RICHMOND’S season is still alive after the Tigers pulled off a miraculous seven-point come-from-behind victory against Brisbane at the MCG on Sunday.
The Lions led by as many as 42 points during the second quarter and never trailed until midway through the fourth quarter.
The trademark of the Tigers’ three premierships in 2017, 2019 and 2020 was pressure and that was the cornerstone of their Round 20 heroics.
TIGERS V LIONS Full match details and stats
With its season on the line, Richmond started the second half 36 points behind, before outscoring their opponents 10 goals to three in the 15.14 (104) to 14.13 (97) triumph.
Shai Bolton (24 touches, two goals, 12 score involvements) and Tom Lynch (four goals) were outstanding for the winners, who are in ninth, just two points behind eighth-placed St Kilda.
The Lions have now lost 11 games in succession at the MCG, with their most recent win at the venue occurring in Round 21, 2014, when they thrashed Collingwood by 67 points. Rest assured, speculation will continue to mount as to whether the Lions can win at the home of the Grand Final.
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The first quarter was played at breakneck speed and yielded nine goals. Brisbane burst out of the blocks and kicked the first six goals (Joe Daniher booted three of them) to open up a 34-point lead, before Noah Cumberland sparked Richmond into action with two majors in 30 seconds. Charlie Cameron swooped on a loose ball late in the term and registered his first goal of the afternoon, and when the quarter-time sire sounded, the visitors were 29 points to the good.
After a nine-goal first quarter, the second was much of the same, with a further seven added to the scoreboard. Brisbane booted four goals, while Richmond kicked three.
The Lions continued on their merry way soon after quarter-time, with Lincoln McCarthy joining the goalkicking party after outpointing Jayden Short in a one-on-one marking contest. Cumberland was playing a lone hand up forward and his third, a snap on the left foot, was all class. Such was his effectiveness, the fifth-gamer was at times isolated as the Tigers’ deepest forward.
Already without reliable defender Brandon Starcevich, who withdrew late due to quad tightness, the Lions were dealt a further blow when Zac Bailey was subbed out midway through the second quarter after copping a knock to the chest. After coughing up blood, Bailey was taken to hospital for scans.
Keidean Coleman was wreaking havoc across half-back for Brisbane and had a game-high 20 disposals to his name at the main break, while Eric Hipwood and Daniher each had three goals.
The Tigers made the perfect start to the second half, with Cumberland adding his fourth from his fourth kick to reduce the deficit to 30 points.
Star Richmond defender Dylan Grimes played just two minutes of the second half; he was subbed out due to a hamstring problem.
The Tigers threw caution to the wind after half-time, playing with a lot more dash and dare, and their willingness to take the game on saw them close to within 11 points at the final change.
Richmond piled on six goals in the third term (three to Tom Lynch) to set up a grandstand finish.
Hugh McCluggage kicked the opening goal of the fourth quarter to give the Lions some respite, but it was fleeting, with Riewoldt kicking his second, before Cumberland slotted his fifth.
The Tigers were relentless in the final term with Bolton and Lynch leading the charging. Bolton was seemingly in everything, while Lynch led Harris Andrews a merry dance.
A running Daniel Rioli goal from the stroke of 50 handed Richmond its first lead of the game with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Brisbane had a McCarthy goal, which would have put them back in front, disallowed soon after. The goal umpire called for a score review and the video showed the ball had crossed the line before being touched, but the field umpire then paid a free kick for a push against Oscar McInerney.
Within moments of that decision, the Lions had a further two opportunities to recapture the lead, but Daniher and Robinson fluffed their lines.
Richmond went ahead by a point when Bolton missed a tough shot from the pocket, before Cameron missed a very gettable chance.
With less than a minute remaining Darcy Gardiner took a mark deep in defence and, with his side trailing by a point, he tried to force the issue. Gardiner’s kick went straight to Trent Cotchin, who found Lynch, and, fittingly, he iced the game.
Shane Edwards - 'Titch' no more
It was a memorable milestone for Shane Edwards, who became the 98th player and first Indigenous player at Richmond to reach 300 games. Edwards is the eighth Indigenous player in VFL/AFL history to play 300 games, joining Shaun Burgoyne, Adam Goodes, Eddie Betts, Andrew McLeod, Lance Franklin, Michael O’Loughlin, and Gavin Wanganeen. Edwards’ honour roll is incredibly impressive; he is a three-time premiership player, All Australian (2018) and captained the club for six games in 2019, leading Richmond to five wins.
In a big-cat battle, back the Tigers
Much has been made of Brisbane’s inability to win at the MCG, but it also seems to have a problem beating Richmond. Incredibly, the Tigers have won 17 of the past 19 encounters between the two sides, and at one point, strung together 15 victories on the bounce.
There was plenty of clutch moments during this epic clash, but none more so than Daniel Rioli’s chase down tackle on the dangerous Charlie Cameron with three and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter. The Lions, at that stage, led by 12 points, and another goal would have made the Tigers’ task all the more difficult. Ask any small defender in the league and they will tell you it’s no fun being on an island with just Cameron for company. Take nothing away from Noah Cumberland, by the way. He was enormous and his fifth goal after seven minutes in the final term was crucial.
RICHMOND 2.3 5.6 11.10 15.14 (104)
BRISBANE 7.2 11.6 13.9 14.13 (97)
Richmond: Cumberland 5, Lynch 4, Bolton 2, Riewoldt 2, Rioli, Short
Brisbane: Hipwood 4, Daniher 3, Cameron 2, McCarthy 2, McCluggage, Rayner, Robinson
Richmond: Bolton, Lynch, Cumberland, Nankervis, Prestia, D.Rioli
Brisbane: Coleman, Neale, McCluggage, Hipwood, Cameron, Zorko
Richmond: Dylan Grimes (hamstring)
Brisbane: Zac Bailey (chest)
Brisbane: Nakia Cockatoo (replaced Brandon Starcevich in selected side)
Richmond: Maurice Rioli Jnr (replaced Dylan Grimes in the third quarter)
Brisbane: Darcy Fort (replaced Zac Bailey during the second quarter)
Crowd: 39,056 at the MCG