third term saw the difference drop to five points, but Richmond kept responding in the arm wrestle. There was Lynch's opening goal after Liam Baker's tough intercept, then Shai Bolton's sensational, freakish goal from the boundary line and then another from Lynch, who enjoyed his best game of 2022 so far.
But there was more to come, with Jack Riewoldt kicking the final two goals of the term – the second an ugly but effective tumbling torpedo that just got over the line to hand the Tigers a 24-point break at three-quarter time.
With their last-quarter fadeout against St Kilda in round three fresh in the mind, Richmond afforded the Dogs no such chances this time around.
Richmond game-changer Shai Bolton collected the mark of the year last season and could be on his way to the goal of the year in 2022 after his magnificent effort against the Dogs. Midway through the third quarter, Bolton intercepted Bailey Smith's handball, cut through traffic, weaved through potential trouble and pinned himself up against the boundary line. On his non-preferred left foot, Bolton's drop punt curved through perfectly on a near-impossible angle. If there are any better goals kicked in 2022, we're looking forward to seeing them.
Dogs' accuracy woes continue
It was another week of frustrations for the Bulldogs in front of goal. Since their accurate start to the season in round one, when they kicked 11.5 against Melbourne, the Dogs have booted 28.48 in the past three weeks. It was especially costly early against the Tigers, with their 1.7 start to the night missing a chance to get the upper hand and make the most of their dominance.
Bulldogs' troubles with stand rule
The Bulldogs were on the wrong end of two 50-metre penalties within a minute in the second quarter for infringements on the mark. The first was paid against defender Bailey Williams, who was judged to have gone off his line after a free kick was paid to Jason Castagna. Castagna calmly slotted the goal to put the Tigers six points ahead. Then, essentially the next play, Dion Prestia had the ball at half-forward when Aaron Naughton moved off his mark before he was called by the umpire and gave away a second successive 50-metre penalty. Prestia slotted the goal at a pivotal time of the game.
RICHMOND 2.2 7.3 12.5 15.9 (99)
WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.7 4.10 6.17 7.19 (61)
Richmond: Lynch 4, Bolton 2, Riewoldt 2, Castagna, Dow, Nankervis, Parker, Pickett, Prestia, Short
Western Bulldogs: Naughton 2, Bontempelli, English, Macrae, Treloar, Vandermeer
Richmond: Short, Lynch, Prestia, Rioli, Bolton, Pickett
Western Bulldogs: Smith, Macrae, Dale, Bontempelli, Dunkley, Naughton
Western Bulldogs: Vandermeer (hamstring tightness), Anthony Scott (head)
Richmond: Jack Ross (unused)
Western Bulldogs: Mitch Wallis (replaced Vandermeer in the third quarter)