1. Stringer steps up as Dogs dodge a bullet
Fears of a Bulldogs let-down after the epic last-gasp triumph over the Sydney Swans were warranted, but like a good side they found a way to win despite playing well below their best. After a quiet first half, Jake Stringer was the match-winner in the final term, slotting three ice-cold goals to ensure the Dogs' top-four hopes remain well and truly on track. It was familiar heartbreak for Richmond fans, with the Tigers again producing some of their best footy once their finals hopes are kaput before falling agonisingly short on Saturday night.
2. Brainfades all round, but Edwards keeps his cool
Elite decision-makers under pressure are worth their weight in gold and never was that more obvious than in a frantic final quarter – for players and umpires. First, Jack Redpath inexplicably played on to snap at goal and missed the lot when he could've taken a set shot from 25m, then Reece Conca tempted fate by taking too long to give the ball back to Marcus Bontempelli and coughed up 50m and the go-ahead goal at the 11-minute mark. Whether it was 50m or not is debatable, but Shane Edwards was rightfully filthy to give away 50m for encroaching on the 10m mark. But Edwards responded, setting up Jack Riewoldt to regain the lead with a brilliant chip kick and clever crumbing goal soon after, even though it wasn't quite enough.
3. Was Jong's selection wrong?
Luke Beveridge said pre-game there were "no dramas" in picking Lin Jong after his nighttime excursion touring Collingwood's facilities was revealed during the week, and the 23-year-old nearly made the perfect start from Alex Rance's horror turnover but pulled his shot wide for the opening behind. However, Jong struggled for most of the night from that point onwards, collecting just four touches to half-time before finishing up with only 13, and you have to wonder where his head was at after such a trying week.
4. The cubs are alright
After conceding Richmond's season was over after the loss to Port, it was time for coach Damien Hardwick to look to the future and in came debutant Oleg Markov, Jason Castagna, Liam McBean and Daniel Rioli among five changes. Markov, the son of world champion pole vaulter Dmitri, looked composed with the footy (18 disposals) and showed some toe sweeping around defence, while Castagna cracked in and snapped a clever goal in the opening term before slotting a team-lifter after half-time. McBean offered a mobile target replacing out-of-form big man Ty Vickery and kicked the first goal of his three-game career under pressure in the fourth quarter. There was certainly enough to like to persist with that trio, while Rioli is a future star who just needs as much experience as possible.
5. Short night for sore Libba
Bulldogs fans will have their fingers crossed for star midfielder Tom Liberatore after he was taken in an ambulance to hospital with a painful rib injury. Just before half-time, Liberatore courageously went back with the flight and copped Jayden Short's knee to the back, leaving the 2014 club champion writhing in pain on the ground. The injury was a huge blow for the Dogs with Liberatore – who missed all of last season due to a knee reconstruction - helping to keep his side in the contest with 13 touches, six tackles and four inside 50s.
Tom Liberatore has been sent to hospital after copping a heavy knock in this marking contest late in the first half. https://t.co/3d5D2SioBc— AFL (@AFL) July 9, 2016