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Demons snap unwanted five-year streak to inflict further pain for Tigers

Highlights: Melbourne v Richmond The Demons and Tigers clash in round five
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 24: Tomas Bugg of the Demons gestures to Tigers supporters in the crowd as he celebrates after kicking a goal during the 2016 AFL Round 05 match between the Melbourne Demons and the Richmond Tigers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne on April 24, 2016. (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media)
Tomas Bugg silences the Tigers faithful

MELBOURNE has won consecutive matches for the first time since 2011, inflicting another severe dent into Richmond's already spluttering season, as it powered to a 33-point win at the MCG on Sunday night.

A herculean performance from Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn set the scene for the Demons' victory on Anzac Day eve as the ruckman continued his supreme run of form in front of 59,968 fans.

At half-time, the Melbourne big man had already kicked two goals, he had taken five marks, he had racked up 26 hit-outs and he had chalked up 102 AFL Fantasy points.

By the end of the night, the bearded behemoth was the match-winner for Melbourne, steering it to a 20.9 (129) to 14.12 (96) victory.

Dom Tyson, who missed six games in 2015 due to separate knee and hamstring injuries, played his best game in a long while on his way to 31 disposals, five clearances and two goals.

Jack Viney had 23 contested possessions, a Melbourne record, and 37 touches all-up, while Jeff Garlett, returning from an ankle injury that had kept him out for the past two matches, was his lively self with four goals.

The Demons dominated proceedings for almost the entire night, but their control of the match did not transfer absolutely onto the scoreboard.

Melbourne's work-rate and preparedness to run and create was on full display, leading the disposal count (412-333), uncontested marks (69-40) and uncontested possessions (86-53).

Melbourne coach Paul Roos praised his players for bringing the right mindset to the contest.

"We're probably still not quite getting the balance right, we're up and down a bit but that's the nature of when you're trying to bring an offensive game style in, you lose a bit of defence," Roos said.

"It's really pleasing that when we made mistakes and they kicked a couple of goals we steadied."

Despite its struggles and the fact it trailed at every change, Richmond managed to hang in the game and was able to capitalise on Melbourne errors at the right times.

Thanks largely to the efforts of Tigers spearhead Jack Riewoldt, who had 10 disposals and kicked two majors in the third quarter, Richmond trailed by just 16 points the final change.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said the Tigers needed to find answers to their problems, and quickly.

"I thought they looked a class above us tonight," Hardwick said.

"We've got some work to do, we just couldn't bridge the gap. We probably had enough inside 50s but our ball use across the arcs was not quite to the level of the opposition."

An ankle injury to the Tigers forward in the final term slowed the Tigers' momentum, although skipper Trent Cotchin could also hold his head high, as he constantly burrowed into packs for his 31 touches.

The same could not be said for Tigers defender Alex Rance, whose cheap shot on Demons forward Jack Watts will potentially earn him a holiday after the Match Review Panel cast their eye over the incident.

The strike to the back of the head, while Watts was lying on the ground, sparked the second melee of the night following on from the all in brawl at quarter-time.


The aforementioned full-scale fracas – reminiscent of the scuffle between Port Adelaide and Geelong on Saturday night – spilled into the Tigers' huddle after the siren sounded to signal quarter-time, sending coaching and conditioning staff scampering.

However, it was Melbourne who had the last laugh as it demonstrated a newfound mental edge to rid itself of the long-standing monkey on its back.


Melbourne: Melbourne suffered a scare when Jack Watts appeared to tweak his back in the warm-up, but the forward played out the game and did not appear to be hampered by the injury. Christian Salem was spotted with an ice pack on his upper leg after the game after coming off the ground in the final term.

Richmond: Richmond forward Jack Riewoldt injured his left ankle in the final term and had his foot in an ice bucket in the Tigers' rooms after the game. Brett Deledio, a late withdrawal for Sunday night's match, was "touch and go" to play according to Damien Hardwick. The star Tiger has not played a game this season due to an ongoing quad complaint.

With back-to-back wins under their belt, the Demons will fancy their chances against St Kilda at Etihad Stadium. However, Melbourne has won just one game at the venue (round 23 last year against Greater Western Sydney) since round 19, 2007. Slumping to 1-4, the Tigers do battle with fellow embattled side Port Adelaide at the MCG next Saturday night. 

Bernie Vince slots one of his three goals against the Tigers. Photo: AFL Media

MELBOURNE   5.1   11.3   14.7   20.9 (129)
RICHMOND      2.3    7.5    11.9   14.12 (96) 


Melbourne: Garlett 4, Vince 3, Watts 3, Tyson 2, Gawn 2, Brayshaw, Bugg, Salem, Harmes, Frost, Kent
Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Lloyd 3, Vickery 3, Edwards, Chaplin, Martin, Ellis, Miles 


Melbourne: Gawn, Viney, Tyson, Salem, Kent, Jones, Garlett
Richmond: Cotchin, Miles, Riewoldt, Edwards 


Melbourne: Nil
Richmond: Brett Deledio (quad) replaced in the side by Jacob Townsend, Jack Riewoldt (ankle)

Reports: Alex Rance (Richmond) for striking Jack Watts (Melbourne) in the fourth quarter

Umpires: Stevic, Stephens, Chamberlain

Official crowd: 59,968 at the MCG