Main content

Tigers turn off Power to zero in on top four

Highlights: Richmond v Port Adelaide The Tigers and Power clash in round 18

THE ONE-TWO punch that many pundits thought would deliver Richmond a second premiership in three seasons is gaining power. 

Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt played just their fourth game together but easily their best as a combination on Saturday in propelling the Tigers to a 15.11 (101) to 9.9 (63) victory over Port Adelaide. 

Richmond's now won four matches on the trot since starting round 15 outside the top eight, and only injured pair Alex Rance and Toby Nankervis are missing from its ideal 22. 

The dramatic turnaround in fortunes, which has the Tigers back in the top-four mix, has coincided with the return of stars Trent Cotchin, Shane Edwards, David Astbury, Kane Lambert and Jayden Short.

Last week's NAB AFL Rising Star nominee Shai Bolton came back in at the same time, and has now accumulated 77 possessions in the past three rounds, including 22 against the Power. 

TIGERS TURN OFF POWER Full match coverage and stats

Richmond's off-season recruitment of Lynch helped ease the pain of its shock preliminary final thrashing to Collingwood after a dominant home and away campaign.

However, a posterior cruciate ligament setback has kept Riewoldt to four appearances in 2019, while the same injury meant Lynch's pre-season was hampered and his mobility initially limited. 

WATCH Lynch and Riewoldt combo getting scarier

The All Australian forwards operated wonderfully as a pairing on Saturday, alternating playing as the deeper option and the provider (not just for one another) – and each hit the scoreboard multiple times. 

Lynch, who's taken more contested marks inside 50 than any other AFL player this year, moved unencumbered on his way to three goals, four behinds and 12 score involvements.

He was devastating early, racking up five of his 19 disposals (13 contested), two of his nine marks (four contested and five inside 50) and two scoring shots inside the first 10 minutes. 

Meanwhile, Riewoldt slotted three first-half goals to help the Tigers establish a 23-point buffer at the main break, and his clever dinky kick set up Brandon Ellis' eventual goal in the third term.

The triple Coleman medallist's one-handed mark in the fourth quarter, which also helped created a major, also warrants a mention.

There will be bigger days for the duo ahead, but the signs were promising, as they were for Richmond as a whole.

SHOOTING STAR Hinkley backs youngster's celebration, but 'there's a time and place'

This wasn't a perfect performance, and the Tigers had to absorb separate Port Adelaide challenges that cut what were comfortable leads to 11 points in the second term, then 16 in the third.

The problem for Ken Hinkley's under-pressure side was Richmond always found another gear whenever it was threatened.

As pleasing for Tigers coaches and fans were the aesthetics, beyond what Lynch and Riewoldt achieved. 

TWIN TOWERS FIRE Damien Hardwick praises Riewoldt and Lynch in win

Dylan Grimes and Astbury were largely impenetrable down back, Dustin Martin was outstanding in the centre and attack, and Richmond instinctively ran in waves after forcing countless turnovers. 

Martin gathered 30 disposals (nine contested), won five clearances and drove the Sherrin inside 50 eight times to probably pick up three Brownlow Medal votes. 

Karl Amon led the Power resistance, having nine possessions by quarter-time and remaining a prominent figure throughout to finish with 28 touches and two goals.

Travis Boak (29 disposals) fought hard all afternoon to continue his strong solo season, while aggressive forward Charlie Dixon looked ominous on occasion but kicked just one major. 

Port Adelaide will end the round a game and percentage behind the eighth-placed Crows ahead of a fascinating run home against the Giants, Essendon, Sydney, North Melbourne and Fremantle. 

MEDICAL ROOM
Richmond: The Tigers appeared to come through the match unscathed.
Port Adelaide: Dan Houston came off second-best in a final-term contest that left him grounded for some time. Dougal Howard left the field in the third quarter after copping a knee to his ribcage, but was able to return, while Sam Gray dealt with a corked thigh.

NEXT UP
Richmond will go after five wins in a row in front of what will surely be a monstrous MCG crowd on Friday night against Collingwood. Port Adelaide faces another crunch contest with Greater Western Sydney at Adelaide Oval.

RICHMOND             5.4     8.5     12.7     15.11     (101) 
PORT ADELAIDE     2.4     4.6      7.7        9.9       (63)

GOALS
Richmond: Riewoldt 3, Lynch 3, Prestia, Martin, Graham, Chol, Ellis, Castagna, Soldo, Edwards, Rioli
Port Adelaide: Butters 2, Amon 2, Dixon, Howard, Duursma, Sutcliffe, Rockliff

BEST
Richmond: Martin, Lynch, Grimes, Houli, Astbury, Prestia, Ellis
Port Adelaide: Amon, Boak, Broadbent, Dixon, Rockliff, Byrne-Jones

INJURIES
Richmond: Nil
Port Adelaide: Houston (head knock)

Reports: Nil

Umpires: O'Gorman, Chamberlain, Findlay

Official crowd: 41,642 at the MCG