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Match report: Tigers stake top-four claim

Highlights: Port Adelaide v Richmond The Power and Tigers clash in round 15
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 01: Dustin Martin (led) and Dan Butler of the Tigers celebrate during the 2017 AFL round 15 match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Richmond Tigers at Adelaide Oval on July 01, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Dustin Martin and Dan Butler celebrate on Saturday night

NOT all games need to be clean, crisp, high-scoring contests to be entertaining.

What the 39,979 people witnessed at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night was frantic, messy and full of mistakes, interwoven with moments of brilliance.

Richmond supporters won't care. Nor should they.

Full match coverage and stats

In the end, the Tigers stood up under intense pressure to grab a huge scalp and move up to fourth on the ladder.

On the back of an outstanding performance from Brownlow Medal contender Dustin Martin, the Tigers produced a huge second half to defeat Port Adelaide by 13 points – 11.10 (76) to 8.15 (63).

Dan Butler chimed in with three goals straight, including a brilliant run and carry through the middle of the ground that will be among the contenders for goal of the round.

His final major in the last quarter put the Tigers up by 19 points mid-way through the last quarter. 

The Tigers (9-5) booted eight goals to three in the second half, and six straight goals in the third and fourth quarters, en route to their fourth win from their past five.

"It was pretty special," Tigers coach Damien Hardwick said of the win.

"We didn't play particularly well, I thought every player had a really big moment at every stage and I hope our fans back home are really proud of the players, I thought they showed enormous heart.

"We were under siege, especially in a period in the second quarter and the players just fought it out.

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"We had to find a different way to win.

"Our game wasn't spot on tonight, either was Port Adelaide's, I was really proud of how the players fought it out and managed to get the four points, it's a really big win over here, there's no doubt."

For the Power (8-6), yet another loss against a top-eight side will continue talk about their flat-track bully reputation.

"Our conversion tonight was our biggest issue," Power coach Ken Hinkley said of his sides waywardness in front of goal.

"It has been more than a couple times this year.

"If we're being really honest, that's the thing stopping us from making the next step, stopping us beating the sides we need to beat to be a genuine threat in the competition."

Martin ran riot in the midfield with 37 possessions while also kicking a clutch goal in the third term.

A goal from midfield bull Sam Powell-Pepper gave the Power a sniff, but Jayden Short sealed the result for the Tigers.

Kane Lambert (33 disposals), Dion Prestia (24) and Brandon Ellis (29) were busy, while debutant Tyson Stengle kicked a couple of crucial goals.

Chad Wingard was a standout for the Power, racking up 39 touches in the midfield, while Powell-Pepper must surely have enhanced his chances for the NAB Rising Star with another brilliant game (24 disposals and two goals).

Power star Robbie Gray was held to just 1.3 and 14 possessions after a match-turning five goals against Collingwood last week.

Jackson Trengove played as a defensive forward with his sole task consisting of shutting down Alex Rance.

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Trengove applied physical pressure to Rance at every opportunity and didn't allow the dynamic defender any space.

Rance was quiet in the first half, but the All Australian showed his class to exert himself on the contest when the game was up for grabs, finishing with 19 possessions.

Power defender Hamish Hartlett picked up a quad injury in the third quarter and didn't return to the game.

The Power led 1.6 (12) to 1.4 (10) at quarter-time, but the Tigers hit the front when Sam Lloyd converted truly from right in front.

Small forward Jake Neade – a late inclusion for key defender Jack Hombsch with a knee injury – was superb with his chasing and pressure.

After wasting plenty of opportunities, goals to Sam Gray and Trengove gave the Power a 15-point lead – 5.11 (41) to 3.8 (26) – at the main break.

It wasn't pretty, but the Tigers won't care.

Port Adelaide: Key defender Jack Hombsch was a late scratching with a knee injury, although it was partly a tactical switch to counter Richmond's small forward line. Half-back flanker Hamish Hartlett copped a cork to his quad in the third quarter and didn't return. "It was just a knee right into the thigh, so you'd imagine that shouldn't be too big a deal," Power coach Ken Hinkley said.

Richmond: The Tigers reported a clean bill of health.

Richmond aims to consolidate its spot in the top four when it takes on St Kilda at Etihad Stadium next Saturday night. The Power will attempt to win its first game against a top-eight side when it takes on West Coast at Domain Stadium next Sunday.

 1.6   5.11   6.14   8.15 (63)
RICHMOND           1.4   3.8   7.10   11.10 (76)

Port Adelaide: Powell-Pepper 2, Ebert, R.Gray, S.Gray, Trengove, Neade, Dixon
Richmond:  Butler 3, Stengle 2, Cotchin, Rioli, Martin, Riewoldt, Lloyd, Short

Port Adelaide: Wingard, Ryder, Wines, Westhoff, Jonas
Richmond:  Martin, Ellis, Lambert, Butler, Rance, Grigg

Port Adelaide: Hartlett (corked thigh)
Richmond: Nil

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Schmitt, Ryan, Millison

Official crowd:  39,979