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Match report: Richmond v Adelaide

Highlights: Richmond v Adelaide The Tigers and Crows clash in round 16

THE TIGERS are football's hard-working Harlem Globetrotters and on Friday night they again proved why they are clearly ahead of the rest in the flag race.

Richmond wasn't even at its best against Adelaide at the MCG but disposed of the Crows by 47 points to remain at least a game clear on top of the ladder.

Like always the Tigers' win was underpinned by fierce tackling, surging ball movement and an even contribution no longer reliant on the performance of their top-liners.

But Richmond, like the Globetrotters basketball side, also produce a fair highlight reel, which was on show in the 15.13 (103) to 8.8 (56) win over the Crows.

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There was Jack Riewoldt's phenomenal leap and near grab in the second term, when he dropped the mark, landed on his feet and got up to snap a brilliant (if wobbly) goal.

There was the sidestep, shimmy and left-foot goal from Shane Edwards, and the strong high mark from David Astbury across half-back. There were the handballs bounced deliberately along the ground to teammates, two fantastic goals to Daniel Rioli in the same week his cousin announced his retirement, and the long bomb goal banged home from Dustin Martin in the third term that had the crowd on its feet.

Richmond is not only the best team in the competition, it is probably also the best to watch.

The gap between the Tigers and Adelaide has grown since last year's Grand Final belting, and the defeat leaves the Crows in strife for their bid to make the top-eight.

After a Grand Final shocker, Crows skipper Taylor Walker was again quiet with only 11 disposals and a goal, but they would have been buoyed by the game of Rory Sloane, who picked up 31 disposals in his second game back from injury.

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The Tigers' win was their 17th straight at the MCG, which equalled Melbourne's all-time record from 1955-56.

Kane Lambert (33 disposals), Dion Prestia (28) and Shaun Grigg (28) were excellent in the midfield, while Martin was one of six Tigers to kick two goals to go with his 30 disposals.

Richmond coach Damien Hardwick labelled it a "good win against a good side" after the Crows got within three goals at three-quarter time.

"Our guys have just got this ability to raise the fight and go again," Hardwick said. 

"We come into every game thinking we're going to win … but I think the great thing is I've got a great belief in our players that we if we play a certain way, we're going to get a good result most times.

"We've got some players that play some incredible roles in our footy club and they stand up when needed."

Defender Tom Doedee was one of Adelaide's best, furthering his claims as one of the favourites for the NAB AFL Rising Star after 27 disposals and eight marks. Matt Crouch also had a game-high 38 disposals, but Adelaide's winners were few and far between.

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Crows coach Don Pyke praised the Tigers' pressure.

"They were pretty good tonight. I thought we started the game in pretty good fashion, but their ability to sustain that over four quarters is first-rate and that's why they sit on top of the ladder," he said.

Richmond led by only six points at the first change but looked the better side in the opening quarter after a slow start. It took a Jack Riewoldt high mark and converted shot 20 minutes into the term for the Tigers to nail their first goal in a tight beginning.

The Tigers looked the more dangerous side when pushing forward and were getting plenty of rebound from loose defender Nathan Broad, who collected 10 disposals in the opening term and created some forward forays.

They put their foot down in the second term, booting five goals to lead by 22 points at the main change. The run of goals included Riewoldt's big leap and snap, a smart shot from Callum Moore on the run and also a long goal from Jayden Short.

Short's error in the final moments of the half – when he was pinged in Adelaide's goalsquare for running too far and Josh Jenkins kicked his second goal of the term – was the only downside for the Tigers. But it didn't seem like it would be too costly, with Richmond controlling the contest.

Adelaide hung around, though. Led by their midfield, they won the third term and dragged the deficit back to 16 points at the final change.

But Richmond rose to the challenge, with early goals to Josh Caddy and then Rioli sealing the win.

Richmond: Premiership hero Jack Graham suffered what looked to be a serious shoulder injury in the third quarter in an attempted tackle. He watched the rest of the game with his arm in a sling. Dan Butler hurt his ankle but returned, while Nathan Broad looks set for a stint on the sidelines after fracturing his cheekbone.  

Adelaide: Key back Daniel Talia headed to the Crows' rooms at the quarter time break for further assessment on a foot injury. He spent periods of the game thereafter on the bench testing the injury, but played out the game. "Usually if you can play out the game, it's a pretty good sign it's not a Lisfranc. So I'm just hoping it's a sprain in the mid-foot or something along those lines. I'll get scans this week and hopefully it's all good," Talia told FIVEaa after the game.

Richard Douglas limped from the field in the final term with a right ankle injury.

The Crows host Geelong next Thursday night at Adelaide Oval in what shapes as a huge game in the context of their finals hopes. Richmond travels to Spotless Stadium to take on Greater Western Sydney on Saturday night.

RICHMOND    2.3       7.8       9.10     15.13 (103)
ADELAIDE      1.3       4.4       7.6       8.8 (56)

Edwards 2, Martin 2, Caddy 2, Moore 2, Riewoldt 2, Rioli 2, Short, Butler, Prestia
Adelaide: Jenkins 3, Seedsman, Gallucci, Walker, Fogarty, Greenwood

Richmond: Martin, Astbury, Grimes, Lambert, Edwards, Grigg
Adelaide: Sloane, M.Crouch, Doedee, Laird, Jenkins

Richmond: Graham (shoulder), Butler (ankle), Broad (cheekbone), Rioli (groin soreness)
Adelaide: Talia (foot), Douglas (ankle)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Margetts, Williamson, Fleer 

Official crowd: 54,934 at the MCG