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Tigers bare their teeth with a strong win over Swans

Highlights: Richmond v Sydney The Tigers and Swans clash in round five

RICHMOND made forcing turnovers an artform in its premiership campaign two years ago.

The Tigers of 2017 harassed opponents into submission and transformed into an unexpected juggernaut in the process.

That manic effort resurfaced at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night, with Richmond opening an early gap on Sydney and hanging on despite never quite delivering a killer blow.

TIGERS BARE THEIR TEETH Full match coverage and stats

The undermanned Tigers have now won back-to-back matches after consecutive defeats to Collingwood and Greater Western Sydney, the latest by 13.11 (89) to 10.7 (67) scoreline.

There were more than a few similarities to the flag-winning outfit in the victory over the Swans.

Remembered fondly from that year was Dustin Martin's season for the ages, Trent Cotchin becoming the AFL's most influential captain, and Alex Rance winning All Australian honours (again).

And, of course, Jack Riewoldt singing 'Mr Brightside' on stage with The Killers at the end of it all.

However, the pressure and the stars were only part of the story. New heroes emerged that we'd either never heard of or knew little about.

We met Dan Butler, Jason Castagna, Jack Graham, Jacob Townsend - even Nathan Broad.

That might be why Richmond wasn't as concerned as others when it went to Adelaide to face the Power last week without Martin, Cotchin, Rance, Riewoldt, Bachar Houli or Shaun Grigg.

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Or why Damien Hardwick and co. refused to listen when others kept banging on about them shedding their depth in the quest to lure Tom Lynch.

A largely no-name Richmond returned from South Australia with the four points, then banked four more at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night in much more comfortable style.

The win over Sydney was set-up before half-time, after a very competitive start to the contest, with all bar one behind of the Tigers' 9.5 (59) score to that stage coming off Swans turnovers.

Sound familiar?

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Hardwick tried to tell us on season eve that it was still a turnover game despite the AFL's introduction of the new '6-6-6' starting positions.

In fact, it wasn't until Noah Balta kicked his second goal – and Richmond's 13th – from a close-range kick around the body, that the yellow and black scored maximum points from a centre clearance.

The Tigers went to the final break 37 points up, but wobbled slightly.

Lance Franklin, who kicked four goals to move past Essendon champion Matthew Lloyd into seventh place on the all-time list, and Tom Papley booted majors to help slash the difference to 23 points.

It never got closer than that and, fittingly, a Swans turnover led to Castagna's match-sealer as the clock ticked towards 20 minutes in the fourth quarter.

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Martin (three goals, 25 disposals) was back – in more ways than one – and so was Houli, while Dion Prestia and Shane Edwards were also outstanding with 32 and 28 touches, respectively.

But Richmond couldn't have won without its latest unheralded crew.

Jack Ross, who couldn't get a game for Vic Metro last year, won eight of his 17 disposals to quarter-time in just his second AFL match.

Sydney Stack, who was overlooked in both drafts, wore some bumps and bruises, including coming off second-best in a collision with Swan Ollie Florent, but impressed again.

Shai Bolton, a high draft pick who has had to bide his time, shone with his kicking inside 50 and he ended the night with seven score involvements.

None was better than when he burst inside 50 in the second term, drew three Sydney defenders, then deftly kicked an inside-out pass to an unattended Kane Lambert for a simple goal.

The rugged Liam Baker collected a career-high 21 touches in his fifth senior appearance.

The aforementioned Balta not only hit the scoreboard, but continues to spell Toby Nankervis in the ruck and ensure Lynch doesn't have to.

Brandon Ellis, no longer an automatic selection these days, was another excellent contributor off half-back with 21 possessions.

As for Sydney, it will head back to the Harbour City off a fourth loss in five rounds and with serious doubts about where the season is going.

Jake Lloyd's 38 possessions led six Swans with at least 30, along with Zak Jones, Jordan Dawson, Florent, Luke Parker and Harry Cunningham.

However, Jones was one of the first-half turnover culprits, while Callum Mills was also uncharacteristically wayward with ball in hand.

MEDICAL ROOM
Richmond: Dan Rioli suffered a corked thigh in his left leg in the opening term and came from the field. Rioli was clearly bothered by the injury throughout the night and might be in doubt for Wednesday's Anzac Day Eve clash with Melbourne. Sydney Stack came off second-best in a one-on-one contest with Swan Oliver Florent in the same term. 

Sydney: Zak Jones had hip treatment in the opening half, but played out the match.

NEXT UP
Richmond has a quick turnaround for its annual Anzac Day Eve clash with Melbourne on Wednesday but boasts much better form than the Demons. The Swans will go on the hunt for a second victory this season in the Sydney Derby against the Giants next Saturday night.


RICHMOND   3.3   9.5  11.9  13.11 (89)
SYDNEY        2.1   4.2   6.3     10.7 (67)

GOALS
Richmond: Martin 3, Caddy 2, Lambert 2, Balta 2, Rioli, Ellis, Baker, Castagna
Sydney: Franklin 4, Heeney 2, Papley, Kennedy, Parker, Reid

BEST
Richmond: Edwards, Martin, Prestia, Stack, Vlastuin, Higgins
Sydney: Parker, Kennedy, Rampe, Lloyd, Franklin

INJURIES
Richmond: TBC
Sydney: TBC

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Donlon, Foot, Mitchell

Crowd: 40,053 at Marvel Stadium